You see it all over food labels, you hear it so often now its almost become a one word catch-phrase. So, why go gluten free? And whats all the hype behind being “gluten-free”? Is it a new fad diet or a relevant scientific finding, key to our epigenetic health?
Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley is a trigger to an overactive inflammatory response. Inflammation plays major role in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, asthma, anxiety, depression, dementia, diabetes, and on and on. Some medical professionals and researches even go as far to say that every chronic disease has some kind of inflammatory component.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine 55 diseases can be attributed to eating gluten, many autoimmune in origin. The tie between inflammation and gluten is in the protein known as zonulin. Gluten leads to an increased production of zonulin in the gut. Zonulin, in turn, increases the permeability of the small intestine allowing gluten to penetrate the intestinal wall and enter the bloodstream. For those with a gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease, the body recognizes this gluten as foreign and goes into an overactive immune response causing inflammation to try and clear out the invader, gluten. Over time this inflammatory response can damage the intestinal wall and lead to a decreased absorption of nutrients.
You may be saying, but I don’t have celiac disease, I don’t have to worry about gluten. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, a leader in the field of functional medicine, 99% of people who have a problem with gluten don’t know it. If you have been experiencing bloating, irritability, depression, diarrhea, or abdominal pain, it may be worth giving gluten-free a shot. This may be easier than expected because with the increased awareness surrounding gluten, gluten-free options are popping up everywhere and most health food stores have an entire section dedicated to these options. Be aware that hidden gluten is bountiful in processed foods as a food stabilizer and preservative so try sticking to fresh, organic foods.
I invite you to take the 30 day challenge with me. See how your body responds when you go gluten free. If any digestive, emotional, or other health ailments seem to decrease, you may have a gluten sensitivity. I am happy to report that my gluten-free Asana granola in my açaí this morning was absolutely scrumptious! Happy conscious eating!
Holistic Health Coach