Should You Consider Going Gluten Free?
Most grain-based products are contaminated with gluten – an indigestible protein that’s added to bread and cakes to provide that characteristic ‘springy’ texture. Like most indigestible proteins, gluten is thought to be fairly harmless in small doses, but a number of recent scientific studies show that a surprisingly high proportion of the population prone to reacting adversely to its presence in the gut, even if they don’t test positive for celiac disease, or realize that they are suffering from some sort of innate immune-response.
Although it is not as serious as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity is still problematic if left undiagnosed: It can trigger an innate immune response whenever gluten is detected in the body, and cause symptoms such as:
- Dysfunctional digestion
- Itchy skin
- Frequent headaches
- Abdominal pain
Unfortunately, the standard tests for celiac disease will only identify the minute proportion of people with a specific auto-immune response to gliadin; one of six polypeptide proteins commonly found in gluten, and most medical professionals actively encourage people to avoid going gluten-free if the results come back negative. Furthermore, the symptoms listed above are all too often dismissed as the result of exhaustion, poor diet or lack of exercise.
Could You Be Suffering from Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity?
If you lead a healthy lifestyle, but you find yourself constantly struggling with brain fog, indigestion or inexplicable rashes, then it’s entirely possible that you might be one of the many people that suffer from some kind of sensitivity to gluten. According to Dr Ford, the best way to tell is to try going gluten free for a period of 3-4 weeks. If your symptoms start to clear up immediately, then it’s probably gluten sensitivity that you’re suffering from.
If this is the case, there are some simple steps that you can take to go gluten-free, and cut the indigestible proteins from your diet, or at least reduce the amount that you consume.
Even if this is not the case though, you might still want to consider going gluten free: gluten is an indigestible mass of polypeptide proteins that can’t be processed by your digestive system, and its presence can always inflame and irritate the lining of your gut, regardless of whether or not you’re genetically disposed to react to it. Even in the mildest cases of gluten intolerance can de-nature the delicate villi in your small intestine and handicap your body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
Going Gluten Free Is a Simple Process
To begin with, bear in mind that gluten is found in most wheat products. In fact, it’s gluten that’s responsible for lending bread and pasta their structural stability. If you’re eager to try going gluten free, you will need to find substitutes for any wheat or rye based produce in your diet, and you will need to pay particular attention to the amount of gluten-rich foods that you consume. In particular, try to avoid:
- Breaded meat
- Processed lunch meats
- Malt vinegar
- Cakes and Biscuits
To make sure that you’re still receiving all the beneficial plant lignans, proteins and fibre that you’d normally find in wheat-based produce, you might also want to consider supplementing your soups and smoothies with a good source of plant-based nutrients like pumpkin seed protein powder. Many people starting to make the move towards going gluten free also find that making their own reduced-gluten foods with organic coconut flour is a very effective way of limiting exposure to gluten.
As long as you balance your nutrient-intake carefully, you should notice that going gluten free precipitates an immediate improvement in your health, and an increased sense of wellbeing that stems from providing your body with everything it needs, without contaminating your digestive tract with indigestible polypeptides and other harmful contaminants.
Find Out More About The Benefits of Going Gluten Free
If you’d like to read more about going gluten free, you could try Dr Fords book The Gluten Syndrome: Is Wheat Causing You Harm? It's very informative, and full of useful hints. Alternatively, remember that we're always happy to provide advice and information. just call us on 01764 662111 and we will be happy to help you.