Are you wondering if you should ditch the gluten?
Well the first way to tell for sure is if you are coeliac, have a known intolerance to gluten or don’t feel great when you eat it – YES!!! You should definitely be strictly gluten free.
Also, anyone with an autoimmune condition should be kissing bread and pasta goodbye immediately. There is a well-known link between gluten and autoimmune conditions, particularly with Hashimotos and Graves!
Research has also shown that a gluten free diet for those with endometriosis, fibromyalgia, schizophrenia, autism, depression and IBS is beneficial for reducing symptoms and severity of their condition.
Gluten is a protein that has a number of peptides (fancy name for collection of amino acids) that have emerged due to the genetic modification of the plant to produce larger and more robust crops during the farming process.
Some of these peptides are gliadin and glutenin in wheat, hordein in barley, avenin in oats and secalin in rye. Certain sequences of these peptides have been shown to produce an immune response in our body.
With continual immune activation comes inflammation and this directly impacts the lining of our colon, contributing to a “leaky gut”. With these changes comes a change to our gut microbiome and thus the eco-system in our body is altered.
These immune responses don’t just affect the gut but also our kidneys, liver, spleen, brain and lymph nodes which is what can contribute to or worsen many autoimmune conditions and diseases.
So in summary, we humans got greedy. Wheat now far outnumbers traditional crops of rice and corn and that is largely due to the way it has been modified to grow faster and bigger. While plants can cope with being modified, human genetics are not quite so easily altered and as a result we have created food that our bodies just can’t cope with.
If going completely cold turkey with gluten sounds way too overwhelming, perhaps you might like to try assigning gluten free days of the week or just reducing your overall intake by making simple swaps such as pulse pasta instead of wheat pasta, quinoa flakes instead of oats or choosing gluten free soy sauce, bread or crackers.
I believe that it’s important to be educated on what you are putting into your body so you can make informed decisions in the supermarket or restaurant and start living your healthiest life possible.