You're using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

How gluten can be harmful, and what happens inside your body when you consume it
November 1st, 2018 + The Naturopathic Co.

You may have already heard that eating gluten may have negative health effects, but are you aware of the many reasons why?

Gluten is a type of protein which acts as a binder, and is found in grains including wheat, spelt, farro, kamut, barley, and rye. It can be highly inflammatory for many people, but the problem is that many people fail to attribute symptoms of poor health to an undiagnosed sensitivity.

Symptoms of gluten sensitivity fall along a spectrum, and it’s possible to have a gluten intolerance (Non-celiac gluten sensitivity NCGS) without having an allergy to gluten (celiac disease).

Symptoms of gluten intolerance may show up in any system of the body, such as the cardiovascular system, central nervous system, endocrine system, musculoskeletal system, and the gastrointestinal system.

Did you know? Common symptoms which have been attributed to Non-celiac gluten sensitivity are bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, brain fog, headaches, migraines, fatigue, sore joints, skin problems, and mood alterations.

One of the best ways to check if you are sensitive to gluten is to eliminate it from your diet for 12 weeks. It will take longer for the effects of gluten sensitivity to leave the body, but you will have a good indication by 12 weeks as to whether you feel better by coming off gluten.

Why are so many people having health issues with gluten?

The processing of gluten by hybridization of the grains, genetic modification, inclusion of stabilizing ingredients, and pesticide use means that we no longer consume the same wheat grain that our ancestors consumed.  Bread is also made by different methods in order for it to be produced more economically and quickly. Plus, we’re likely to be eating much more gluten than in the past, as it is added to a huge variety of products.

What happens in our body when we eat gluten?

Gluten is an antinutrient which is harsh on the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest for nearly all people, regardless of whether they have a gluten sensitivity or not. Antinutrients are compounds found naturally in plants (particularly grains, nuts, and seeds) that protect the plant.

The antinutrient makes consumption of the grain difficult, and also binds to certain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids so that they are not absorbed by the body.

Gluten also has the capacity to activate the production of zonulin. When the protein Zonulin is inappropriately up-regulated, it plays a role in increased intestinal permeability by causing small openings to form along the tight junctions. These openings allow larger undigested food proteins (as well as pathogens and endotoxins) to move through into the bloodstream and travel throughout the circulation, causing a systemic inflammatory immune response (Watts 2005).

How does gluten link to autoimmune conditions?

Gluten sensitivity can activate autoimmune conditions, which often creep up slowly with just a few symptoms and then progress until they are a diagnosable illness.

Gluten may cause the body to attack itself when gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) searches for harmful substances, but identifies gliadin from gluten to be a dangerous substance and so produces antibodies against it.

Immune cells may confuse body tissue for the substance gliadin (molecular mimicry) and may start to attack tissue and organs. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and hashimotos are examples of conditions associated with autoimmune reaction, and have a possible link with gluten consumption.

Therefore if you have an autoimmune condition, it is wise to eliminate gluten from your diet completely. Even the smallest amount of gluten can be enough to set off the immune system, with effects lasting for weeks or months.

Can gluten-free be unhealthy?

The answer here is an absolute yes. There is a lot of gluten-free rubbish on the supermarket shelves; full of sugar, refined flours, additives, colourings, and a million other unrecognisable ingredients. These ingredients can also cause systemic inflammation, so the end result is the same, just without the autoimmune factor.

Some good gluten-free grain options are rice/brown rice, quinoa, millet, nut flours, coconut four, and gluten-free oats. Be wary of grains high in phytic acid (another plant defense mechanism) which also contribute to inflammation and damage the gut lining, so be sure to soak all grains (preferably overnight) prior to cooking. Be careful of gluten within sauces, such as soy sauce.

Remember that if you eat gluten-free processed food, void of antioxidants, you will be missing key protective and synergistic properties of plant foods that are crucial to vibrant health and cell development.

Nutritional deficiencies cause a multitude of problems, especially with young children and their development. So remember that gluten-free is just one piece of the puzzle.

Five day gluten-free meal plan

Day One

Breakfast: Balanced smoothie; half avocado, 2 bananas, 1 C frozen berries, handful of organic spinach or kale, 2tsp of spirulina, 2Tbsp LSA, 1 Tbsp coconut oil or shredded coconut, handful of cranberries, 1 C of slightly cooled chamomile or green tea, plus coconut milk or almond milk or a combo.

Put dry ingredients in the blender first, cover the dry ingredients with tea and coconut and/ or almond milk and blend, adding more milk as required.

(See your naturopath and add key supplements to your smoothie in order to boost nutritional content for you and your children).

Organic oats with drizzled honey and almond milk (omit honey in children under 1).

Lunch: Chicken and fennel salad with feta, spinach, black olives, sliced tomato, parsley, and roasted beetroot.

Snack ideas: Raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus and carrot/cucumber/pear, nut butter and apple or celery, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots, figs, sultanas, coconut yoghurt with passionfruit, bliss balls, GF fruit toast with cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, cacao and cinnamon almond milk hot chocolate, turmeric or matcha latte.

Dinner: Roasted garlic cod or rockling with lemon slices, served with balsamic asparagus, green beans, roasted carrots and red capsicum on potato mash.

Blueberry crumble made with almond meal, 1 Tbsp psyllium husks, organic GF oats, coconut flour/or almond meal, coconut oil, and ghee.

Day two

Breakfast: Raspberry chia pudding with maple syrup, topped with warm blueberries, flaked almonds (or LSA), served with coconut yoghurt, kefir, and topped with blueberries, coconut flakes, goji berries, cranberries, and chopped pistachios.

Mini frittata muffins served with melted butter or ghee / and tomato relish.

Snack ideas: Raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus and carrot/cucumber/pear, nut butter and apple or celery, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots, figs, sultanas, coconut yoghurt with passionfruit, bliss balls, GF fruit toast with cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, cacao and cinnamon almond milk hot chocolate, turmeric or matcha latte.

Lunch: Salad with radish, avocado, snow peas, grilled asparagus drizzled in olive oil and two organic eggs

Dinner: Organic chicken rice noodle and vegetable soup topped with harrissa

Acai seeded slice with dark chocolate and cranberries

Day Three

Breakfast: Pecan smoothie; 1 red apple cored, 1, date, 10 pecans, 2 Tbsp almond butter (or LSA), 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup coconut milk, pinch of nutmeg.

Poached eggs served with GF baked beans, avocado, bok choy, tomato, and roasted potatoes.

Snack ideas: Raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus and carrot/cucumber/pear, nut butter and apple or celery, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots, figs, sultanas, coconut yoghurt with passionfruit, bliss balls, GF fruit toast with cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, cacao and cinnamon almond milk hot chocolate, turmeric or matcha latte.

Lunch: Gluten free toast with fresh figs, parsley, walnuts, and crumbed goat’s cheese.

Dinner: Zucchini slice topped with oven baked vine roasted tomatoes and served with green beans and salsa verde.

Day Four

Breakfast: Chia pudding, cinnamon, mixed berries and linseed served with gluten-free granola and coconut yoghurt.

Snack ideas: Raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus and carrot/cucumber/pear, nut butter and apple or celery, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots, figs, sultanas, coconut yoghurt with passionfruit, bliss balls, GF fruit toast with cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, cacao and cinnamon almond milk hot chocolate, turmeric or matcha latte.

Lunch: Grated vegetable, mixed bean, quinoa salad with red cabbage, cucumber, carrots, avocado, served with lime. 

Dinner: Roasted salmon with fennel, organic red olives, and lemon. Served with green salad; green apples, celery, cucumber, avocado, parsley, rocket.

Mixed berries – strawberries, raspberries, blackberries served with coconut ice cream.

Day Five

Breakfast: Italian eggs baked in tomatoes and basil, served with mushrooms

Snack ideas: Raw flax/quinoa/rice crackers with avocado, hummus and carrot/cucumber/pear, nut butter and apple or celery, dark chocolate and strawberries, nut and seed mix, dried apricots, figs, sultanas, coconut yoghurt with passionfruit, bliss balls, GF fruit toast with cheese, berries and seasonal fruit, cacao and cinnamon almond milk hot chocolate, turmeric or matcha latte.

Lunch: Salad bowl with avocado, tuna, romaine lettuce, roasted beetroots, sauerkraut, julienne carrots, coriander, picked cucumbers

Dinner: Warm Thai beef stir fry with snow peas, broccoli, capsicum, pineapple, and served with rice or cauliflower rice.

Bon appetit

Take the first step in overcoming your health concern and finally regain your best health. Click here to book your initial naturopathic consult. 

Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of conditions commonly affecting women and children, with a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions, as well as women’s hormonal concerns, digestive issues, fatigue, anxiety, and skin concerns. Yvette consults in South Yarra, Melbourne, as well as Australia-wide via skype/zoom/phone. 

Reference

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC549484/#ref22

The Naturopathic Co. Melbourne Naturopath 2020


Comments are closed.

Follow Us

Copyright 2020 The Naturopathic Co.  / /  Fuelled by First Flight