Why We Need to Take Gluten-Sensitivity Seriously
If you’ve cracked a magazine that deals with health in the last few years, you’ll have read about the potentially negative effect that gluten can have on the gut, and your health in general. Gluten sensitivity, though not quite as serious as celiac disease can lead to symptoms that are almost as debilitating.
In fact, gluten sensitivity may even be worse because there are no real ways to test for the issue. With celiac disease, you can get a definitive diagnosis. It’s irreversible, but at least you’ll understand exactly what is wrong.
Gluten sensitivity, on the other hand, is a lot harder to pin down. It starts off as a mild reaction to gluten – instead of being violently ill, you might have a runny stomach, or gas, or just feel fatigued. The symptoms are easily written off as colds, or flu, or a stomach virus.
Dr Nikola Djordjevic from MedAlertHelp compiled all the basic facts about potential symptoms in the infographic you’ll find below.
But, most of the time, you are not likely to begin putting two and two together until you start cutting back on gluten and then seeing a difference. It’s an insidious condition and one that needs to be addressed.
What happens otherwise is that the gluten causes an immune response every time you eat it. This causes inflammation in the lining of the gut, and that, in turn, can result in damage to the tissue. Eventually, you’ll develop a condition known as leaky gut.
What’s the Big Deal About a Leaky Gut?
In a healthy body, the food passes through the intestine and nutrients are removed to feed the cells. Toxins are also removed, but they are sped away to be disposed of. If you have a leaky gut, on the other hand, the damage to the lining makes this process less effective.
So, the absorption of nutrients is hampered. Of more concern, though, is that the toxins and undigested bits of food are able to pass into the bloodstream and wreak havoc.
You start to feel fatigued, unable to perform at your full capacity and begin to have digestive issues as well.
So, What Can We Do About It?
Fortunately, the human body has been expertly constructed. There is a lot that you can do to help your body heal itself.
First and foremost, is to get tested for gluten-sensitivity. Speak to us about getting tested for gluten- and other food-sensitivity tests. That way, you know exactly what you’re dealing with. From there, you can start healing again through lifestyle and dietary changes.
What Foods to Eat
You need to eat foods that can support the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Here are some options to consider:
- Vegetables: Forget the old five a day rule and ramp it up to nine servings of fruit and veggies daily. Include cruciferous veggies, like broccoli. Add in beetroot, eggplant, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, and zucchini.
- Starch is back on the menu: Eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips and squash.
- Fruit: Do create a balance between fruits that are high in sugar, like bananas and grapes, and those with less sugar, like blueberries, kiwi, strawberries, etc. However, if it’s a choice between a banana or nothing, take the banana. Don’t forget citrus fruits and exotic fruits like pomegranates as well.
- Fermented foods: You need to add fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, natural, unsweetened yoghurt and kefir.
- Do include seeds, sprouted if possible: Sprouts are nature’s own powerhouse. Stock up mung beans, radishes, etc. to sprout. If you don’t have time for that, include chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds into your daily diet.
- Alternate grains: Amaranth, buckwheat, sorghum, and rice are good options.
- Good fats: Nosh on avocados, and add extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil to your food. Steer clear of seed-based oils like sunflower.
- Fish: Do look for fish that have a high omega-three content, like salmon and tuna.
- Meat: Wherever possible, go for lean cuts of hormone-free meat and chicken. Grass-fed beef and free-range chicken or good dietary options. And don’t skimp with the eggs either.
- Nuts: You’ll be amazed at how much nutrition one small nut can pack. Yes, they have a high-calorie count so don’t flatten a whole packet at a time, but do include them as snacks, or use natural nut butter and milk. Stick to raw, unsalted, and unroasted nuts for the best benefits.
On the other side of the equation is that you need to steer clear of highly processed foods and added sugars. Aim to eat food in as natural a state as possible. Being gluten-insensitive is not the end of the world. There is a lot of food that you can eat instead. The health benefits are more than worth the sacrifice.