Are grains making your body inflamed?

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Inflammation is a hot topic these days, and so many people are going on gluten free diets. Are there any benefits to avoiding gluten if you don’t have coeliac disease? I say yes. Wheat and other grains can increase inflammation in your body by adversely affecting your digestive tract.

Research published in the journal Nutrients concluded with the following statement: “In the present review, we describe how the daily consumption of wheat products and other related cereal grains could contribute to the manifestation of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. Both in vitro and in vivo studies demonstrate that gliadin and wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) can both increase intestinal permeability and activate the immune system.

The effects of gliadin on intestinal permeability and the immune system have also been confirmed in humans. Other cereal grains containing related prolamins and lectins have not been so extensively studied and, therefore, more research investigating their impact on intestinal permeability and inflammation is required. It would be interesting to further elucidate the role of other prolamins on zonulin release and intestinal permeability.”

Increased intestinal permeability means leaky gut. Leaky gut syndrome is extremely common and most people don’t realize they are affected. It is a forerunner to immune system problems such as allergies and autoimmune conditions. Grains are such a regular component of the diet of most people that they rarely think they could be contributing to health problems.

Inflammation is the way your body responds to injury. You can usually tell a part of your body is inflamed when it is red, hot, swollen and you can’t move it properly. Think of a stubbed toe or a sprained ankle. Inflammation is present in all ‘itis’ conditions, such as arthritis, hepatitis, bursitis, and many others. However, inflammation can also occur inside your body in a much more silent way, where you don’t even know it is happening. Fatigue and pain are typical indicators that there’s too much inflammation in your body.

Inflammation is a response mechanism. What’s the trigger? The majority of excess inflammation originates in the gut, either because you’re eating foods that don’t agree with you, or you have the wrong gut bugs in your digestive tract. Chronic infections, heavy metal toxicity, intense stress, type 2 diabetes and obesity are other things that can cause inflammation.

Removing grains from your diet, as well as dairy products and sugar can offer immense relief for a range of health problems. However, making major diet changes can be stressful. It can feel overwhelmingly difficult to start. For most people, food intake is firmly entwined with lifestyle habits.

It can be very helpful to have a simple meal plan to follow. It reduces the stress of decision making and helps get you on the right track. Dr Cabot’s 15 Day Cleanse is a grain free program that comes with an eating plan, food lists and recipes. The meals are delicious and will leave you feeling satisfied. The 15 Day Cleanse nutritional powders help improve the health of your liver, gut and immune system. They help you start feeling good, and when you feel well, you’ll be more motivated to take good care of yourself.


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