By now, we’ve all heard the hype about going gluten-free. So, what is Gluten anyway?
Scientifically, gluten is when the glutenin molecule and gliadin molecule come in contact. These two molecules form a bond that creates a glue-like texture (hints the name, GLU-TEN) and makes bread and pastas chewy. These two proteins are found in wheat, spelt, rye and barley.
Millions claim that they experience discomfort after eating gluten and almost one third of Americans are eliminating it from their diet. And, many who do not have gluten intolerances are eliminating it from their diet for the dietary benefits.
Here are 5 reasons to consider avoiding gluten.
1. It can trigger inflammation
Gluten can have an adverse effect on the digestive system. Studies show that gluten can cause inflammation to the intestinal lining, which inhibits proper absorption of nutrients. For example, one could be anemic because of iron deficiency, simply as a result of the iron not being absorbed.
2. It’s mostly in over-processed foods
Foods that contain gluten are usually processed which means they contain more sugars, fats and bi-products. Additionally, they are more readily available, i.e. cakes at birthday parties, office party cupcakes and muffins at coffee shops. Trust me… taking a few over-processed baked goods out of your diet will work wonders!
3. It has been linked to brain dysfunction
Scientists have linked gluten to abnormal mental and brain health. Extensive studies have shown that there may be a link between autism, epilepsy, and schizophrenia and gluten consumption. Either a certain antibody is present and/or symptoms are less apparent when on a gluten-free diet.
4. You may have an undiagnosed sensitivity
More and more people are noticing that cutting gluten out of their diet helps with gastrointestinal issues. Gluten adversely affects 1 in 133 Americans, so it’s possible that “random” gas or uncomfortable stomach may be due to a slight sensitivity to gluten.
5. It’s easy to find delicious gluten-free options
Gluten-free foods are becoming more popular and available, so you can find them in every grocery store and on the go… a lot of times there are even dedicated sections! Going gluten-free encourages you to be more educated about the ingredients that you are putting in your body, thus heightening your overall health and awareness.
photo credit: Estee Janssens