The Truth Behind Gluten
Nowadays, you see the term “gluten” everywhere. People are cutting it out of their diets in hopes of losing weight, restaurants are creating customized, gluten-free menus, and companies all over the world are churning out gluten-free products, like cereals, breads, chips, crackers and more.
But what exactly is gluten? And what are the effects it has on your body? I’m here to help shed some light on this complicated issue.
Like many of you, I follow a gluten-free lifestyle. Since I’ve cut gluten out of my life, I’ve seen a dramatic jump in my energy levels. It has also decreased bloating, improved my digestion and just all in all, helped me feel better across the board.
Here are just a few reasons why it has these effects:
- It throws your immune system out of whack. Gluten is formed when water and flour are mixed together, creating an elastic-like substance that allows dough to rise and breads to bake. But when that gluten gets into your body, your immune system thinks it’s a foreign invader – one that needs to be stopped. This causes your immune system to attack it, weakening your body and making you more vulnerable to disease and infection.
- It’s bad for digestion. In addition to attacking the gluten, your immune system also attacks your entire digestive track when gluten is inside. This can cause damage to the intestinal wall and the whole digestive system. This makes it harder for your body to properly digest food, as well as get the proper nutrient it needs from the things you consume. Over time, this can lead to nutrient deficiency and serious health problems, like anemia, irritable bowel syndrome and more. You’ll also get bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and other awful symptoms.
- It can cause leaky gut syndrome. Too much gluten can wreak havoc on the intestines, sometimes even weakening the walls so much that substances begin to leak out into your body. Remember, materials that are in your intestines are considered waste and are on their way out; you don’t want those leaking into your bloodstream. This can cause a number of serious health issues and conditions.
- It affects the brain. Gluten doesn’t necessarily cause neurological conditions, but cutting out gluten has been proven to actually improve a number of brain and mental conditions in many patients. Studies have shown that a gluten-free diet can improve epilepsy, schizophrenia and even autism, so there is definitely some link between gluten and neurological function.
If you’re not sure if a gluten-free lifestyle is right for you, take it for a trial run. Commit to 30 days without gluten, and see how your body reacts. Do you feel better? Do you have more energy? Is your digestion easier? These can all indicate gluten may not bode well for your body, and a gluten-free lifestyle may be the right choice for you.
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