Monday, 23 January 2017

Read this before you take your next bite of food.

Read this once- before you take your next bite of food.
I am not a Celiac, nor am I gluten intolerant - But I still avoid Wheat, Rye and Barley. If your gut instinct tells you that wheat is healthy, then it’s time we visit your gut - So here we go:

Our gut may not have instincts, but they all have a small intestine where a large portion of our food is digested and absorbed.
The lining of the small intestine acts like a permeable wall. The cells that make up the lining are joined to each other by something called "tight junctions". When the body is ready to absorb certain kind of nutrients, these tight junctions open up to create space between cells to let the good stuff in — but keep the bigger bad stuff, like toxins, out.

How do these tight junctions know how much to open up? Well, they have a comrade-in-arms named zonulin. Zonulin is a protein — its job is like that of a gatekeeper, opening the tight junctions just enough to let in the good stuff but keep out the bad stuff.

So, if you think Zonulin is a good thing, then so it is - however it comes with a catch - Gliadin, a component of Gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, which triggers the body to release excess Zonulin - in all humans and not just celiacs . The excess zonulin causes the junctions between cells in the small intestine to open far too much, and the next thing that happens, is an entry of all sorts of stuff into the bloodstream that shouldn’t have got in there to begin with — stuff like toxins and gluten fragments.

When such stuff leaks through the intestinal wall which in normal circumstances shouldn't have been possible, it results in a condition called leaky gut syndrome.

The excess of zonulin that was released because of ingestion of gluten through consumption of food items made from wheat, maida, rava like bread, rotis, biscuits, sheera, upma etc, the gluten fragments along with some other toxins and microbes, become both the uninvited and unwanted guests in one's bloodstream.

In people who are not gluten intolerant, the immune system deals with the unwanted matter quietly, and disposes them off. However, in those who suffer from Celiac disease and those who are Gluten intolerant, the immune system reacts to the presence of such unwanted matter by causing other ailments.

So what about those who are neither celiacs nor gluten intolerant - The immune system can get foxed too - sometimes our immune system can miss out on these toxins and microbes that entered into our blood stream which then can lead to various ailments starting from inflammation right upto cancer.
So when we eat gluten containing food - we are putting ourselves at great risk, much like driving in a manner that would cause damage to the breaks of one's car which one cannot replace!

Having said that, here are various nutritious grains and millets that can easily replace Wheat, Rye and Barley from our diet - the question is - Are we ready to make that change?
P.S. This post is a summary of an blog post I published a few days ago. If you need to know more, do read the post. It has an interesting story and citations to journals and research papers.

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