Gluten refers to proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. Gluten helps food keep its shape, by acting as a glue to hold food together. Gluten is found in a number of foods, even in ones that you would not expect to find it including baked goods, soups, cereals, salad dressings, pasta, energy bars, french fries, potato chips, candy and more.
Although it may seem trendy to purchase gluten-free food these days, there is a real reason why avoiding gluten is a good idea. Although only about 1% of the population has celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that makes it very hard to digest food, up to 10% of the population may also be suffering from gluten sensitivity. Even more people have reactions such as headaches joint pain, rashes, digestive disturbances etc.. when they eat gluten.
Some say that all people in search of better health should eliminate or limit their consumption of gluten. Here are five signs that your body is telling you it is time to give up gluten once and for all.
1. Gut Inflammation
Inflammation is a side effect of gluten whether you are sensitive or not. Over the course of time, chronic inflammation can lead to some very dangerous conditions. An inflamed gut can lead to intestinal permeability. Once the gut becomes inflamed, the junctions between cells in the gut wall become loose and allows things such as viruses, bacteria, and indigestible molecules to pass through into the bloodstream. This is what is commonly known as leaky gut syndrome. This is a destructive condition as it leads to a host of autoimmune conditions.
2. Brain Disorders
Research has demonstrated that a number of different neurological disorders are exacerbated by the consumption of gluten. A very serious condition known as iscerebaellar ataxia, a disease that compromises parts of the brain responsible for balance, movement, talking etc.. This type of ataxia is known as gluten ataxia and involves damage to the cerebellum (part of the brain important for motor control) that is irreversible.
Other brain disorders that seem to improve once people adopt a gluten-free diet include:
Autism: Studies show that people with autism improve once they begin to eat a gluten free diet.
Epilepsy: There have been several studies done that epileptic patients have improved after adopting a gluten-free diet.
Schizophrenia: It has been found that some patients with schizophrenia have improvements after taking gluten out of their diet.
Eating too much gluten may make you lethargic and tired. You may have trouble falling asleep at night and even when you wake up you may be exhausted. For many people, these symptoms of gluten sensitivity are ignored or brushed off as symptoms of a busy life. While this may be true, it could also be that you are somewhat sensitive to gluten. For many people, giving up food that contain gluten results in an increase in energy and a restful night’s sleep.
4. Muscle Pain
Why it is normal to hurt a little after you have worked out or injured yourself, it is not right to just hurt all the time for no apparent reason. According to the website Wheat Allergy and Intolerance, muscle and joint pain can be a symptom of a wheat intolerance. Some people may experience severe pain while others may just feel muscle fatigue and stiffness. If this sounds like you, you may be sensitive to the gluten in foods and should consider reducing or eliminating gluten from your diet.
5. Weight Gain
Many people claim that they gain weight or can’t lose weight when they consume foods that contain gluten. Inflammation is one of the biggest causes of weight gain. If you are sensitive to gluten, you may find it hard to drop excess pounds. Switching to a gluten-free diet helps reduce this inflammation and allows the metabolism to reset, generally resulting in weight loss.
Keep in Mind
If you go gluten free be sure to be very careful about consuming more sugar in your diet. This can lead to a whole new group of physical problems.