How Does Gluten Impacts Your Overall Health?
Gluten is one of the most highly debated food products in the world, and many people are unsure of what it is and how it affects our bodies. Even if you are not completely allergic to gluten, you still might benefit from reducing your intake or avoiding it entirely. Here is a closer look at how gluten impacts your overall health and some of the advantages of a gluten-free diet.
Breaking Down Gluten
Gluten is nothing more than a group of proteins found in the seeds of cereal plants such as barley, wheat, and rye. When those plants first begin to grow, they feed off of the gluten and use it as a source of energy. As these proteins are being processed, they turn into a viscous substance that holds various bread products together. One of the reasons why so many people are discussing gluten is because recent studies have shown us that around one percent of the population has a severe gluten allergy known as celiac disease.
The Digestive Tract
Many people have a difficult time digesting gluten because of the unique makeup of this substance. Within moments of entering your intestines, your body will break the gluten down into molecules known as prolamins. Unlike most other food molecules, our bodies cannot completely digest prolamins. Whenever lingering prolamins become attached to the walls of the intestines, they can cause issues such as chronic inflammation and gastrointestinal distress.
Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that makes an individual extremely allergic to all forms of gluten. As soon as they come into contact with any gluten products, they will experience a wide range of severe reactions including hives, swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and chills. Those who have a non-celiac gluten allergy might notice mild side effects when they consume certain types of bread or other similar products.
Gluten and Your Mind
Doctors now know that our cognitive health is closely intertwined with our gastrointestinal health. Anything that impacts your stomach and intestines will also affect your emotions and thought processes. Certain chemicals in the stomach can pass through the blood-brain barrier and have a major impact on our cognitive health. Those chemicals won't necessarily cause emotional health issues, but they can exacerbate pre-existing conditions.
If you believe that you might be sensitive to gluten, then you should consider speaking with a doctor about getting tested. Cutting back on how much gluten you consume on a daily basis could have a major impact on your physical and mental health.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends Klosterman Baking Company for information about bread. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700