3 Reasons to Say Good-Bye to Gluten
Going “gluten-free” is incredibly popular these days, but reasons to avoid gluten aren’t just to follow the trends. For people who are truly working on healing the root cause of their gut and thyroid issues, going gluten-free can be really beneficial.
Now as a nutritionist, I encourage eating a variety of foods as much as possible, as tolerated for each individual. My goal is never to instill fear into people about a certain food. Food is nourishment, it’s enjoyment, it’s socialization, it’s family and it’s memories! But sometimes, removing foods can be an important part of someone’s healing also. When it comes to gluten, I do recommend some stricter boundaries here, and I’ll explain why.
How Gluten Affects Your Gut
Let’s start with the gut. Gluten, the protein found in wheat, is highly inflammatory and can create a lot of damage in the gut, even in the case of non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Wheat specifically, has been shown to produce a protein called zonulin, which can break apart the cells in the intestinal lining, causing leaky gut syndrome and leading to a whole host of issues both in and outside the gut. For someone already dealing with gut or thyroid problems, we need to remove gluten from the diet to avoid doing any further damage and to reduces stress on the system.
Gluten May Suppress Immune Function
With leaky gut, the immune system often begins reacting to gluten proteins, triggering an inappropriate response and treating it like a foreign substance. For some people with heightened immune responses, as in the case of autoimmunity, gluten can keep your immune system on overdrive. Overtime, this can cause our immune system to become suppressed and we can begin to develop frequent infections, fatigue, joint pain, allergies, food reactions, migraines and more. If you’re dealing with autoimmunity, such as rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Crohn’s or colitis, psoriasis, and others, gluten is likely a culprit in worsening those symptoms.
Gluten Can Worsen Thyroid Issues
If you’re dealing with a thyroid condition or have symptoms of one, I recommend removing gluten from your diet because of something called “molecular mimicry”. Molecular mimicry occurs when your body sees one substance, and mistakes it for another substance that looks similar. The genetic structure of gluten and the thyroid are actually quite similar and if your immune system is already seeing gluten as a threat it needs to take out, it may accidentally attack your thyroid instead, which happens in the case of hashimoto’s. Cutting gluten out can help diminish these negative affects on your thyroid gland. Read this article for more thyroid health tips!
Is Gluten Really the Enemy Though?
Not exactly, your body should be able to tolerate all natural foods, but the thing with gluten is that it’s been modified a lot in the past 50 years and it’s in pretty much everything. When we’re consuming one type of food such as gluten, soy or corn, as frequently as the average Canadian eating a modern diet is, we can develop sensitivities to these foods more easily.
Additionally, simply replacing gluten-filled foods with processed gluten-free ones, aren’t going to be beneficial for your health. These gluten-free foods still contain refined flours, starches, fillers, sugars and chemicals. We need to be replacing these foods with whole foods that are naturally gluten-free.
Removing gluten isn’t the whole picture, but it certainly is an important piece of it! Now we need to look at WHY your gut or thyroid have started to malfunction in the first place. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
Registered Holistic Nutritionist™