Many people will benefit from excluding wheat based products from their diet. Even if you do not have a specific intolerance to wheat and its constituent parts such as gluten you may find that it suppresses the function of your gut and makes you feel sluggish. The effects of wheat are increasingly being linked to autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis, weight gain and insulin resistance, nerve damage, and severe mineral deficiencies. Hence it is often excluded from therapeutic diets.
In terms of mankind’s history and ancestry, wheat and other grains such as rye and barley are relatively new additions. For some 248,000 years humans lived on the so-called ‘stone age’ or ‘Paleo’ diet of hunter gatherers which was grain free. Then 12, 000 years ago grains were introduced. Some anthropologists believe that we are still in the process of adapting to this new diet, and that is why these foods can have adverse effects on our health.
Here are 6 good reasons to avoid wheat.
Wheat can be toxic. Wheat contains a substance known as wheat germ agglutin (WGA), about 1 mcg in each grain, which even in small quantities can have profoundly adverse effects. It is highly inflammatory and is toxic to the heart, brain and immune system. WGA can also affect the nervous system. It can make conditions like arthritis and multiple sclerosis much worse.
Wheat can lower your uptake of essential nutrients. Phytates –which constitute part of the fibre content of wheat, inhibit the absorption of calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium. Phytates do not cause a problem in standard bread because they are broken down by the leavening process; but they do become a problem when whole grains are added. In particular, phytates in wheat fibre reduce iron absorption. If you are at risk from iron deficiency (young children, menstruating women, non-meat eaters) then avoid unleavened bread, whole grain bread and bran based foods.
Wheat can make you fat. WGA disrupts endocrine function and contributes to weight gain and insulin resistance by blocking leptin receptors. It can also interfere with the production of digestive hormones from the pancreas leading to gut and digestive problems.
Wheat can damage your nervous system. Wheat contains high levels of glutamic and aspartic acid. These are two toxins which can over excite your nerve cells.
Wheat can contribute to autoimmune diseases. WGA promotes inflammation and can be toxic to cells, preventing them from replicating normally. It is believed that this can then trigger autoimmune conditions such as lupus and arthritis.
Wheat can affect your brain function. WGA can cross the blood-brain barrier and often drags other substances along with it. This can lead to various neuro-toxic effects and neurological problems. Unsteady gait, clumsiness, peripheral neuropathy and muscle deterioration are all linked to a sensitivity to gliadin – another component of wheat.
Many people who follow a standard western diet have an over reliance of wheat in their diet. For example toast or wheat based cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, pasta, pizza or pies for dinner, are commonplace. Not to mention the cakes and biscuits that we often snack on.
So if you have a major illness such as an autoimmune disease, severe joint pains, a neurological disorder or abdominal discomfort and bloating, then you are likely to benefit from excluding wheat based foods from your diet. Try cutting out such foods and notice the difference in your health.