Natural Health tips from the College of Natural Health

Why are more people now reacting to gluten, when we have been eating grains for 10,000 years?
DID YOU KNOW? Fermented foods are filled with probiotics (good bacteria). Countless research has demonstrated how the ideal balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut forms the foundation for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. First of all, to make those lovely fluffy white breads, modern grain has been cultivated so that it contains much more gluten than it did in the past.  Secondly, our diets have changed significantly in the past few decades. We now eat gluten in most meals, unlike in the past. Wheat flour is used in a vast range of modern, mass-produced 'ready-made' meals and sauces, (even your mustard can have it). So we are consuming far greater quantities of gluten, more frequently, than our ancestors did. When our bodies digest gluten, the lining of the intestine is temporarily damaged. This makes it permeable to gluten proteins (hence 'leaky gut'), which is the mechanism behind both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. For most people this inflammation is healed relatively quickly after eating but for some it takes much longer. Nowadays there are also other aggravating factors at play which can confuse the picture about whether gluten is to blame, including modern additions to the food chain, such as pesticides and GMO foods, which have been linked to 'leaky gut'. Worldwide there has been a massive increase in the spraying of the herbicide Glyphosate on wheat crops over the last 20 years. To ensure there are no pesticide residues or genetically modified substances, which may affect your gut health, choose organic food. If you think your symptoms may be caused by gluten, it's important to get tested for celiac disease. If you think you are simply intolerant to gluten, try going gluten free for a minimum of 4 weeks, and re-introduce gluten to see the difference in how you feel. Beware simply substituting gluten with soy based products, as soy has its own health impact and unless organic, is likely to be genetically modified. Take good care of your general gut health, by eating plenty of organic vegetables, and introduce fermented foods, such as kefir, sauerkraut and probiotic-enriched yogurts. If you have 'leaky gut' it's best to get tailor-made nutritional advice. Avoid damaging your intestinal lining through smoking, alcohol, or unnecessary antibiotics or drugs. This article was written by Marika Walker for CNH (College of Natural Health). CNH trains students across South Africa for successful careers in natural health, and offers Short Courses in a range of natural therapies.  

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