Why Go Grain-Free

by Integra Naturopathics on February 1, 2012

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Grains naturally contain “anti-nutrients” that damage our intestinal lining and reek havoc on the immune system – exacerbating inflammation.

Research confirms that inflammation is the root of countless health ailments. Linked to a myriad of degenerative conditions including allergies, auto-immunity, infertility, arthritis, mood disorders and certainly cancer – chronic inflammation plays a massive role in most health concerns.

Eliminating grains provides an extraordinary opportunity to achieve rapid healing in the body.

Consider this: grains are the seeds of a plant – seeds contain the reproductive material for the plant. The evolutionary strategy of many plants is to evolve toxic compounds to protect and prevent the seeds from predation. These toxic compounds are anti-nutrients. Some of these anti-nutrients are Gliadin and lectin proteins, phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors.

Check out the effects of these substances on your body:

  • GLIADIN is the primary immunotoxic protein found in wheat gluten, and is amongst the most damaging to your health. Gliadin increases intestinal ZONULIN, which damages the integrity of the protective gut lining. This causes gaps between the gut cells – leaving the gut vulnerable for undigested material and other toxins to enter your body. You do not need to suffer from celiac disease to suffer from the adverse effects of this protein.
  • LECTINS protect plants against being eaten, and are found in highest concentration in their seed form. Lectins irritate the digestive system – causing gas and bloating.
  • PHYTIC ACID reduces your ability to absorb iron, calcium and other nutrients from your food. Remember being told that whole grains are packed full of valuable minerals? Phytates dramatically reduce their availability. If you eat a lot of grains you may be well fed, but are most likely undernourished.

It all comes back to the gut!

Did you know that the health of your gut is KEY to your immunity? Grains contribute to a “leaky gut”, where gaps between intestinal cells allow undigested food, bacteria and metabolic waste to escape into your bloodstream. Your body experiences significant inflammation under these circumstances. In some cases the immune system becomes so overburdened, it starts to react to it’s own tissue (auto-immunity). Its pretty clear that the permeability of our gut lining is the root of our health.

Q. How long will I be off grains?

A. Traditional cultures soured, sprouted and soaked their grains. These food preparation methods dramatically reduce the anti-nutrients naturally present in grains. There are fantastic references to teach you how to properly prepare whole grains if you choose to include them in your diet. For some people, a grain free lifestyle is short term; other’s choose to stay off grains because of how amazing they feel. Your body will tell you. You do not need to eat grains as part of a wholesome diet, but if you do – they MUST be prepared properly.

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