June 15, 2011, Information

When bread hurts

Who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread?

Most of us crave bread and other wheat products just as much as sugar. The problem is, large numbers of the Australian population are adversely affected by the protein in wheat called gluten.

There are vastly different levels of wheat intolerance, ranging from slight symptoms such as bloating or tightness in the abdomen to full blown celiac disease where the symptoms are very severe. It is estimated that 1 in 100 Australians have celiac disease, although studies have found that this number may actually be higher due to many going undiagnosed.

In cases of celiac, the gluten in wheat triggers an immune response which causes part of the small intestine to become damaged and unable to properly absorb nutrients. Over time this can lead to serious side effects.

Some of the symptoms include;

-bloating, gas, cramping
-diarrhea, constipation

Fortunately celiac disease is manageable by avoiding gluten. This means not eating wheat products and quite a few other grains including rye, barley, spelt and kamut. Gluten can be hidden in other foods; canned soups, soy sauce, lollies and various ‘low fat’ products. I always recommend reading the ingredients label before buying any packaged food but if your wheat intolerant, it’s essential.

Probiotics have shown to alleviate the severity of celiac and wheat intolerance by reducing inflammatory reactions that commonly occur. These ‘friendly’ bacteria serve in a number of ways to increase gut health;

-digesting certain carbohydrates
-producing key b vitamins
-competing with ‘bad’ bacteria
-preventing allergies
-supporting immune system

For more information and helpful tips go to www.celiac.org.au

Your best bet is to stick to a diet of fresh, whole foods, preferably organic. Not only will it keep wheat intolerances under control but you will experience numerous other health benefits also.

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