Gluten, just about the most well known word in the health and wellness industry right now. It’s feared, but often people have no idea why, or the repercussions it can have not only on your digestive health, but also the overall functioning of your body.
Well, I am here to break it down for you!
Gluten, is the main storage protein in the grain wheat. Some proteins found in gluten are called gliadin and glutenin. Gluten is also found in barley and rye; however the protein in oats, called ‘Avenin’ does not contain gluten or gliadin – due to cross contamination in manufacturing, oats can become ‘contaminated’ with gluten and its proteins; therefore correct manufacturing processes must be performed to eliminate any cross contamination. You are able to purchase gluten free oats, just be sure that it is clearly displayed on the label.
Gluten is a highly digestion-resistant grain, therefore it can travel to the small intestine in whole particles, causing inflammation, pain, bloating, poor memory and concentration, and in some cases diarrhoea or constipation. In Coeliac disease, gluten consumption triggers the immune system to attack it’s own tissues – the microvilli of the small intestine. This causes severe nutrient depletion, due to the destruction and loss of surface area, resulting in impaired nutrient assimilation and absorption.
Unfortunately, whether you’re Coeliac, gluten intolerant or not, due to gluten’s ability to resist the power of our digestive enzymes to break it down, resulting in inflammation in our gut, it can also result in a term known as ‘Leaky Gut’.
In our gut, we have something known as tight gap junctions; these junctions serve as a barrier that enables the integrity of our gut to be strong, preventing food particles, bacteria and toxins from travelling into our bloodstream wreaking havoc. However, when gluten is consumed, it causes these tight gap junctions to become permeable, reducing the integrity of our gut, allowing said bacteria, pathogens, toxins and food particles to flow into our circulation, evening reaching up into the blood supply to our brain.
Ever experienced brain fog after eating? There’s a good chance you may have some underlying permeability in your small intestine.
Now why is this important in regards to the functioning of our immune system?
Well, if you think about it, our gut is the one part of our internal body that comes into contact with the outside world; so it makes sense that our immune system needs to be present there to help fight off invading pathogens. However, when there’s intestinal permeability (aka Leaky Gut), this can result in our immune system to be less concentrated in our guts, and causes our white blood cells to travel elsewhere in the body where these floating bacteria, toxins and food particles may be. As a result, this can not only cause our immune system to be depleted and unable to fight off pathogens that do find their way into our body via our gut, but also can cause create Dysbiosis in the body.
Dysbiosis is simply an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria in our gut. This basically allows the bad bacteria to flourish, increases inflammation and systemic stress in the body, and allows the kill off of our healthy, disease fighting bacteria. If this is the case, it allows pathogenic bacteria to adhere to the lining of our gastrointestinal cells, resulting in infection and illness. Furthermore, this inflammation and immune dysfunction can also give rise to conditions such as auto-immune disease; where (like in Coeliac Disease) the body attacks it’s own tissues, unable to decipher self from non-self.
To prevent this from happening, we need to ensure we’re supporting the integrity of our gastrointestinal cells, reducing inflammation, providing antioxidant support, have a wide array of healthy bacteria in our gut, and ensure we’re providing prebiotic rich foods as a food source for our beneficial bacteria to feed on and flourish. Some essential nutrients to help our gut to heal include collagen, glutamine, gelatin, vitamin C and vitamin A.
If you’re concerned about your gastrointestinal health, are wondering about food intolerances or allergies, or are interested in using herbal and nutritional medicine to help your immune system, gut health or anything else in your body, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with me. I offer complimentary 15 minute consultations face to face or over the phone if you’re interested in an initial chat. If you’re ready to jump straight into consultation, bookings can be made with me online here or by calling me on 0427 375 986.
Vis Medicatrix Naturae – The Healing Power of Mother Nature.
In the age of plant based eating, smoothie loving, wellness warriors - are we doing ourselves more harm than good?
A diet high in fruit, equals a diet higher in fructose, which is a form of sugar found in fruit.
This fructose can cause some digestive discomfort when eaten in exceeding amounts (>50g/day), as it pulls water into the small intestine, which can cause bloating, discomfort, flatulence and diarrhea. This can actually cause dehydration and nutrient depletion - the opposite of what we want.
Yes fruit does provide a fantastic source of nutrients such as vitamin C, antioxidants, Vitamin A and fibre, and we shouldn't exclude them from our diet entirely! Try combining fruit with protein and fats, not only to increase satiety, but slows down the rate of absorption in the small intestine; this also aids in balancing blood glucose levels.
Instead of starting your day with a smoothie or juice ladened with sugar with 5 or more serves of fruit, try and cut it down to 1/2 to 1 serve of fruit. With the recommended serving of 2 serves of fruit per day, this leaves your other 1-1.5 serves of fruit as a great, nutritious snack later in the day!
If you're experiencing any digestive discomfort after eating certain foods or are unsure of how to eat a balanced diet, please contact me for a Naturopathy and Nutrition appointment today. I'm available for consultations in Melbourne and Bright. Click here for bookings.
Try this delicious green smoothie recipe below to create your own low-sugar, nutrient rich breakfast!
CHOOSE YOUR BASE:
choose 1-2 of the below, ensuring you always have at least 1 vegetable option, and no more than one fruit option
CHOOSE YOUR PROTEIN:
CHOOSE YOUR FATS:
CHOOSE YOUR EXTRA NUTRIENTS:
Mix chosen ingredients into a high powered blender and enjoy!
The key functional ingredients in this soup are Turmeric and Bone broth!
Turmeric is a highly powerful anti-inflamamtory, which helps down-regulate the expression of pro-inflammatory pathways in the body that are up-regulated in many diseases such as Arthritis. Excessive inflammation also increases noicoceptive receptor stimulus, meaning that your pain sensitivity can be increased! Who would want that??
Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it helps scavenge free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
Furthermore, Turmeric also enhances both phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification, meaning it's a key ingredient for those with sluggish livers due to many years of excessive alcohol consumption or toxin exposure, and can help promote the removal of said toxins, as well as the removal of excess hormones in the body (such as oestrogen excess seen in conditions such as Fibroids and Endometriosis).
Turmeric can also help promote cardiovascular and metabolic health by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), CRP (C-reactive protein = an inflammatory marker), triglycerides, and elevating HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), due to it's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.
Bone broth on the other hand, contains numerous amino acids from proteins which help heal the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, specifically the tight gap junctions of the small intestine. By doing so, it will help promote the synthesis of our feel-good neurotransmitter Serotonin (which is synthesized in out gut), enhance beneficial bacteria colonization, and promote Secretory IgA production, which helps fight off pathogenic invaders from adhering to our gut lining. The key ingredients in bone broth that have this gut healing action is Collagen, Gelatin and glutamine! There are many different amino acids present in bone broth, which are also essential for healthy detoxification pathways in the liver - without protein/amino acids, these pathways would not work efficiently!!
Bone broth also contains a myriad of beneficial minerals and vitamins, which are necessary for white blood cell production and immune health, neurotransmitter synthesis, enhancing the conversion of food to energy, promoting further collagen production for wound healing and tissue repair, amongst numerous other benefits.
ENOUGH BABBLING - INTO THE RECIPE!
INGREDIENTS (all ORGANIC):
With the colder months rapidly approaching, so are increased incidence of virus's like the cold and flu.
Some key nutrients that can help prevent, and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms can easily be combined into a delicious winter soup.
Some key areas integral for the health of our immune system includes our gut and microbiome aka healthy gut bacteria. As our gastrointestinal tract comes into contact with all sorts of bugs, pathogens, toxins and food from the outside environment, it's important that our immune system resides there to help fight off any harmful invaders.
Some environmental, diet and lifestyle factors that may reduce the integrity of our gut lining and diminish our healthy bacteria include:
Before we start trying to compensate for all of the above by buying some probiotics, they're not going to be actually doing all that much if our gut lining is permeable. Heard of "Leaky Gut"? All of the above can diminish the integrity of our gut lining, and yep, you guessed it, it allows it to become permeable - meaning that the cells are no longer in their tight junctions, and food/pathogens and toxins can freely flow into the blood stream, and wreak havoc on your body. Have you ever had brain fog after eating certain foods? Or seem to have brain fog quite regularly? Chances are the food you're eating, or lifestyle factors may be causing this leaky gut/leaky brain scenario.
Don't freak out - we can help quite effectively with nutritional and herbal medicine.
Some key nutrients required to heal your gut include:
NOW INTO THE RECIPE!
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