I know we must all have heard of the word ‘gluten’ and more than likely know someone who is intolerant to this in their foods. When consumed they have an adverse reaction, bloating up, becoming uncomfortable these are just a couple of the more common reactions to gluten intolerances. I am going to discuss some of the benefits of taking gluten out of your diet even if you believe that you aren’t actually intolerant to gluten specifically.
First off let us look at what ‘gluten’ actually is. It is derived from a combination of a two different proteins gliadin and glutenin, most commonly from wheat and grains. Adding the much loved texture to the items of food we like to eat daily and also chewiness, foods such as bread and cereals, but also it is used as a thickener, a binder and a flavour enhancer alongside being a protein supplement in a lot wider range of foods we find day to day in our cupboards without even thinking, things like sauces, soups, salad dressings, dairy produce, liquors and even in some coffees.
So what actually is gluten intolerance? This is actually the title used to describe three conditions being a wheat allergy, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. Around 5-10% of people are thought to have an actual gluten intolerance, however it is thought that with the current ways of farming foods, genetically modifying, and also different methods to speed up crop growths the actual strengths of gluten are becoming more apparent resulting in more then 60% of most western populations actually having a gluten sensitivity and through different trials it is believed that a lot more would still be able to benefit from a gluten free diet. If somebody with an intolerance has gluten, it can affect the immune system creating an abnormal response producing symptoms such as hives, digestive issues, breathing issues, bad skin, unexplained aching, fatigue and even in some cases auto immune issues such as thyroid problems, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
So how can an athlete benefit from a gluten free diet? If we look at the food we take in, what is the reason we want to refuel? To recover, to improve our fitness, to progress to our goals. If we are not able to uptake the optimum amount of nutrients from our foods then we will not get the full benefit from the nutrients that we are taking on board. If gluten is stopping the immune system functioning fully causing digestion issues then the nutrients will not be taken on board optimally. So improve your digestion from eliminating gluten and you improve your nutrient uptake, your immune system will function better meaning less fatigue, more recovery, less illness, and through your body being in a better recovered state there is less chance of injuries from the result of a fatigued body. With better immune system the actual hyperglycaemic effect of exercise is minimised meaning a lot more stabilised blood glucose levels throughout allowing the body to be in a better state to burn fat, increase strength and greatly increase stamina.
These are just some of the benefits of eating gluten free we will look further into intolerances in future posts but I wanted to bring to the forefront some of the facts regarding eating gluten free and benefits it can have on your bodies on route to getting to those goals.
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I hope you have gained a little knowledge from this particular article.
Happy progressing! Ollie!