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Gluten-free diets: a healthy choice?

glutine

We have heard a lot about gluten-free foods and diets in the last few years. Gluten, a protein complex found in some cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled, spelled and Kamut would seem to be the cause of many eating disorders such as celiac disease and other modern degenerative diseases. Before telling you about our gluten-free diet; but we would like to clarify the protein complex that has been the basis of our evolutionary history.

Gluten is, in fact, the main protagonist of the Mediterranean diet, a model proposed for its nutritional validity and unanimously recognized by the international scientific community for its ability to prevent chronic degenerative diseases. So why in recent years, such an important element of our diet has been associated with so many modern degenerative diseases?

Gluten intolerance and Celiac disease

Cereals, as often associated with Celiac disease, have earned a very bad reputation. However, celiac disease and gluten intolerance are two different diseases. To make it simple the fundamental difference between the two disorders is this: in people with celiac disease gluten triggers an autoimmune reaction that attacks the intestine and severely damages the intestinal mucosa; gluten intolerance, on the other hand, is manifested by abdominal pain, irritable bowel, fatigue, headache, but does not involve serious intestinal lesions. Although it is less severe in terms of symptoms and consequences on your body, only in Italy, gluten intolerance affects 3 million people and these numbers seem to be constantly growing.

However, the reasons for this phenomenon must be sought in the past. In fact, after the ’60s and’ 70s, with the numerous applications and artificial manipulations of genetic engineering in agriculture, most of the gluten today has a marked toxicity depending on our genetic heritage. In short: gluten present in finished products has never been biocompatible with our body.

 The Celiac disease was the first pathology classified with respect to the contraindications of the modern, non-biocompatible gluten. But are you sure that this pathology is the only effect? Celiac disease, defined as autoimmune enteropathy, has in fact been classified for macroscopic clinical evidence as necrosis of intestinal villi and increase in autoantibodies. However, if we analyze the phenomenon at a microscopic level and without necessarily arriving at evident intestinal lesions or antibodies, at the base of these mechanisms we find the dysfunctions caused by the modern Gluten.

In fact, studies have shown that many people react to modern Gluten by creating a small intestinal permeability to the detriment of some TJ intercellular proteins (eg CLDN1, CLDN4 decrease and CLDN2 increase). This process, therefore, triggers an inflammatory condition supported by innate immune mechanisms. Although the scientific studies analyzed so far show how we can all be differently intolerant to this modern gluten obtained with genetic manipulations, in reality, it is not correct to remove from our diet every food that contains it and depriving us of a beneficial substance in our diet.

Which Gluten hurts?

To make sure you do not experience this type of problem and limit the damage already caused to your body, our advice is rather to pay attention to the choice of finished products that you buy and the raw materials used. It is not enough to choose organic. Often defined BIO grains and conventional products are obtained from varieties that have undergone artificial genetic mutations. In order to benefit from biocompatible foods, free of artificially manipulated gluten, the choice must fall on products based on certified durum wheat flour, such as the Senatore Cappelli strain. The grain obtained from this species, in fact, follows the agricultural practice of organic farming from the production to the milling of the wheat up to the use of the flour obtained from it.

This way you can ensure at least four benefits:

  1. healthier products: first of all because they are not cultivated with chemical fertilizers and given the reduced production, the transformation chain is artisanal or semi-traditional. In fact, the product is processed slower and at lower temperatures while maintaining the nutritive principles unaltered;
  2. Increased digestibility: as we explained in this article, ancient grains have a lower glycemic index;
  3. Prevention of intolerances: as research suggests, ancient grains do not irritate the intestine as much as the modern grains;
  4. The pleasure of a good meal: ask a miller and he will know how to recognize the ancient wheat with the perfume given off during milling. Furthermore, thanks to the quality of the artisanal production, it gives life to more tasty products compared to industrial productions based on modern varieties.

References:

1.Therap Adv Gastroenterol. 2013 Jan;6(1):53-68
2.The role of innate signaling in the homeostasis of tolerance and immunity in the intestine. Int J Med Microbiol 2010, 300:41-48
3.Prevalence of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in the United States clinical antipsychotic trials of the intervention effectiveness study population. Schizophr Bull 2011, 37:94-100
4.Gluten sensitivity: from gut to brain. Lancet Neurol 2010, 9:318-330.
5. Characterization of IL-17A-producing cells in celiac disease mucosa. J Immunol 2010, 184:2211-2218.

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