Are grains healthy or not?

Posted by Jesse van der Velde on

The majority of Western European people eat many foods that are grain-based, like bread, breakfast cereals, crackers and pasta. Many grain products like wholewheat bread and muesli are regarded as quite healthy, mostly because of the fibre. Yet the wheat in these products can cause health problems, many of which we may be unaware of.

Why does wheat cause health problems?

We grow up with bread as one of our basic foods. But what we don’t realise, is that bread and other grain-based products can lead to health issues such as a lack of energy, concentration issues, stomach and indigestion complaints and feeling bloated. The reason for this is that many people are sensitive to the gluten in the grains (Catassi et al., 2013 [1]).  

Gluten is found in many grains like wheat, hulled wheat, rye and barley and consists of protein elements. One of these is called gliadin, a long chain of 260 amino acids that can be difficult to digest. In the case of gluten hypersensitivity, gliadins in gluten unleash an autoimmune reaction in the digestive tract and damage the small intestine, which decreases the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. In instances of severe damage, a leaky gut can develop, in which toxins are released into the bloodstream. The body responds by making antibodies and producing inflammations (Schuppan et al., 2015 [2],Rubio-Tapia et al., 2009 [3], Lorgeril, 2014 [4]).

Why are many people sensitive to gluten?

How our bodies respond to gluten is genetic. Historians believe that our prehistoric ancestors did not eat a lot of gluten. People then were mostly hunters and gatherers who ate meat, vegetables and fruit. Our bodies have not changed much since then and this is why it is not surprising that gluten are the cause of so many health problems.

Ideally, you could eat a diet with no gluten at all, considering our bodies are from a historical perspective simply not made for it. This vision for optimal health is supported by the Paleo lifestyle, which is based on the concept of choosing as much “real food” as possible – just like our ancestors who walked the earth 10 000 years ago.

Paleo lovers don’t eat readymade meals, bought food, wheat and diary but eat many organic vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and organic meat (Cordain, 2012 [5]).

How do you choose a gluten-free breakfast?

Those who choose to live according to the Paleo way soon run into difficulties…because how are you to enjoy a breakfast free from grains and more specific, gluten? Of course you could scramble some eggs every morning or have a salad, but often you just want a breakfast that is ready quickly and that will leave you satisfied for several hours.

If this is what you are looking for, then Superfoodies’s Paleonola will be right up your alley. This breakfast cereal is available in three delicious flavours: Superfoodies Paleonola Apple Cinnamon, Superfoodies Paleonola Fruity Greens and Superfoodies Paleonola Tropical Berries.

The most important ingredients of all Paleonola's from Superfoodies are dried fruit, nuts and seeds as well as a few added superfoods like chia seed and lucuma powder. (Superfoodies Paleonola Apple Cinnamon), sprouts, spirulina and banana powder (Superfoodies Paleonola Fruity Greens) and goji berries and passion fruit powder (Superfoodies Paleonola Tropical Berries). In addition, all Paleonola's are free of gluten, wheat, oats, soya, diary, refined sugar, additives and other unhealthy ingredients.

 

[1] Catassi C. Et al., “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity: The New Frontier of Gluten Related Disorders”, Nutrients 2013, 5(10), 3839-3853
[2] Schuppan D. Et al., “Wheat amylase trypsin inhibitors as nutritional activators of innate immunity”, Digestive Diseases. 2015;33(2):260-3
[3] Rubio-Tapia A. Et al., “Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease”, Gastroenterology, 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93
[4] de Lorgeril M., “Gluten and wheat intolerance today: are modern wheat strains involved?”, International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 2014 Aug;65(5):577-81
[5] Loren Cordain, “The paleo answer, 7 days to lose weight, feel great, stay young”, 2012

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