*this information is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, perevent or cure any conditions, nor is intended to constitute advice on which reliance should be placed. Any information in this blog should be discussed with your health care practitioner.
Now I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get a lil nasty – Trey Songz / me bout grains right now haha
Sooooo this epi (I’m calling it an epi because I feel like I just talk in these blogs haha and I like to abbreviate everything), we’re going to be talking about the inflammatory effect of the consumption of grains. e.g headaches, migraines, brain fog, fatigue, ADHD, anxiety, depression, digestive disturbances, autoimmune disease, food allergies, IBS and ulcerative colitis.
So, in a nutshell, as we’ve talked about, inflammation is the primary root of all disease, ageing and pain. So obviously avoiding / reducing inflammation is the key to living forever, but nah in all seriousness we have complete control over how we live our lives, whether that’s in pain or not.
Grains are these cute little packages, wrapped up in their coat, unable to be penetrated by nature. And then we came along with our fire and our water and were like OPEN SESAME!
It’s because of their structure that grains cause a low-grade inflammatory response, because like all species they’re equipped with mechanisms to survive.
It’s these protective compounds called lectins, that are indigestible by humans. Lectins not only trigger inflammation, allergic reactions and intestinal permeability aka leaky gut, but also strip away the protective mucus that lines our gut, making us susceptible to bacteria invasion (yikes).
Leaky gut causes gaps to form between the epithelial cells in our gut, which allows toxins, wastes, bacteria and other substances to leak out of our gut and into the blood stream.
It's this perpetuating cycle of inflammation and a heightened immune response, that drains our bodies resources, leaving us vulnerable to other problems and health issues, such as IBS, digestive disturbances, thyroid imbalances, psoriasis, eczema, ADHD, depression and anxiety, and is heavily linked to autoimmune diseases and allergies.
(*side note, numerous populations have and still do THRIVE off grains, and live amazingly long lives, but its these individuals within these blue zones that also live an extremely active, minimily stressful, blissful life, it’s not one thing is bad/good, it’s the accumulation of a broad spectrum of everything and numerous factors that cause auto-immune and inflammatory responses to grains).
If we blindly followed the Australian Dietary Guidelines/Guide to Health Eating, in which they recommend 6-7 SERVES OF GRAINS A DAY, AKA GRAINS ARE OUR #1 FOOD GROUP AND FUEL SOURCE, then its easy to see how a constant consumption of grains, day in, day out, is gonna fuck shit up and wreak havoc and inflammation.
When we’re in a chronic low-grade inflammatory response it just sets us up for all kinds of issues as I’ve mentioned, and creates an inflammatory response in the nervous system. Because our immune systems in a heightened active state, along with the gut-brain connection aka the HPA axis aka the vagus nerve, increasing oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, it contributes and aggravates headaches and migraines
Inflammation also triggers the stress response, which means cortisol floods our system. Cortisol down regulates the release of our neurotransmitter; GABA, which is like the soothing aloe vera gel when we’re sunburnt, but in our brain. It calms us down, and blocks the over excitation of our neurons (nerve cells). Anxiety, depression and ADHD are all scientifically linked to an imbalance of GABA (as well as dopamine in our brains).
It gets tricky though, because its like “if you soak and sprout grains it removes the phytates (anti-nutrient proteins*) and is easier to digest”, and this is true, but realistically are we going to soak and sprout our grains before we cook them? I’m gonna say no (if you do, hats off to you madam/sir).
And then there’s the families of grains, like our whole grains – we talking brown rice, oats, burghul, rye, freekah, cous cous, whole wheat (wheats fucked, avoid that shit like the plague, like dead set, if you feel like shit, in anyway, like mentally, physically, fatigued, anxious, brain fog, lethargic, just cut out wheat and watch yourself go from 0-100 real quick, and then tell me so we can hi-5)
We’re told that grains are a good source of B vitamins, but if you’re unable to absorb the B vitamins because of their irritable factors, then what’s the point? We’re able to get all the vitamins and minerals in grains, from other wholefood sources.
It’s also interesting that whole grains are presented as more nutritious because they contain the fibre which slows down the release of insulin and glucose within the blood, but its actually the bran – the whole grain part, that contains most of these anti-nutrients that aggravate the gut lining, causing permeability and inflammation. Not only that, but also the way grains are milled in our era destroys a lot of the nutrients that would normally exist within them. Additionally, the use of hybridized grains, in which 1 type of seed is predominantly grown.
Then there’s refined grains – like your white rices, wheat, and all the refined flours that exist in most/all baked goods. Refined grains I don’t think have any place in a diet, whole grains I get, and pseudo grains - quinoa, aramanth, buckwheat, wild rice and teff, I feel are the best option. When consuming your pseudo/whole grains, treat it as a condiment, rather than the star of the dish, a lil sumin sumin on the side.
But hey I’d just remove/down size grains from your diet even for a small period of time, and see how you feel. And remember you can get all the B's, vitamins, minerals, and carbs you need from ya starchy veggies, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Not everyone is as susceptible to the damaging properties and effects of grains, and grains aren’t evil, its all about educating yourself and seeing the links between foods and optimum health, and just becoming aware of how your body is and what makes you thrive and feel magical 24/7.
Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are
- Anthlem Brillat-Savarin
Aman, T 2014, The Omni Diet, Griffin Publishing, California.
Perlmutter, D & Loberg, K 2013, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, Little Brown and Publisher, New York.