Sometimes people eat a piece of cake even though they know they have gluten sensitivity, gut dysbiosis, or systemic inflammation. It’s one piece, right?
Latest research shows that the smallest amount of gluten can trigger inflammation and autoimmune reactions lasting for up to six months in gluten sensitive individuals. Coffee also has been found to be the most harmful food for those with gluten intolerance.
Effects Last Longer Than You Think
Bloating, gas, cramping, and old injury flare-ups are responses that indicate inflammation. And each of these symptoms is more significant to your overall health than you may realize.
If there is pain anywhere in the body, such as joint pain or an exacerbation of a pre-existing autoimmune condition, you know that the food-induced inflammation originating in the gut is systemic. If you experience fatigue or brain fog after eating a piece of cake, you know the inflammation is systemic and that your blood-brain barrier (BBB) is likely compromised.
After a couple days or maybe a couple weeks, the outward manifestations of the small amount of ingested gluten may have disappeared. However, studies show that the smallest amount of gluten—say a cracker the size of 1/8 of your thumb nail—will have a prolonged inflammatory effect in the body for up to 6 months after ingestion if you are gluten sensitive. (1)
Unfortunately, if you pick an occasional crouton from your spouse’s salad or ingest hidden gluten in certain processed foods, you have just excited your immune system for another 6 months. If you have “pretty much” been gluten-free for several months and wonder why you still have symptoms, this may be why.
Coffee Can Have the Same Effects
One food that gluten-sensitive people must also beware of is coffee. Studies have actually shown that coffee is one of the most cross-reactive foods in gluten sensitive individuals.(2)
While coffee is acidic, affects your stomach pH, and leaches minerals from bones, it also triggers the release of excess stress hormone, increasing the inflammation. You will know inflammation by signs of heat, swelling, redness, and pain.
This means that coffee can trigger the same extended inflammation and autoimmune response as glutinous grains.
Stay With Your Gluten-Free Options
While the findings may be disheartening to those who find themselves eating things that may not support their constitution, they do help people understand the seriousness of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of experimenting with gluten-free recipes. There are many delicious Body Ecology recipes, so you can have your cake and digest it too!
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Picture courtesy Jane Wooe via Flickr.com.