Gluten –Free does it lower my risk of cancer?
If you have Celiac disease or have what they call non-Celiac gluten sensitivity then you have no other choice but to be on a gluten free diet. But what if you are not suffering from either disorder? Is a gluten free diet healthier? Is gluten bad for you or will it cause cancer to spread or will it put you at risk for cancer?
What is gluten? Gluten is a protein that is sticky found in grains, wheat, barley and rye. For those with celiac this sticky protein is dangerous and causes intestinal damage as well as putting them in a high risk group for intestinal cancer. For those with celiac the best approach is to avoid gluten and use potatoes, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, beans and starch or flour made from them. Amaranth, millet, quinoa are grain like and can be used as grains and often flour is found produced from these non- grain, grain – like foods. Gluten, however, is not dangerous for those that are not intolerant of gluten. This protein called gluten is what makes your breads and flour contained foods taste the way they do, making it less likely added sugar or flavorings that are not healthy used to enhance the food’s flavor. Gluten –free products usually will contain these extra sugars, fats and flavorings that actually make gluten free products often less healthy than their gluten counterparts.
Well over half of all people on a gluten-free diet do not have celiac disease; many are needlessly avoiding healthy foods that could lower their risk for many chronic diseases that includes cancer. Studies have shown people that eat whole grains, that includes the gluten grains, rye, barley and wheat lower their risk of most cancers, like breast, prostate, colon, pancreatic, etc. These whole grains contain fiber, it is fiber that helps stabilize blood sugars and hormone levels; they also make us feel full helping to maintain optimum body weight, they contain hundreds of nutrients that we need in order to keep our bodies healthy and prevent cancer or its progression if we already are diagnosed. Whole grains should be part of our diet, unless of course you are gluten intolerant due to celiac disease. One must be careful with a gluten-free diet because it can lack vitamins and minerals or phytochemicals.
Eating a proactive diet for prevention or to keep the body healthy while fighting cancer is important, part of that diet should be healthy organic grains. Gluten by itself is especially beneficial but it is the whole grains, of the barley, rye and wheat that offer us their rich array of vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins and iron along with the all essential fiber. Whole grains lower our risk of heart disease, diabetes and many forms of cancer.
If we were to consider eating a gluten-free diet, we must ask ourselves why we need to do so. Is it due to our intolerance to gluten? Do we have celiac? Or do we just want to be trendy? An intolerance to gluten is not the same as celiac that is very dangerous to eat gluten; eating less grains and more non-grain, grain- like foods may help but will give you some grains to give you the needed fiber and nutrients; likewise if you are just trendy, eating gluten free foods is okay as long as gluten grains are in your diet to give you fiber and important nutrients. Celiac sufferers must be careful and eat well so they are not missing essential nutrients and fibers. Gluten wheat is a good part of any diet, most especially a cancer preventative diet. Remember use organic non-gmo wheats, anything less will not produce the healthy effects of good gluten consumption.
Sources: http://www.aicr.org/press/health-features/health-talk/2013/04apr2013/gluten-free-diet-cancer.html http://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/hot-topics/does-gluten-cause-cancer/ http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/truth-about-gluten