Did you know Alzheimer‘s, autism, Parkinson’s, ADD, ADHD, and autoimmune disorders can be linked to wheat consumption? Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist and author of Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers, says that these diseases and conditions can be prevented or eased by eating healthy fats and reducing carbohydrates. In recent years, the damage wheat causes the body and particularly the brain are beginning to be known. Americans consume about 133 pounds of wheat, 20 percent of their calories.
Pediatric gastroenterologist and research scientist, Dr. Alessio Fasano, found that gluten in wheat leads to zonulin production. Zonulin increases intestinal wall permeability, which allows proteins to leak out of the gut and into the bloodstream where they burden parts of the immune system and other parts causing inflammation in the body. The inflammation then causes or contributes to disease especially in the brain and nervous system. Dr. Fasano’s research shows 100% of humans have this reaction to zonulin.
The brain is 60-70% fat and needs healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, almond milk, avocados, olives, nut butters, cheese, seeds such as flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, and chia. The brain and body also need lots of vegetables such as kale, spinach, and salad greens.
It has been hard for me to make the wheat free transition and even harder to incorporate that into my family’s diet. We often replace wheat with rice or corn products which are still high in carbohydrate/sugars that cause inflammation. From endocrine issues to gum disease, fatigue to pain are connected to overconsumption of grain. We are addicted to grains and wheat in particular. We live in a world equivalent to an alcoholic living in a complete community of bars, pubs, wineries, and breweries where the substance is everywhere and inescapable.
My son asked me, “Mom what can I eat? Everything has wheat.” This is something I struggle with everyday. What can I eat? It takes time to retrain our body to accept meat, seed, nuts, and other proteins, enjoying greens, squash, and other vegetables in large quantities. I still go for the wheat free cereal and other grains which is still high in sugars. This is part of our survival mode. I’m trying to switch to thrival mode.
May you thrive as you nourish your mind and the minds of those you love.
Dr. Perlmutter has a new PBS series called Grain Brain. Visit DrPerlmutter.com for more details.
Information from: Linda Sechrist. Grain Free and Brain Bright. Natural Awakening, Nov 2013. NAeastMichigan.com
- Dr. Oz, a vegetarian wheat advocate, spotlights gluten-free, high-fat diet (examiner.com)
- Alzheimer’s Link to Grain in Diet (drrobinscorner.wordpress.com)
- How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease – A Neurologist Speaks Out (stateofglobe.com)