Gluten – It’s a big topic!
One of the questions I get asked the most is whether we should be avoiding gluten if we have psoriasis. Read on to find out more!
First, what is gluten?
Gluten is a protein which is found in certain grains – including wheat, barley and rye. It is a protein which many people are sensitive to. The most extreme reaction is known as Coeliac Disease (of which psoriatics have a higher prevalence) but people can also have milder sensitivities known as NCGS (Non Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity.)
Does gluten affect psoriasis?
Gluten triggers the release of another protein called zonulin in the small intestine. Zonulin has been shown in many studies to adversely affect the tight junctions in the lining of the gut wall. In short, zonulin increases intestinal permeability or leaky gut (check out my post from last week for more on that.)
There are also many studies showing the link between increased intestinal permeability and psoriasis, along with other autoimmune conditions.
So in short, should we be avoiding it? Yes!
This is where it’s a good idea to work with a professional to make sure that you are still getting all of the nutrients which your body needs.
In general, foods to avoid are:
– Wheat which means bread, cakes, pastries, pasta, biscuits, soy sauce. Also bulgur wheat, couscous and semolina, which are all made from wheat.
– Rye, mostly find in rye breads and rye crackers.
– Barley, sometimes found in cereals, soup mixes
– Oats are naturally gluten free but often made in the same factory as products containing gluten. Always buy gluten-free oats to avoid cross-contamination.
–Spelt and Kamut both also contain gluten.
Safe grains are:
It’s also important to not go down the junk-food gluten-free path. There are a lot of gluten-free alternatives now in supermarkets, but lots of these are still processed and contain a lot of sugar and other nasties to replace the gluten.
In general, stick to a healthy, whole-foods diet following the example below and you can’t go wrong!