It’s hard for the body to digest grains. Mother Nature intended that to occur. Grains are the seeds of plants. The continuation of the species is important for those seeds to be planted. The seeds are created to survive the digestive juices in the gut, to be scattered on the ground later in the waste. There are other safety measures taken so that the seed doesn’t sprout before it’s in an area where it can grow and thrive. Unfortunately for humans, the very things that protect the plant and seed can cause problems in the body, which include leaky gut.
What is leaky gut?
Leaky gut still isn’t accepted by the medical community and remains a hypothetical theory. The theory is that the mucous lining of the gut becomes more permeable and allows leakage, causing more water, nutrients, and even toxins to leak through, creating a cascading number of symptoms. Leaky gut syndrome affects many areas of the body. If toxins enter the bloodstream, it triggers inflammation throughout the body, not just in the gut. Besides causing digestive issues, other conditions thought related to leaky gut are diabetes, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia.
Grains not only are difficult to digest because of their hard shells, and protease inhibitors.
Even if you grind grain, and remove the outer shell, grains are still hard on the digestive system because of a phytochemical called a protease inhibitor. It neutralizes the digestive enzymes, which allows plant proteins and toxins to remain intact and not degraded. That neutralization causes the body to send a message to the pancreas to produce more digestive enzymes and send it to the small intestines. An imbalance can form with too much trypsin created, which can cause a breakdown of the enterocyte cells and ultimately, leaky gut.
Grains, like members of the nightshade family, contain lectins.
Lectins protect plants from insects and pests. You might call them Mother Nature’s natural pesticide. Lectins don’t digest but pass through the digestive system with the seed intact, so when it finally is passed in waste, it has the waste as its fertilizer and its own natural pesticide. Lectin can play havoc on the gut and if there’s already a problem, it makes it far worse.
- Grains and legumes both contain phytic acid. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient. It slows digestion and diminishes the absorption of iron, zinc, and calcium, which are important for the proper functioning of the immune system, and can lead to leaky gut.
- Grains contain complex proteins. Complex proteins are difficult to digest and the hardest for the body to break down.
- Grains aren’t the only plants that contain lectins. Eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and other members of the nightshade family also contain it.
- Sprouting, fermenting or soaking grains can help remove many of the problem phytochemicals in grains. Using heirloom varieties of grains or pseudo-grains can also reduce the potential for leaky gut.
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