Anyone struggling with difficult-to-control asthma or in the throes of an acute flare should seriously consider avoiding wheat. In the past, medical science only recognized Celiac's Disease as an indication someone should cut out gluten. However, according to Dr. Mark Hyman, new research reveals that we can also be gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant without meeting the diagnostic criteria for Celiac's.
In fact, people can have a completely different kind of reaction than the one physicians look for in Celiac's! Further, the kind of wheat we eat now, is a mass produced crop that is manipulated in multiple ways to increase harvest yields.
As the harvest has increased so has Celica's. Dr. Hyman says we've seen a 400% increase in cases of Celiac's, which affects 12% of the total population, and roughly 7% of us are now gluten intolerant. However, I have seen figures citing as many as 43% of us may not be able to tolerate gluten, so it may be quite a bit more than that.
What happens if you can't tolerate gluten? Your asthma control suffers.
Does Gluten Really Trigger Asthma?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation says yes. On their website, they state "The most commonly reported symptoms seen with wheat allergy include: atopic dermatitis, urticaria, asthma, allergic rhinitis, anaphylactic shock and digestive symptoms."
How likely is an asthmatic to have a food allergy? About half of all asthmatics are going to be allergic to a food of one kind or another. This makes it vital for asthmatics to sort out which side of the fifty-fifty odds they fall on.
If you have asthma, a gluten free trial might improve your health. A frank allergy is pretty easy to spot; once you stop eating gluten you do better. But cause and effect can be more hidden in a gluten intolerance--it may not matter until your asthma flares or may subtly contribute to hard-to-control asthma.
Overall, wheat is a pro-inflammatory food. It promotes and fosters systemic inflammation per Dr. Hyman, which is a major component of asthma. This is why I avoid it and suggest other asthmatics do as well. At the very least, if you are experiencing a serious asthma flare, cut out the wheat and other inflammatory foods to reduce inflammation in your body.
Gluten Does Not Meet the Nutritional Needs of Asthmatics.
Despite the commercials and constant exhortations in the media, wheat, even whole grain wheat, has very little nutrition. Especially when it comes to asthmatics, who might not only be allergic to wheat, it also jacks up blood sugar. Consider this factoid from Dr. Hyman:
"Two slices of whole wheat bread now raise your blood sugar more than two tablespoons of table sugar."So here I am, fighting an acute asthma flare. I'm on steorids, which increase my insulin response and inhibit nutrient absorption and what exactly is bread going to do for me in that situation? Nothing! For me and my lungs, wheat is not a source of nutrition.
If I want to maximize the nutrition of my food intake to help control my asthma, I can't do that eating gluten. That's just the way it is and I'm okay with it. I'm not deprived at all. In fact, I just had toast this morning.You can see a picture of it at the top of this post (take another look, and tell me if you didn't think it was real bread!). Only took a minute to make.
If you are interested in improving your overall health and asthma control, stick around. I have tons of recipes and simple changes you can make to stop the wheeze and eat to breathe.