Wheat is one of the top eight most allergenic foods, according to the Mayo Clinic, and allergic reactions are prone to show up on our skin. But surely you’d already know if you had a wheat allergy? In “Wheat Belly,” Wisconsin-based cardiologist Dr. William Davis suggests that beyond gluten intolerance, wheat allergies are difficult to pinpoint, even with a blood test.“
Might the whole grain praised for its health benefits be a secret skin saboteur? We asked the experts to weigh in on the wheat-skin connection. What we found may complicate your next bite ofisn’t one size fits all, and the food that makes you healthy and radiant could trigger an itchy rash or an outbreak of blemishes (not to mention a killer stomach ache) in your friend. Wheat appears to pose little issue for most of the population, but for a growing number of people who may have a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance, eating a bowl of cereal or a slice of whole wheat bread could be a major beauty blunder!
Still others tout wheat as a skin-friendly choice, thanks to skin-supporting minerals like zinc and the high level of antioxidant vitamin E, found particularly in wheat germ. The most reasonable explanation for this divide may be that it all comes down to your personal relationship with the grain. Beyond dermatitis herpetiformis, acne, hives, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis are common allergic reactions to wheat. And for some, identifying a wheat or gluten allergy can be the missing link to clear skin. It appears that when the body views wheat or gluten as an allergen, it may become inflamed and experience difficulty with nutrient absorption, both of which can lead to skin issues.
But beyond personal experience, there’s still a lack of scientific evidence. Wheat and gluten’s connection with acne and eczema is not so clear. Yet another possibility is that wheat may aggravate existing autoimmune conditions, but not be the real culprit in skin issues. That’s not to say that all skin rashes and conditions are caused by wheat. Many are not. But an incredible number are. It’s important for the consumer to be aware that wheat and/or gluten and skin conditions is a very common association.
And it turns out that even if you have flawless skin and no wheat allergy, you may want to look closely at the type of wheat products in your diet for the sake of your skin. Wheat, with its uncommonly high glycemic index, triggers higher blood sugar than nearly all other foods, thereby triggering insulin more than nearly all other foods. However, 100 percent whole wheat bread has a much lower glycemic index than more processed breads and triggers a more moderate blood sugar response. Elevated insulin is linked to increased sebum production that can clog pores and lead to breakouts. Wheat can exert age-advancing skin effects, such as wrinkles and lost elasticity, through the formation of advanced glycation end products [AGEs]. An accumulation of AGEs in the body leads to visible signs of aging.
SO, each person’s body is very unique, and the way our bodies respond to certain foods over time / age changes as well, especially when connected to other variables in life, such as stress! The MOST IMPORTANT takeaway here is to BE IN THE KNOW! That way you can identify a problem early on, and figure out what YOU NEED to look and feel your best both INSIDE + OUT!
Founder, President + Director of Research
Beauty Research Institute
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