Gluten is a plant protein present in several food items like wheat, barley, oats and rye. It usually is not considered to impose any health risk, but people with certain health conditions may best avoid it. Besides, certain research works have indicated that cancer patients should opt for gluten-free food. Read this blog article to know more about how a gluten-free diet helps reduce cancer risk and the repercussions of cancer treatment.
All you need to know about gluten
Gluten refers to a group of plant proteins, namely prolamins and glutelin. It is a crucial structural component of cereals like wheat, barley, oats, and rye. Gluten constitutes about 70-80% of all proteins in these cereals. It gives the grains a typical elastic feature.
Most healthy individuals need not avoid gluten in their diets. However, gluten may cause severe symptoms in people with certain health conditions. For instance, those with celiac disease, an immune disorder, are intolerant to gluten and must avoid it. For individuals undergoing cancer treatment, avoiding gluten may help in their journey.
What is the relation between gluten and cancer?
Various studies indicate that individuals with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance have an increased risk of certain types of cancer. For instance, one research shows that celiac disease increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of gastrointestinal cancer. Since gluten damages the intestine in people with celiac disease, gastrointestinal or colon cancer risks. Several research works point to a gluten-free diet as an absolute necessity to reduce the cancer risks in people as it counters the intestinal inflammations associated with celiac disease.
Stomach or intestinal cancer symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, and other gastrointestinal problems, which can be controlled through a gluten-free diet.
It is also recommended for many patients undergoing cancer treatment. Treatment procedures like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiotherapy cause side effects like intestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, bloating, indigestion, and diarrhea, which necessitate a proper diet plan. A gluten-free diet can help mitigate these symptoms to a great extent. Also, it is best to consult an onco-nutritionist or cancer care provider before selecting the most appropriate diet.
What is a gluten-free diet?
The following food items contain little to no gluten, and can be consumed as part of a gluten-free diet:
- Gluten-free cereals like rice, corn, millets, sorghum, and quinoa.
- Pulses like beans, lentils, peas, and soy.
- Various nuts like peanuts, cashew, almonds, and walnuts.
- Animal proteins like chicken, seafood, eggs, and dairy products
- Fruits and vegetables
The following food items are rich in gluten and are best to be avoided:
- Wheat flour
- Hybrids of wheat, such as khorasan, spelt and triticale
It is worth remembering that a gluten-free diet is suitable only for individuals with health conditions such as celiac disease and for those undergoing cancer treatment. It may also benefit those recovering after cancer surgery or undergoing chemotherapy. Please always consult the doctor and onco-nutritionist before embarking on any specific diet plan.