Inflammation has become ground zero for everything from bloating to major health probs like heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders (yep, it’s that serious), so it’s not surprising that combatting it has become a huge wellness focus. And while sprinkling turmeric on your dinner and avoiding dairy are major pluses, a new study points to another source of inflammation: protein in wheat.
Wheat has already been labeled an inflammation culprit because of gluten, but now scientists are pointing the finger at a family of proteins. According to the lead researcher, a professor at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, the proteins only make up 4 percent of wheat proteins, but they are powerful and can cause inflammation in the gut, lymph nodes, kidney, spleen, and brain.
Oh and wait, that’s not all. If you have fatty liver disease, asthma, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, these proteins can make symptoms worse.
The interesting thing about this news is that it means wheat can cause health problems for people who don’t test positive for celiac disease, since it isn’t the gluten that’s causing flare-ups. The big takeaway here? If breads, pasta, and other wheat-based foods are causing you to feel not-so-hot, but your doctor swears you don’t have celiac disease, he or she may be right—but avoiding wheat could still make you feel better.
If you’re looking to go wheat-free for a while, check out this gluten-free guru’s five favorite recipes. Plus, here are six other inflammation-causing foods you might not know about.