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When eating pasta results in facial pain or possible nerve damage

Gluten found in the flour of wheat, rye, or barley can cause nerve damage such as facial neuralgias, for example, trigeminal neuralgia. If you had a plate of commercial, white wheat flour pasta or whole wheat pasta followed by facial pain, it's possible the culprit could be gluten. Foods may include eating noodles or pasta made from that type of grain containing gluten. The gluten is in the protein of certain grains such as wheat, barley, or rye. And some grains or flours, meals, and brans are mixed with other grains that contain wheat, barley, or rye.

When eating pasta results in facial pain or possible nerve damage.
Anne Hart, photography.

If you're suddenly sensitive to gluten, which could happen at any time or age or be that way from birth, that gluten in foods can cause nerve damage. Check out sites such as: Trigeminal neuralgia, End Trigeminal NeuralgiaNational, Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the site, Overcoming Multiple Sclerosis. You can check out the Facebook page on the condition known as trigeminal neuralgia.

When you eat wheat, rye, barley, or any other grain that contains gluten, and you have or develop a sensitivity to gluten, what happens is that the nerve cells (neurons) could lose their outer coating insulation

Other conditions where this happens include multiple sclerosis. But you don't have to develop multiple sclerosis to have facial pain after eating products containing wheat, rye, or barley. Pasta made with wheat is one example as is white or whole wheat flour from wheat that's baked into bread, cakes, cookies, pastries, or noodles.

What happens is that the neurons “demyelinate," losing their myelin. When the myelin is gone, the neurological problems start, for example pain or odd sensations, including a feeling of insects biting or hot water being thrown on your legs or other body parts, such as your toes or face. Or there's numbness. But you don't have to give up eating pasta, just pasta made from wheat, rye, barley, or other grains containing gluten. Also cut out seitan, or wheat meat.

Since tempeh is made from fermented soy beans, it probably may not contain gluten unless it was made in a factory that also makes seitan or wheat meat and other products containing gluten. And tofu comes from soy beans. But you don't know whether the products were exposed to an environment where gluten products are made. So you have to find out before you take a bite. Most people who suddenly develop a sensitivity to gluten may not realize that wheat pasta or pasta made from barley or rye could be the root cause of their facial pain or other neuralgia-like symptoms. But you still can enjoy pasta you make from green banana flour or any other substance that makes a good pasta without containing any gluten.

Pasta made from green banana flour has no gluten

You can check out the June 22, 2012 news release, "Pasta made from green banana flour a tasty alternative for gluten-free diets." A New option for patients with celiac disease, is green banana flour pasta, according to a July 20212 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. You can check out the abstract of that July 2012 study, "Green Banana Pasta: An Alternative for Gluten-Free Diets."

People with celiac disease struggle with limited food choices, as their condition makes them unable to tolerate gluten, found in wheat and other grains. Researchers from the University of Brazil have developed a gluten-free pasta product from green banana flour, which tasters found more acceptable than regular whole wheat pasta. The product has less fat and is cheaper to produce than standard pastas. Their research is published July, 2012 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Volume 112, Issue 7.

"There was no significant difference between the modified pasta and standard samples in terms of appearance, aroma, flavor, and overall quality," reports lead investigator Renata Puppin Zandonadi, PhD, Department of Nutrition, University of Brazil, according to the June 22, 2012 news release, Pasta made from green banana flour a tasty alternative for gluten-free diets. "Green bananas are considered a sub-product of low commercial value with little industrial use. For banana growers and pasta product makers, there is the possibility of diversifying and expanding their market."

Researchers compared a standard whole-wheat pasta preparation made from whole wheat flour and whole eggs with one made from green banana flour, egg whites, water, and gums

The alterations reduced the fat content and increased the protein value of the modified pasta, important because gluten removal typically reduces some proteins responsible for some sensory characteristics of pasta products. The egg whites and gum result in pasta that is less sticky than typical gluten-free pastas, and promote firmness, elasticity, moisture, and uniformity.

The modified pasta decreased fat content by over 98%. This reduction is particularly important to patients with celiac disease, because many gluten-free products compensate for the removal of gluten with high levels of lipid content.

Fifty testers who did not have celiac disease and 25 celiac disease patients compared the pastas. In both groups, the modified pasta was better accepted than the standard in aroma, flavor, texture, and overall quality, indicating that the product can possibly be commercialized to a wider market than just those with celiac disease.

The modified pasta had a high quantity of resistant starch, which may help control glycemic indexes, cholesterol, intestinal regularity, and fermentation by intestinal bacteria

"Considering that untreated celiac disease promotes cancer in intestinal cells and a highly inflammatory mucosal status, developing gluten-free products with bioactive compounds such as the ones present in green banana flour is important for celiac disease patients," concludes Dr. Zandonadi, according to the news release. "Patients will benefit from ingesting a product with a better nutritional profile made from an ingredient that is produced and consumed throughout the world."

In an accompanying podcast presentation, Raquel Braz Assunção Botelho, PhD, discusses the potential benefits of green banana flour-based pasta for people with celiac disease. You also may wish to check out other studies from the publisher, Elsevier Health Sciences.

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