Djokovic Aus Open 2011 You may have seen in the media this week the story that Novak Djokovic’s rise to the top of men’s tennis has coincided with switching to a gluten free diet.

Gluten or more accurately, gliadin is the protein found in most grains. Gluten is one of the most highly sensitive foods in the human body.

One theory is that grains have only been available for a very short time in relation to our evolution, especially to Europeans where farming only began around 3,000 years ago. Therefore, our bodies do not recognize the proteins as a natural food source.

Our immune systems are sensitive to any foreign protein in the body. These proteins are usually bacterial and parasitic organisms. However, a food sensitivity can also develop in an attempt to attack ANY foreign protein, including ‘unidentified’ or ‘unfriendly’ foods.

Human-immune-system-150x150 Food sensitivities are complex immune mediated reactions involving multiple triggering mechanisms and multiple classes of leukocytes (white blood cells).

Pathogenic reactions lead to pro-inflammatory and pro-algesic (pain) mediators from white blood cells, which can result in a wide range of different symptoms. Djokovic quoted, “I have lost some weight but it’s only helped me because my movement is much sharper now and I feel great physically”.

Watching him beat Andy Murray at this year’s Australian Open, I was amazed to see him move so fast. I believe that’s what won him the match. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a sportsman move so fast.

Djokovic Forehand Stretch He was getting balls back that most players wouldn’t have even reached. That left Murray wondering what he had to do to beat this guy. He threw the kitchen sink at him and Djokovic kept coming back with more.

Since the Aussie Open, Djokovic has not lost a single match all year and is breaking all kinds of records. Albeit, in an era when the best two players of all-time are playing (Federer and Nadal).

Tune in to part two when I will explain why I think Djokovic’s performance has improved so much…