1. Understand Whether You Need To Go On A Gluten-Free Diet In The First Place
Gluten is actually a protein that is found in certain grains, such as wheat, rye and barley. For people with coeliac disease, the immune system reacts to the gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine. This is very serious and can hinder the absorption of nutrients, as the intestinal lining becomes damaged and inflamed. So, for people with coeliac disease a gluten-free diet is critical.
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Some people have non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, and may respond favourably to reducing gluten in their diet, also. There are no health benefits for removing gluten from the diet for others, in fact it can be less favourable as if not managed correctly, people can become very low in fibre from the removal of beneficial wholegrains.
2. Spot The Signs And Symptoms Of Coeliac Disease
People with coeliac disease may experience physical pain in their abdomen, coupled with belching, diarrhoea, fat in stool, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, or flatulence. If undiagnosed late in life, it can lead to bone loss, fatigue, and/or malnutrition. In children it can cause delayed puberty or slow growth. It can also show up as a skin rash or dermatitis.
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3. Gluten-Free Food Isn’t Always Boring
When I was first diagnosed with coeliac disease, I thought my life was over! I remember eating a lot of rice in the first few months. Most wholefoods are wonderful choices – plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables; lean meats, legumes and tofu; as well as healthy fats like nuts, seeds and avocado.
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As for grains and carbohydrates, there are a range of wonderful gluten free options like millet, quinoa, polenta, brown rice, sorghum, teff and amaranth. As for treats, I love Turkish Delight, dark chocolate, macarons and pavlova.
4. People With Coeliacs Should Consume More Vitamins
If a diet is made up of beautiful wholefoods and few processed foods, it is likely a person with coeliac disease is able manage all their nutritional needs without any supplementation. It’s always best to consult with an accredited practising dietitian when first diagnosed so that a person can best meet their needs in a balanced way.
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