Celiac Disease Diet: Foods to Avoid & Foods to Include
Celiac disease or gluten-sensitive enteropathy is an autoimmune and digestive system disorder that is caused by consumption of foods containing gluten. It is important to maintain a proper diet if you are suffering from Celiac Disease. In Celiac disease, the small intestine lining gets damaged by these foods. Gluten is basically a protein that is found in rich contents in foods like wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale and also in some medicines. In Celiac disease, the immune system of the patient is triggered by the gluten that is consumed by him/her through foods. Since it damages the inner lining of the small intestine, it damages the digestive system and the ability of small intestine to absorb the nutrients from food.
As a result, a few symptoms are experienced such as –
- Bloating, gas, diarrhoea, pain, weight loss, pale stool and other digestive problem
- Disturbed bowel movement
- Severe skin rash
- Seizures, tingling sensation in legs
- Tiredness, weakness
- Missed menstrual cycle
- Growth problems.
In severe cases of Celiac Disease, it can lead to miscarriage, infertility, intestinal cancer, birth defects and other autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, thyroid, type-1 diabetes and others. Hence, treating this condition is very important in every possible way. The best, rather the only way through which Celiac disease can be treated is by maintaining a gluten-free diet.
Foods to Avoid in Celiac Disease:
As even a small amount of gluten consumption can be harmful for the patients suffering from Celiac Disease, it is very important that you choose foods that do not have any gluten content in them at all. A standard treatment procedure for Celiac Disease includes complete elimination of gluten for the rest of your life. The general principles that must be followed in order to have a gluten free diet are –
- As foods like wheat, barley, rye, oats, triticale contain gluten in a huge quantity, it is very essential that breads, pasta, cereals, cakes, pies, cookies, crackers and gravies are avoided completely by patients suffering from Celiac Disease.
- In some of the cases, there are patients with Celiac disease, who are found to have some kind of tolerance to oats. However, unknowingly, the oat preparation may include wheat in it and such contaminations can lead to prolonged difficulties in the future time. Hence, oats must also be avoided in Celiac Disease.
- Apart from wheat and any other food with the term 'wheat' in it such as wheat bran, wheat berries, wheat starch, wheat grass, wheat germ and wheat flour (except for buckwheat), the other foods that must be avoided and eliminated from celiac disease diet are semolina, bulgur, couscous, Graham flour, malt, blue cheese etc. as they have a very high content of gluten in them.
- Avoid beer from your diet if you are a patient of celiac disease.
Foods that may have Gluten in them:
There are many food products and ingredients that may have high content of gluten in them. Brewer's yeast, udon, edible starch cereal binding and extract are some of the additives that have gluten in them, but they are less common to be used in regular diet.
Packet food and packaged food also have gluten in them. Artificial colouring, flavouring, candy, processed cheese, flavoured coffee, French fries, MSG, ice cream, rice syrup, smoke flavouring, mustard powder, gravy cubes, rice malt, ground spices, miso and Bouillon cubes are some of the many packet foods that come with gluten and must be avoided in celiac disease.
Medicines and Cosmetics with Gluten should be avoided by Celiac Disease Patients:
In many of the tablets, vitamin supplements and capsules, wheat starch is the general binding agent. Sometimes, they are also found in cosmetic products such as lipstick to make a good binding of the product. In such a case, it is very useful that you have these products, consume and apply them only after properly knowing about the products.
The villi in the small intestine contain an enzyme called lactase that digests the natural sugar found in milk and milk products called lactose. However, as the lining of the small intestine is damaged in celiac disease, the patient may experience temporary lactose intolerance leading to bloating, abdominal cramping, nausea, gas, headache and diarrhoea. In such a case, the food products that have rich lactose content must be strictly avoided by Celiac Disease patients.
Foods to Include in Celiac Disease Diet:
There are many food items that the Celiac patients can eat and incorporate into their regular diet and they are fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, beans, legumes, nuts, fish and seafood and different dairy products.
If you think that carbohydrates are full of gluten, you are mistaken. There is a whole wide list of carbs that are gluten free and can be eaten regularly by Celiac Disease patients. These are naturally gluten free and cause no harm to your system and health. Rice, soy, potato, millet, quinoa, tapioca, buckwheat, arrowroot, flax etc. do not have gluten in them and should be included in the celiac disease diet.
First class proteins such as meat, fish, sea food, eggs and others can be eaten without any worry at all and should be included in the celiac disease diet as they do not have any gluten in them. However, one thing must be made sure is that these should not be taken in a form that contains gluten in them such as a gravy of chicken, meat or fish or eggs in a sandwich, since breads and gravy have a very high level of gluten in them.
Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. However, it is very important to always make sure that if they are packaged or processed, they are not contaminated with gluten. Otherwise, there is no problem in eating fruits and vegetables even in large quantities.
Although beer has high gluten content in them, there are many other drinks and beverages that do not have any gluten in them. These are wine, brandy, whiskey and different kinds of fruit juices. Sherry, port, liqueur and cider and fizzy drinks are absolutely fine. However of course, they should not be considered a part of regular diet, considering the impacts that these might have on the health in general.
The problem for people with lactose intolerance is that they have do not produce enough of the lactase enzyme to digest the lactose of the milk or dairy products. Hence, if milk or milk products with a reduced amount of lactose are consumed and if before the meal, lactase supplements are taken, it will reduce the problem. Natural cheese like Cheddar, Swiss, Parmesan and Mozzarella are absolutely gluten free and can easily be consumed.
In fact, the substitutes for the general dairy products such as the rice milk or soy milk and peanut butter and nut flours are always useful as they do not contain any gluten in them.
It is always recommended that patients with Celiac disease are never supplied with any gluten at all. Hence, to maintain a healthy food habit, they must use separate utensils in the kitchen, while living with others, so that there is not a single trace of gluten in the food that you cook in the utensil that is used to cook food for others.