Gluten free diets are recommended for people suffering from or thought to have Celiac disease, an often debilitating autoimmune disorder. In people with celiac disease gluten, which is a protein found in grains, irritates and inflames the small intestine, which can lead to significant discomfort, poor nutrient absorption and a range of serious problematic symptoms.
Avoiding foods containing gluten is the only treatment for this disease and will alleviate symptoms, prevent further complications and generally enhance the quality of life for sufferers.
Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley, and these grains are commonly used in many everyday processed foods. Avoiding gluten may seem a daunting task at first, but thankfully more and more products are being produced without gluten such as bread, pasta and even beer!
Such a program can closely resemble many ‘clean’ ‘raw’ or even ‘Paleo’ diets that are currently so popular. You will be relieved to know there is a long list of ‘common’ everyday foods that are perfectly safe for those avoiding gluten:
These are all gluten free unless processed or mixed with grains (i.e.
crumbed chicken Kiev or a steak pie thickened with flour and cooked in pastry).
Click here for a sample of a gluten free diet plan
There are however many grains and starches that are naturally gluten free and while not traditionally used are becoming more popular and available in processed foods. For example rice flour, corn flour and corn meal, can easily replace wheat barley or rye in certain foods.
Our supermarket shelves are increasingly becoming stocked with more gluten free options and most packaging clearly identifies whether or not a product contains gluten or if there was a possibility of cross contamination at the manufacture stage.
By being aware of alternative options available such as Quinoa - hard to pronounce, but not just a ‘fashion statement ‘- a healthy enjoyable eating plan can easily be incorporated into a busy lifestyle.
The health benefits of gluten free diets are certainly worth the effort for those with celiac disease and may also benefit non-sufferers as well.
For further information or if you think you may be suffering from undiagnosed celiac disease you should contact your doctor, healthcare professional or local celiac support group.
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