Coeliac disease is an inherited autoimmune disease affecting about 1% of the world’s population. It causes inflammation throughout the body, particularly affecting the digestive system. Whenever a person with coeliac disease consumes gluten, the individual’s body elicits an immune response that attacks the small intestine and even inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients. So while gluten-free might be a trendy option for some, for others, it’s an absolute necessity.
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, barley, and spelt. Over time, the immune reactions triggered by gluten damages the small intestines, causing malabsorption of essential nutrients. This can further result in fatigue and anemia, and if left undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to other illnesses such as osteoporosis, infertility, and even cancer. If going gluten-free is an absolute must for you, then we have a few tips to help your transition.
Beware of hidden gluten
When most of us think of gluten, we think of bread and other baked goods. But much like hidden sugar, you will also find hidden gluten in processed foods and beverages. Learn to scrutinize food package labels and be especially careful of products like ketchup, stock cubes, candy, and beer.
There is no such thing as a cheat day
If you’re on a diet purely for weight loss, then a cheat day seems appealing. If you have coeliac disease, however, every cheat day can be detrimental to your gut. Every time you consume gluten, it damages your intestines. These harmful consequences are just not worth a cheat day!
Don’t feel left out
It’s true that there are many gluten-containing foods that you need to cut out. But there are also a lot of foods that are naturally gluten-free: meat, seafood, poultry, rice, fruits, legumes, coffee, tea, and even wine! Instead of focusing on what you can’t have, make the best of the gluten-free foods you are allowed to eat.
Take information with a grain of salt
There’s no shortage of information on the internet. You can read up on just about anything. But when it comes to your health, you want to make sure you get the right information. Most countries have their own dedicated Coeliac Society webpage where you can read the latest information about coeliac disease from trusted health experts.
Before you embark on a gluten-free journey, it’s important to make an appointment with your GP and take a coeliac test. If you haven’t consumed any gluten for a few weeks, your test will come back as negative even if you have coeliac disease.