Coeliac disease is one of the health issues that occur to individuals who suffer gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein present in wheat and other similar substances like barley. This health problem is similar to allergies that can cause inflammation. However, the inflammation caused by gluten intolerance can damage the villi and small intestine. As of now, the only treatment prescribed for this disease is to go on a gluten-free diet.
This disease involves various manifestations and implications. It is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Early detection of coeliac is necessary in order to address the symptoms during the early stages.
It is easy to detect the disease but the problem is that there is no possible cure that can treat completely coeliac. It is because this disease can be controlled but not totally eliminated. Following a diet without gluten can help in alleviating the symptoms of this disease.
It is not that easy to follow a gluten-free diet, but there are tools that a person with this disease can use to help him with this diet. This diet will not only help in healing the small intestine but also in getting rid of the symptoms.
Principles of a gluten-free diet
It would help to observe and follow the following principles of a gluten-free diet:
- The patient suffering from coeliac disease should avoid consuming foods that contain rye, barley and wheat. These include cereals, bread, crackers, pasta, pies, cakes, gravies and cookies.
- Patients with this disease should avoid taking oats during the early stage of treatment. It is because some preparations of oat may contain wheat.
- Avoiding processed foods is also necessary because these foods because may contain wheat flour. Among the processed foods that contain gluten include the following:
- Salad dressings
- Canned soups
- Candy bars
- Ice cream
- Instant coffee
- Ketchup and mustard
- Luncheon meats
- If you are suffering from this disease, you should be aware that some medications and vitamin preparations contain gluten and wheat starch too. In fact, some lipsticks and other cosmetic products may also contain gluten.
- Drinking alcoholic beverages without barley should be avoided while taking the diet. Otherwise, the coeliac disease may worsen.
- Most milk and dairy products contain lactose and some patients with untreated coeliac disease are lactose intolerant. That is why it is important to be careful in introducing dairy products to the patient’s diet.
- In buying products, an individual with this disease should read the product labels. However, there is no guarantee that a product labelled as a gluten-free product is really safe to consume.
- Some people with this disease may develop deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. That is why aside from taking a gluten-free diet, the patient should also take supplements with the supervision of the health care provider.
As mentioned earlier, coeliac cannot be treated permanently but can only be controlled. Diligently following a diet that does not include foods with gluten is expected to ease the symptoms and improve the condition of the patient within weeks. However, the response of children with coeliac to a gluten-free diet may be dramatic. Abdominal discomfort and diarrhoea could be experienced.
Once the symptoms are eased, the intestinal villi will reappear but complete growth may take months. Adult patients with this disease may only benefit from fractional regeneration of intestinal villi. Following the gluten-free diet for a long-term is significant to improve the disease. Patients who are uneducated about the disease and the diet may suffer life-threatening results.
Addition of foods
Being afflicted by this disease is really challenging because the patient needs to discipline himself to follow the gluten-free diet. Fortunately, there are health food stores selling an assortment of bread that are free from gluten substance. You can find food products made from potato or rice flour. You can also include rice-based and corn cereals for breakfast in your diet. But, you have to make sure that it does not contain malt. If you are craving for your favourite pasta, forget about spaghetti instead think about rice noodles.
Another food that can be added in a gluten-free diet is lean meat. It is a good alternative to processed foods. Also, even if you have this disease, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth by eating gumdrops, plain hard candies and marshmallows. These are better alternatives to cakes that contain gluten. Nevertheless, you can find speciality cake shops where you can order customized gluten-free cakes and pies.
This disease can change your life, but it should not make you miserable. Although there are plenty of foods and drinks to avoid, there are more gluten-free foods and drink that you can enjoy. All you have to do is to seek help from your health care provider or dietician to ensure that you are consuming the right food.