The word ‘celiac’ (Greek) literally means ‘relating to the abdomen.’ Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that occurs when wheat, pasta, breads, and other products that contain gluten irritate the small intestine. The word ‘gluten’ is derived from the Latin word ‘glue.’ It is a combination of plant proteins occurring in grains such as wheat, corn, barley, and rye. The word gluten is used in this way because it actually is an adhesive. Gluten is found in many processed foods in our American diet today. Surprisingly to many, it is also used in many medications, vitamins, and even lip balms. Those who suffer from celiac disease cannot consume gluten because it prevents nutrients from being absorbed into the body, thereby causing damage to the lining of the intestines. If celiac disease goes undiagnosed or untreated, it can lead to serious complications with other areas of the body, such as the nervous system, bones, and even the brain. Thankfully, though celiac disease is more common today than ever, it’s also true that many American food manufacturers are coming up with more foods that are friendly to those who suffer with celiac disease. Following is information from a gastroenterologist about the celiac disease friendly diet.
Truth be told, the diet that is friendly to those who suffer from celiac disease may just be the most healthy diet there is. In fact, celiac disease patients in the U.S. likely are eating more healthy than most other Americans, simply because gluten isn’t the healthiest thing you can eat. Because it is an adhesive, gluten isn’t really a stomach’s friend, whether that stomach can be found in someone who has celiac disease or not. If you’re a celiac disease patient, the foods that are friendly to your digestive system include many of the healthiest foods we can eat. These include:
- Meats and poultry
There are even some grains that you can consume, as long as they don’t contain gluten. Many grains on the gluten-free diet can be found in your local supermarket. In fact, there are even some national chains that are producing foods made especially for those who are gluten sensitive. Additionally, there are some local and national chain restaurants that have made it their business to put gluten-free items on the menu for celiac disease sufferers and others who are sensitive to gluten. Some of the celiac disease friendly grains you may be able to find in your local grocery store include:
- Nut flours
Fruits and vegetables
Most fresh and even frozen fruits and vegetables are naturally free of gluten. Because gluten is used as an adhesive largely in packaged foods, fruits and vegetables typically don’t have it. However, it is important to note that some fruits and vegetables that have been processed/packaged may contain gluten. Be mindful of reading all food labels.
Most beverages are free of gluten. Gluten free beverages include many juices, sports drinks, and sodas. However, again, it is vital that all those who suffer from celiac disease carefully read labels, even on beverages. When in doubt, drink water.
Processed and packaged foods
There is some very good news in the food industry today, and that is that many food manufacturers have listened to celiac disease sufferers and have begun producing a great number more packaged foods that are gluten free. Today, as a celiac disease patient, you can walk into many grocery stores, including some very popular and famous national chains such as Aldi that have entire lines of gluten free food items that are packaged and delicious. These include such foods as brownie mixes, cookie mixes, prepackaged cookies, breads, and pastas.
Celiac disease is on the rise in the United States. According to statistics, more than two million Americans suffer with celiac disease. And, unfortunately, thousands are being diagnosed every year with celiac disease. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of celiac disease, it is important that you consult a gastroenterologist in Flushing for diagnosis and, if necessary, treatment.