Diet and Nutrition

What Can I Eat if I Have Celiac Disease?

What Can I Eat if I Have Celiac Disease?

Key Takeaways

  • Gluten is the entire protein content found in wheat, rye, and barley.
  • A gluten free diet is a diet that excludes wheat, barley, rye and other foods rich in gluten.
  • You can still have a healthy, well-balanced diet even while you are avoiding gluten in your diet.

What is gluten?

Gluten is the entire protein content found in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found in flour as well. It is the gluten that helps to prevent the crumbling of bread and other baked products. This characteristic feature of gluten has made it very popular and is now used in almost all bakery products. 

Why should gluten be avoided?

Gluten contains gliadin proteins. Patients with celiac disease are resistant to digestion of gliadin by the enzymes pepsin and chymotrypsin. Therefore, gliadin remains in the intestines triggering an immune response and the body responses by producing signs and symptoms in these patients.

What is a gluten free diet?

A gluten free diet is a diet in which wheat, barley, rye, and other gluten rich foods are excluded. A gluten free diet is prescribed to patients with celiac disease. Eating a gluten free diet helps patients with celiac disease to control their signs and symptoms and also to prevent any complications. A gluten free diet is extremely safe to use but it is certainly not an easy diet to follow. But as time goes by, you will find out that there are so many foods we already consume which are gluten free. Any unprocessed natural food except for wheat, barley and rye are gluten free by nature. Therefore, an unprocessed food diet is better for a celiac patient.

Changing to a gluten free diet is one massive change and it will take some time for you to adapt to this change. Focus on the type of food you can eat. You will be surprised to see the number of products available including pasta and bread which are gluten free.

What should I avoid?

Avoid all foods and drinks that contain:

  • Barley
  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between rye and wheat)

Tips for a gluten free diet

  • Rather than eating cereal, bread or other gluten products for breakfast have a smoothie in the morning.
  • Avoid rye, wheat and barley. Grains which are good for you include gluten free oats, millet, rice, corn, and buckwheat.
  • Consume as much vegetables as you can. Vegetables are naturally gluten free and are safe to be consumed by celiacs. Mineral rich vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, eggplants, green beans, pea’s lettuce and onions are preferred.
  • Try new fruits such as kiwi, papaya, water melon, mango and pomegranate which are all gluten free naturally.
  • Before you eat any processed food, remember to read all the ingredients on the label of the can.