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Healthy eating tips for the ideal celiac disease diet

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gluten-free market labels

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  • As the Celiac Disease Foundation points out, a strict and lifelong gluten-free diet is the “remedy” for this chronic and autoimmune illness
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to label their products “gluten-free” only if it has less than 20 parts per million gluten
  • A gluten-free diet isn’t as simple as just buying and eating gluten-free foods — you need to have commitment and diligence to watch what you eat

As the Celiac Disease Foundation points out, a strict and lifelong gluten-free diet is the best treatment plan for this chronic autoimmune illness.1 Eating the right kind of foods can mean the difference between a remission and a painful onset of symptoms, so it’s important to know what you should and shouldn’t eat if you have celiac disease.

Incorporate these gluten-free options into your diet

A gluten-free diet is beneficial to nearly everyone, whether or not you’re sensitive to this substance. Replace gluten-containing foods in your diet with the ones in this list to help control your celiac disease:2,3,4

  • Seeds such as chia, pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • Nuts such as pecans, macadamias, pistachios or walnuts
  • Organic pastured eggs
  • Grass fed meats (be sure they’re not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Fish (wild-caught Alaskan salmon, sardines, anchovies and herring that aren’t breaded, batter-coated or marinated)
  • Organic fruits and vegetables
  • Raw, grass fed milk or yogurt
  • Healthy fat sources, including grass fed butter, coconut and coconut oil, olive and olive oil, and avocados

Although there are grains that contain high amounts of gluten, there are also varieties that are “celiac disease-friendly,” including:5

  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum
  • Tapioca

For beverage, filtered water is the best choice to properly hydrate your body. If you’re looking for flavor, other healthy alternatives are pure organic black coffee6 and vegetable and fruit juices.7 Fruit juices should be consumed in moderation, though, to avoid ingesting excessive amounts of fructose.

Foods to avoid if you have celiac disease

Eliminate foods that have these gluten-containing ingredients and their derivatives:8,9,10,11

  • Brewer’s yeast
  • Wheat starch
  • Triticale, a hybrid of wheat and rye
  • Oats that are potentially contaminated with gluten

Keep in mind that wheat comes in different varieties and names, including durum, einkorn, emme, kamut and spelt, so keep an eye out for these terms. Wheat flours also go by many names depending on how they’re processed. Enriched flour, farina, graham flour, self-rising flour and semolina are all types of wheat flour that contain gluten and should therefore be avoided.12 Some of the most common foods that contain gluten include:13,14,15

  • Pastas
  • Noodles
  • Breads and pastries
  • Processed foods like imitation meat or seafood and luncheon meats
  • Breading, stuffing and coating mixes
  • Gravies, sauces and salad dressings
  • Flour tortilla
  • Cereals, granolas and crackers

You should also refrain from drinking any type of malt beverage as well as beer, ales and lagers, since they might be made using ingredients with traces of gluten.16

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Additional reminders when looking for gluten-free options

A gluten-free diet isn’t as simple as just buying and eating gluten-free foods — you need to have commitment and diligence to watch what you eat. Here are techniques that may help you easily adopt this diet:17,18,19

  • Read labels — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows manufacturers to label their products “gluten-free” only if it has less than 20 parts per million gluten.20 Aside from looking for this label, you should also make it habit to read the ingredient list to check for obvious gluten-containing ingredients.
  • Wheat-free is not the same as gluten-free — Wheat-free products may still contain spelt-, rye- or barley-based ingredients that aren’t gluten-free.
  • Better to be safe than sorry — If you’re unable to verify if a particular food is gluten-free, isn’t derived from gluten-rich grains or if the ingredients list itself is missing, don’t eat it. Even if you eat a small portion of gluten that you weren’t able to account for, this can lead to small intestine damage and may trigger symptoms.
  • Try one new food at a time — When adding new foods to your diet, introduce them to your system one by one. If your body experiences side effects after the introduction of a new food, you may want to recheck the label or do a “rechallenge” test of the same food before adding another food item.

MORE ABOUT CELIAC DISEASE

Celiac Disease: Introduction

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease In Children

Celiac Disease Causes

Celiac Disease Types

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Celiac Disease Diagnosis

Celiac Disease Treatment

Celiac Disease Prevention

Celiac Disease Diet

Celiac Disease FAQ

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