Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications
Lauren K. Williams, M.S., Registered Dietitian, discusses getting vitamins and minerals with celiac disease.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is one of the more common conditions that affects people of all ages, and it relates to nutrition and to the immune system.
And there is some reaction of your own immune system against three types of grains, including wheat, barley and rye, and all other grains are safe. But the immune system someone initiates a reaction which cause damage to different organs in our body, and mainly to the gastrointestinal tract.
So people with this condition as long as they are exposed to one of those three grains, have a risk for different complications and the effect will be very mild, to nothing, or very severe, with almost life-threatening situation.
But while this cruel disease, once diagnosed and properly treated with the exclusion of three grains of the diet, the person is perfectly healthy and well with no risk to his health in long term.
The important thing is to be very, very persistent with your diet. There’s no cheating in this diet and then you’re cured. So in a sense if one is sick and can have a choice, this is a good disease to have, because lifestyle and diet can completely cure you. So people often think of food and diet in relation to not feeling well.
Celiac disease is a great imitator, so the best is to go talk to your family physician, get more information and more precise evaluation.
Local Practitioners: Pediatrician
Dining Choices for Celiac Disease
If you have recently been diagnosed with celiac disease and are wanting to go out to a restaurant, there are some key condiments you need to be aware of that may contain gluten.
Things like marinades, things like seasonings, salad dressings, soups that are thickened as well as even cocktail sauce, Worcestershire sauce, gravies, those all can contain gluten. If you’re preparing a meal for someone who has celiac, it’s important to be aware of all of these flavorings and seasonings that may contain gluten.
It’s also very important to be aware of cross-contamination because those extra crumbs from the previous other products you might have been working with can get onto the products that you’re preparing, and therefore they might contain gluten. Even the littlest bit might cause a reaction in someone with celiac if they’re very sensitive.
Do your research before you go out to a restaurant. Look at the nutrition facts online. Some restaurants even have gluten-free options where they’re careful of that cross-contamination. Again, if you’re cooking for someone, making sure you do your research as well to avoid gluten in the products that you serve.
Celiac disease and gluten intolerance is becoming increasingly prevalent, so you may find most restaurants or chefs are familiar with the products that you can have if you have celiac disease. Make sure that you’re talking to the chef and requesting those gluten-free foods when you are in the restaurant.
For more information and tips on how to include those gf foods in your diet, or how to eat properly, contact your local nutritionist or local registered dietitian.