Celiac disease is something most people hadn’t heard of 20 years ago, but now it seems everyone knows someone suffering from it. Managing this condition is key, since it can’t be cured. The best diet for a celiac includes limiting gluten, of course, but could there be more to it than that?
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Let’s start with how you know you have it. Celiac disease causes a myriad of symptoms including
- joint pain
- and depression
Celiac disease is on the rise and estimated to affect about 1 % of the population, yet as many as 83% of people are undiagnosed.
So What Is It Exactly?
It’s an autoimmune disorder that sets off a response in your body when you eat gluten. The response is so strong it actually damages your small intestine.
Your small intestine is where you absorb food’s nutrients, so when it is damaged, you can become malnourished. The damage can also affect other organs. It can also cause skin blisters.
However, to be clear, it is not an allergy to wheat. That is a very rare condition, which about .04% of the population.
Causes of Celiac Disease
There are lots of theories about what causes celiac disease. Emerging research has confirmed that the age of gluten introduction to children does not affect whether or not children develop the disease. Celiac is not age-dependent: if you are predisposed, it can activate at any point in your life.
Most people who have celiac are born with the genes which trigger it: DR3, DQ2 or DQ8. However, a limited number of people also seem to have the disease triggered when they have a very stressful situation, either physically, emotionally or hormonally. Additionally, catching a virus can trigger the disease.
New research conducted at McMaster University in Hamilton Ontario is shedding light on why this disease is becoming increasingly common. Researchers found that an imbalance in gut microflora (too much bad bacteria and not enough good bacteria) may be to blame. This evidence provides yet another example of the valuable role that probiotics play in health promotion and disease prevention. Read the study here.
Taking Action: The Best Diet For Celiac
There are a few obvious changes you need to make. Avoid or eliminate:
- to a lesser extent, oats
Some people also recommend avoiding spelt too.
So that’s what not to eat. But given the research around gut health, you should look to add:
- Pickles, and pickled products
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut
- Probiotics, with at least 10 billion cells at time of manufacture so that you get as many as possible when you consume them.
For more on how to eat gut-friendly foods, check out this article probiotiocs and weight loss.
Life-Changing Gluten-Free Pancake Recipe
If you’ve gone without flour for as long as I have, you’ve probably tried all kinds of ‘pretty good’ or ‘okay’ variations on gluten-free pancakes. But the day femMED’s Kelly Straus told me about a recipe so good even her kids loved it, I had to try it.
Enter Mellissa Sevigny, author of the low-carb gluten-free blog “I Breathe, I’m Hungry”. Her recipe for gluten-free pancakes takes about four minutes to make and can easily be made sweet or savoury. Check it out here.
Do you have any great resources for people with celiac disease? Let us know in the comments below!