How to protect yourself
Speak to your Doctor: Do you have a family member with Celiac disease? First degree family members 15- to 25 times more likely to develop celiac disease based on their genetics, compared with individuals who do not have a first degree family member with a positive diagnosis of celiac disease.
Adopt a gluten free diet: The incomplete digestibility of gluten goes some way to explain why some individuals report improvements in general well-being after adopting a gluten-free diet. Additionally, gluten-containing cereals, particularly wheat, are a primary source of FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, and monosaccharides and polyols) which are a class of poorly absorbed short-chain carbohydrates and polyols. The reduction or complete elimination of FODMAPs associated with the gluten-free diet may also explain why some individuals presenting with irritable bowel symptoms report improvements in their condition after adopting a gluten-free diet.
Both non-celiac gluten sensitivity and celiac disease are common conditions.
If you are not sure if you are affected by gluten its good to experiment for a few weeks and see how you feel. Eliminate all gluten-containing foods from your diet and then pay close attention to your energy levels, your digestion, any aches and pains you had, your mental clarity, sleep and even your skin health.
You may not feel like you notice much change immediately but stick with it for at least two weeks to really see how you feel.
Pay close attention if you decide to reintroduce gluten to your diet to the same things and see if you notice any changes for the worse. It's sometimes easy to forget you always had a tight feeling stomach when it goes away but you often notice it when it comes back suddenly.
Foods that should be avoided on a gluten-free diet (unless they are specifically labelled as 'gluten-free') include;
- Generally, anything out of a packet is likely to contain wheat/gluten as an ingredient to help bind the other ingredients together.
The elimination of processed foods and the inclusion of whole foods is a sensible approach to take when adopting a gluten-free diet. Foods that can be consumed on a gluten-free diet include;
- Meat, poultry and seafood
- Gluten-free grains e.g. quinoa, rice, buckwheat and millet
- Healthy fats
- Herbs and spices