TODAY is National Gluten Free Awareness Day! In honor of the national holiday, here is a simple guide to celiac disease and a gluten free diet!
Gluten is a protein found in Barley, Rye, sometimes Oats, and Wheat (think of the analogy “BROW”). When flour containing gluten is kneaded with water, the gluten proteins develop cross-links and the dough becomes elastic. Gluten gives bread the stability to rise without collapsing during the baking process.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur 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. In celiac disease, consuming even a tiny fraction of gluten causes harm to the small intestine. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, their immune system responds by damaging or destroying villi—the tiny, fingerlike protrusions lining the small intestine. The villi’s job is to absorb nutrients from food through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream. Without healthy villi, the food will not be absorbed properly, putting a person at risk for becoming malnourished.
While people with celiac disease need to choose foods with care, the staples of a healthy diet are the same: plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy. Many gluten-free grain foods have typically made out of refined gluten free flours and sugars, leaving people with celiac disease with few healthy options. Nowadays, the options are endless. Gluten-free grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, and Banza pasta are available at most supermarkets.
If you suffer from celiac disease and struggle to consume a gluten free diet click here and let us know!