With as many as 45% of all people in the UK suffering from food intolerances, the boom in gluten-free products on the market over the past few years is staggering. According to Coeliac UK, 1 in 100 people suffer with coeliac disease with the most common symptoms being bloating, nausea, constipation and tiredness. So what exactly is coeliac disease and what does it mean to live gluten-free?
The root of coeliac disease
Coeliac disease is a common digestive issue that results in those with the condition experiencing an adverse reaction to gluten in their diet. It’s an autoimmune condition and is not to be confused with an allergy or intolerance to gluten; instead, the body mistakes substances within gluten as being a threat to the body and therefore it attacks them, subsequently damaging the surface of the intestines. Despite plenty of research, scientists are still unclear as to what exactly causes the immune system to act in this way with certain people although a large part of it can be put down to genetics and even environment.
Diagnosing coeliac disease
Your first step if you think coeliac disease could be causing you problems is to visit your GP who will take a blood sample and test it for antibodies that are usually found in the bloodstream of coeliac sufferers. If the antibodies are found, you’ll be referred to have a biopsy, usually performed by a Gastroenterologist to confirm the coeliac diagnosis.
Treating coeliac disease
Coeliac disease can only really be treated by a gluten-free diet. By cutting gluten from your diet, you’ll allow your intestine to repair and not cause further harm whereas should you continue to eat gluten products, your body won’t have a chance to recover. Regular check-ups with your GP or a specialist is recommended after diagnosis as the disease can cause some nasty after-effects to your health and wellbeing such as brittle bones.
What can and can’t I eat?
Because coeliac disease and its symptoms are directly associated with your diet, knowing what you can and can’t eat is hugely important. Anything containing wheat starch, wheat bran, barley, rye or spelt is harmful to your body if you’re diagnosed with coeliac disease.
Naturally gluten-free foods that can be included in your diet include:
There are also plenty of alcoholic and soft drinks that don’t contain gluten too including fruit juice, cordials, cider, wine and port. Perhaps the most important things to avoid if you are diagnosed with coeliac disease are:
- Store-bought soups and sauces
How can Honest Eats help?
For many coeliac sufferers, food shopping for gluten-free food and drink can be troublesome task, especially as most online shops only store a limited number of gluten-free and coeliac friendly items.
It’s this gap in the market that Honest Eats aims to fill; with an online destination that’s easy to use, stocked full of delicious products that are suitable for coeliac disease sufferers and means you can do your whole food shop all in one place.
Sign up today to get 25% off your first Honest Eats order and you’ll also be entered into an exclusive prize draw to win a years’ worth of shopping! Happy shopping…