Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes severe damage to the small intestine after the patient consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is a hereditary disease and there is no cure for celiac disease. Dr Priya Karkera, a Clinical Nutritionist says that these are the five things celiac disease patients should follow to keep the symptoms and any long-term health complications at bay.
Maintain a food diary: It is important to be very careful about your diet and what kinds of foods are causing symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea and excessive gas, among others. In fact, several seemingly harmless food items like oats, ice-cream, chewing gum and even ketchup contain gluten. By maintaining a food diary, you will know which foods you should avoid.
Eat small and frequent meals: Avoid keeping irregular meal timings and binge eating. Karkera says that instead switch to small and frequent meals to beat hunger pangs and always opt for nutritious food items. You can consult your gastroenterologist or a dietitian who specialises in treating celiac disease patients for a healthy diet.
Family members should undergo counselling: It is important to remember that consuming even very small quantities of gluten by accident can affect a celiac disease patient's health. Experts recommend that family members of the patient should be counselled by the doctor or nutritionist so they understand why a gluten-free diet is a must for someone living with celiac disease.
Read food labels thoroughly: When you're going grocery shopping, be alert and don't fall for marketing gimmicks or claims of any so called healthy or gluten-free product. Read the ingredients mentioned on the food labels carefully before investing in the product.
Look out for deficiencies: Celiac disease patients are prone to iron, vitamin B and D deficiencies. Other than this, due to severe diet restrictions, some celiac disease patients are also deficient in calcium, magnesium zinc and folate. Regularly meet your dietitian and opt for supplements with her help.