An individual suffering from celiac disease is allergic to gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This disease severely damages the small intestine causing discomfort and the inability to absorb certain nutrients required for the normal functioning of the human body.
Most times, it is difficult to diagnose the condition because many people have no symptoms. However, after running multiple tests and confirming the disease, many find it difficult to recover from the damage caused by gluten. Here are a few tips you can follow to bring your life back on track with a gluten-free diet.
Tips To Recover Your Body From Gluten Damage
Many people with celiac and gluten sensitivity suffer from the lack of essential minerals and nutrients required for the body. Sometimes, people are also required to cut down on milk and other dairy products because of lactose intolerance. Follow these tips to help your body recover well from the damage caused by gluten.
1. Include B Vitamins In Your Diet
Many people with celiac disease following gluten-free diets are deficient in B vitamins like vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12 etc. But, the good news is you can still include these vitamins by adding few foods to your diet.
- Vitamin B6 helps to fight infections. Foods that contain this vitamin include chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken breast, and bananas.
- Folate is important for the growth of tissues and working of cells. This is particularly important during pregnancy to avoid birth defects. You should have more green leafy vegetables like spinach and other vegetables like beets, asparagus, lentils, etc to avoid this deficiency.
- Vitamin B12 can help your body fight fatigue. All types of meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of vitamin B12.
Sometimes, your body lacks B vitamins and along with having foods rich in these vitamins, your doctor may prescribe certain supplements that can help increase your vitamin levels at a rapid rate. Studies have also proved that extra B vitamins improve the health of celiac patients.1
2. Fight Anemia With Iron-Rich Foods
Those with celiac disease often suffer from iron deficiency leading to anemia. Anemia symptoms are easy to cope with if you eat meat. Beef and turkey are good sources of iron. Similarly, oysters and tuna also contain some amounts of iron.
However, if you are vegetarian, you may have to find plant sources rich in iron which include lentils, soybean, and tofu. When you buy soy and beans, keep an eye out for gluten-free ones as they may have traces of gluten in them, which can aggravate the disease.
3. Provide Your Body With Vitamin D
Celiac patients are more prone to vitamin D deficiencies. Unfortunately, there are very few food sources that can help combat this deficiency. Salmons, sardines, shrimp, and cod are good sources of vitamin D. If you are not lactose intolerant and can consume dairy products, you can also purchase products fortified with vitamin D. These include most milk products and gluten-free yogurt.
4. Boost Your Calcium Intake
Calcium is present in dairy products and if you are a celiac patient who is lactose intolerant, you may not be able to get enough calcium for your bones. Therefore, it is important to keep your calcium levels up with certain foods. These include green leafy vegetables like spinach, turnip greens collard greens; fish like sardines; nuts and seeds such as almonds, sesame seeds; and seaweed such as nori and kelp.
Having enough calcium in your body can help reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis — one of the major risks of celiacs.
5. Cook Your Vegetables Lightly
If you are a celiac patient, it is important to retain as many nutrients as possible from your food sources. The nutrients in vegetables are lost when they are fried or boiled for too long in water. Therefore, it is important to cook them lightly. You can lightly saute, steam, or bake the vegetables instead of frying or boiling them.
6. Increase Carnitine-Rich Foods For Children
Studies have shown that carnitine is low especially in children suffering from celiac disease.2 This may be due to malabsorption of the nutrient in their body. Carnitine plays a major role in energy production. A deficiency in this nutrient can cause fatigue. The best sources of this nutrient include meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products. For vegetarians, it may be a challenge to bring the levels of carnitine with food sources. In such cases, supplements may be prescribed by the healthcare professional.
Apart from these tips, it is important for all celiacs to keep themselves hydrated by drinking lots of water and other fluids like coconut water. Getting enough sleep and rest is equally important to help the body heal and get rid of fatigue. Most importantly, it is extremely important to stick to your gluten-free diet without cheating.
|↑1||Hallert, Claes, M. Svensson, J. Tholstrup, and Björn Hultberg. “Clinical trial: B vitamins improve health in patients with coeliac disease living on a gluten‐free diet.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 29, no. 8 (2009): 811-816.|
|↑2||Yüce, Aysel, Hülya Demir, I. N. Temizel, and Nurten Koçak. “Serum carnitine and selenium levels in children with celiac disease.” Indian journal of gastroenterology: official journal of the Indian Society of Gastroenterology 23, no. 3 (2004): 87-88.|