What Is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac disease (also spelled "celiac" disease) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. It is triggered by the consumption of gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
When someone with coeliac disease consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine, which can lead to inflammation and damage over time. This damage can cause a range of symptoms, including digestive issues (such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating), fatigue, weight loss, and nutritional deficiencies.
Celiac disease is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. Treatment typically involves following a strict gluten-free diet, which means avoiding all foods and products that contain wheat, barley, and rye. With proper management, most people with celiac disease can lead healthy, symptom-free lives.
Foods that are safe for people with celiac disease and are gluten-free include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Meats, fish, and poultry (unprocessed)
- Legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
- Gluten-free grains and starches (rice, corn, quinoa, potato, tapioca, etc.)
- Gluten-free bread, pasta, and other baked goods made with alternative flours (such as rice flour, almond flour, or chickpea flour)
- Snacks and desserts made with gluten-free ingredients, such as rice cakes, popcorn, gluten-free crackers, gluten-free cookies, etc.
It's important to carefully read labels and ingredient lists to ensure that products are truly gluten-free and have not been cross-contaminated with gluten during manufacturing. Additionally, people with celiac disease should avoid foods that contain ingredients such as wheat, barley, and rye, as well as any products that have been processed in facilities that also handle gluten-containing foods.