Be it grocery stores, magazines, or articles, you must have come across the word gluten-free and gluten-free diet. For some people, eating gluten causes celiac disease, an intestinal condition indicated by the inability to absorb nutrients.
If the term is new to you, let us discuss it in detail and see what it is all about! Also, you can check out the vegan diet in details from here.
What Is Celiac Disease?
It is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. In common words, when people with celiac disease consume gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the small intestine. As a result, it can cause nutrient malabsorption and other problems. But before jumping to a conclusion, find out more about what gluten-free has to do with celiac disease below.
Causes of Celiac Disease
There are five leading causes of celiac disease: genetics, environment, age, gender, and infections.
- Genetics is the most common cause– if you have a family history of celiac disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
- Environmental factors like exposure to gluten can also trigger the disease.
- Age is another factor– Celiac disease is more common in adults than children.
- Gender also plays a role– It is more likely to occur in women than men.
- And finally, infections can cause celiac disease.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
There is a range of symptoms associated with celiac disease, from mild to severe. However, since it can turn into a severe condition, it is essential to be aware of the signs and symptoms to get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
It is one of the most common symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Celiac disease can also cause abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.
Weight loss and fatigue
Celiac disease can cause weight loss due to malnutrition from the malabsorption of nutrients. Even worse, it can also lead to anemia, which can cause fatigue and weakness.
It is alarming when your symptoms refuse to stay inside your body. For example, celiac disease can cause a skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. This rash is itchy and blistering, and it typically affects the elbows, knees, and back.
Bloating and Gas
It is another common symptom that people with celiac disease experience. Celiac disease can cause inflammation in your digestive tract, which may result in bloating and other digestive issues.
Celiac disease may damage nutrient absorption and lead to iron deficiency anemia, which is caused by a lack of healthy red blood cells. This may further lead to weakness, headache, and dizziness.
Nutritional Tips for Celiac Disease
The only cure for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet because even the smallest amount can trigger an immune system reaction. It means avoiding all foods that contain gluten and replacing them with healthier gluten-free alternatives.
However, with the proper diet and a few lifestyle changes, most people with celiac disease can lead healthy lives. A gluten-free diet means avoiding grains, pasta, cereals, and processed foods because these products contain wheat, rye, and barley. So, make sure to read the ingredient list on food packages before buying them.
If you have any of the symptoms, the first thing is to consult your doctor. Then, of course, you can follow a well-balanced diet with food options including meat, fish, fruits, veggies, dairy, beans, legumes, and nuts. Thankfully, there are plenty of gluten-free grains available these days, so it is not as hard as it might seem. Also, there are now more options for delicious gluten-free desserts.
Gluten-Free Myths & Facts
Celiac disease is a new condition
Celiac disease is an old condition, first discovered in the first century AD by Aulus Cornelius Celsus, a Roman physician. However, it was not until the 19th century that scientists began to understand the link between celiac disease and diet.
Celiac disease is caused by wheat
While wheat is the most common trigger for celiac disease, it is not the only one. Other grains such as rye, barley, and oats can also cause problems for people with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is just an allergy
Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, could lead to the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells. For example, in the case of celiac disease, the immune system attacks the small intestine, causing damage to the lining of the intestine.
Celiac Disease is the same as gluten sensitivity
Celiac disease is neither a gluten allergy nor is it the same as gluten intolerance. However, a reaction to gluten indeed plays a huge role in developing both gluten sensitivity and celiac disease. The two also share common digestive system symptoms, such as constipation, bloating, excessive gas, fatigue, and stomach pain.
But gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance has nothing to do with the body’s immune system. On the other hand, celiac disease is a full-blown autoimmune reaction to the presence of gluten in the small intestine.