How to maintain good nutrition on a gluten-free diet

How to maintain good nutrition on a gluten-free diet

Author -  Healtheries Naturopathic Team

Find out which key nutrients are important while on a gluten-free diet

What is Celiac Disease and why is it necessary to avoid gluten?

Celiac Disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine, making it more difficult to absorb essential nutrients from food. The damage is caused by eating gluten, a protein found in barley, rye and wheat.

When people with Celiac Disease eat foods or use products containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the lining of the small intestine. Many nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, however if it becomes damaged, nutritional deficiencies or malnourishment can occur.

How does Celiac Disease affect my nutritional balance?

People with Celiac Disease can face many nutritional challenges. The most common nutritional deficiencies include essential fatty acids (EFAs), iron, vitamin D, vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, folic acid and zinc.

If nutrient levels are not restored or maintained every day, Celiac sufferers may be at risk of developing anemia (low iron levels) and osteoporosis (brittle bones).

Health experts recommend a multivitamin to people with celiac disease to help maintain healthy nutritional levels.

Which foods can I eat to help protect against common nutritional losses?

  • Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs): These are beneficial nutrients needed by every cell in the body. Omega 3 EFAs support healthy heart function, joint mobility, eye health and brain health. Omega 3 EFAs are found in salmon, sardines, tuna, walnuts, almonds and flaxseeds.
  • Vitamin D: Known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy immunity, heart health and mood. It also helps the body absorb calcium and plays a role in bone and teeth development. Vitamin D-rich foods include oily fish, liver, dairy products, eggs and milk.
  • Calcium: Supports bone density, healthy teeth, heart function and muscle contraction. Good sources of Calcium include tahini, dairy products, broccoli,
  • Magnesium: Supports heart function, blood pressure, nerve conduction, muscle relaxation and sleep.
  • Zinc: is an essential immune-supportive nutrient. It supports the body’s natural immune defences against infection. It also helps maintain eye health, brain function and assists wound healing.