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menús para celíacos

Menus for coeliacs: quick and healthy ideas

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Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes severe damage to the lining of the small intestine. Gluten is the protein that triggers its symptoms and is found in wheat, barley, spelt and rye.

There is currently no cure for coeliac condition, so coeliac menus are the main therapeutic tool for eliminating symptoms. A strict gluten-free diet and well-planned coeliac menus must be followed to allow the body to recover.

In this article we tell you about the benefits of the gluten-free diet for coeliac condition, list the foods you should eat and avoid, as well as a practical gluten-free menu and useful tips.

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What is the gluten-free diet for coeliacs?

A gluten-free diet is a diet that should be followed by anyone diagnosed with coeliac disease, as well as by those who wish to do so voluntarily to alleviate intestinal discomfort and improve digestion.

Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found in several grains, such as wheat, barley, rye, spelt and kamut. When a person with coeliac disease ingests gluten, it triggers an autoimmune response in their body that damages the lining of the small intestine.

In these cases, the small intestine will not be able to absorb nutrients from food properly, resulting in symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, diarrhoea, or malnutrition.

How can I avoid this damage? By following a gluten-free diet based on coeliac-friendly menus.

menus for coeliacs

Benefits of the gluten-free diet

  1. Improved nutrient absorption

Nutritional deficiencies are common in people with coeliac disease due to malabsorption in the small intestine because it is damaged.

The most common deficiencies are: iron, calcium, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B12, niacin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin A, D, E and K.

An example of this is unexplained iron deficiency anaemia, one of the most common signs in adults with coeliac disease.

To make up for these possible nutritional deficiencies, the gluten-free diet and adequate, quality supplementation are the best allies, but remember: if the intestines are still damaged and cannot absorb nutrients properly, the deficiencies will continue or take longer to correct.

  1. May reduce the risk of developing cancer

Coeliac disease is associated with a three-fold increased risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer that occurs in the lymphatic system.

Various studies studies show that early diagnosis of coeliac disease and following a gluten-free diet can reduce this risk.

  1. Reduces the risk of osteoporosis

Up to 75% of people with untreated coeliac disease have lower bone density and an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

This is mainly due to malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D, as well as increased inflammation that interferes with the bone formation process.

Diagnosing coeliac disease early and starting a gluten-free diet can help stop bone loss and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.

  1. Reduces the symptoms of coeliac disease

Most people with coeliac disease often have bothersome symptoms such as indigestion, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, headache or fatigue. Following a gluten-free diet for at least one year improves these symptoms in more than 90% of people with coeliac disease, which significantly improves their quality of life.

The intestinal symptom that improves first is diarrhoea, which is relieved in just 2-3 days with a gluten-free diet. All other symptoms require about a month to see significant improvements in abdominal pain and bloating or bowel movements.

  1. Prevents damage to the small intestine

Eating foods containing gluten triggers an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine (through which we absorb nutrients).

Avoiding gluten prevents this process and the small intestine can heal and function normally again. This process takes time, so it is recommended to start a gluten-free diet as soon as possible.

A study showed that up to 95% of children with coeliac disease who followed a gluten-free diet with coeliac-friendly menus for two years no longer showed signs of intestinal damage.

Although recovery is usually slower in adults, 34-65% achieve intestinal healing within two years. This figure increases to 66-90% after 5 years or more on a gluten-free diet.

menus for coeliacs

Foods permitted for coeliacs

There are many naturally gluten-free and very healthy foods to enjoy in the coeliac diet:

  • Animal protein: Beef, chicken, dairy products preferably sheep and goat (do not overdo it), eggs, seafood, turkey and fish.
  • Healthy fats and oils: avocado, coconut oil, olives, extra virgin olive oil and ghee.
  • Fruit and vegetables.
  • Gluten-free whole grains and pseudocereals: Amaranth, buckwheat, organic maize, millet, quinoa, rice, sorghum, teff and wild rice.
  • Herbs and spices: all fresh and dried herbs and spices are naturally gluten-free and can be enjoyed in abundance.
  • Legumes: red lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans.
  • Nuts and seeds: any kind, including almonds, cashews, chia, flaxseed, pecans, macadamia nuts, pine nuts and regular nuts (roasted or natural hydrated).

Foods to avoid if you have coeliac condition

Foods that naturally contain gluten:

  • Wheat
  • Spelt
  • Kamut
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Triticale (cross between wheat and rye)
  • Semolina
  • Wheat bran
  • Wheat germ

Products that are often made with gluten:

  • Breakfast and baked goods: Bagels, biscuits, bread, cornbread, pancakes, croissants, donuts, flatbread, flour tortillas or wraps, muffins or muffins, pita bread, muffins and waffles.
  • Desserts: Brownies, biscuits, biscuits, cakes, pie crusts and some sweets.
  • Pasta: Chow mein, couscous, dumplings, egg noodles, gnocchi, ramen noodles, ravioli, soba noodles, udon noodles and wheat noodles.
  • Snacks: crackers, crackers and pretzels.
  • Some beverages: Beer and other malted beverages.
  • Other: breadcrumbs, croutons, wheat flour, barley flour, rye flour, gravy, malt flavour/extract, panko, flour-thickened sauces, soy sauce, stuffing, and anything coated in flour, such as chicken fillets or tempura.

There are also other products whose manufacture is often contaminated with products that do contain gluten, when they are handled in factories. To avoid these, get into the habit of looking at the ingredient labels on the food you are going to buy.

Tip: Always choose real food, rather than “products”.

menus for coeliacs

Menus for coeliacs

Internal linking to an article currently published on the blog in relation to certain foods or ingredients.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Hard boiled eggs with fresh fruit and almonds.
  • Lunch: Buckwheat wrap with lettuce, tomato, organic turkey meat and guacamole.
  • Dinner: Sautéed mushrooms with vegetable cream and cubes of fresh goat’s cheese.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: natural goat kefir with raspberries, cinnamon, chia seeds and nuts.
  • Lunch: Brown rice with grilled fresh tuna cubes and assorted vegetables.
  • Dinner: Omelette with peas and salmon + salad of tomato, avocado and spring onion.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: Buckwheat toast with avocado, turkey minimum 90% meat and extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.
  • Meal: Aubergines stuffed with beef-chicken, onion and aubergine.
  • Dinner: Hake loin, grilled vegetables and boiled potato seasoned with EVOO and unrefined sea salt.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Oatcakes with blueberries, blackberries and cinnamon.
  • Meal: Lentil pasta with minced chicken, tomato, mushrooms and onion, seasoned with oregano and basil.
  • Dinner: Courgette, green asparagus and fresh grilled cheese with salmon.

Friday

  • Breakfast: gluten-free oat porridge with almond or cashew drink, coconut, almonds and papaya.
  • Meal: Baked sea bass with baked potatoes + Quinoa salad with vegetables and gluten-free soy sauce.
  • Dinner: Pizza made with gluten-free dough.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Combination plate with hard-boiled egg, cucumber with hummus and berries. 
  • Lunch: Baked salmon with steamed vegetables and brown rice.
  • Dinner: Cold potato salad with tuna, peas, hard-boiled egg and carrot dressed with EVOO and unrefined sea salt + vegetable cream.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Mushroom, pepper and onion omelette + apple with cinnamon.
  • Lunch: Avocados stuffed with tuna with a side of sweet peas and mixed nuts.
  • Dinner: Potato omelette made with eggs, leeks, onion, courgette and sheep’s cheese + mild gazpacho.

*Meals may be accompanied by a salad. *Remember: always as an accompaniment, not as a main course. Preferably at lunchtime, not in the evening.

menus for coeliacs

Useful tips for possible difficulties

Following a gluten-free diet is simple and very healthy. However, there are some common mistakes to avoid:

Higher prices

This is one of the biggest myths: gluten-free foods are more expensive. Let us explain. Gluten-free products such as bread, baked goods, crackers and pasta can be more expensive than traditional wheat-based products. However, these gluten-free alternatives are not necessarily healthier, as their main ingredients always include different types of starches and the like that do not provide any nutritional benefit.

What’s the good part? These ‘special’ items are not necessary in the celiac disease diet, or in any diet. You can get all the nutrients you need by eating real, less expensive and naturally gluten-free foods. 

Tip: If you want a healthy bread, opt for a buckwheat and seed bread, don’t buy one of the more commercial brands made of low-quality flours and starches.

Nutrient deficiency

Products made from refined wheat flour, such as bread, crackers and pasta, are often fortified with B vitamins, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin and folic acid, as they lack many nutrients.

However, healthy gluten-free versions are not necessary, as you can use other whole-grain and whole-grain gluten-free cereals instead.

You should keep in mind that whole wheat, barley and rye are good sources of fibre, so it is important to consume other fibre-rich foods, such as gluten-free whole grain oats, buckwheat, pulses, etc., when gluten should be avoided.

Tip: In general, many people have some degree of intestinal permeability (resulting in loss or incomplete absorption of nutrients) due to today’s sedentary lifestyle and poor diet. This is also true for people with coeliac disease. It is therefore very interesting to consider an extra supply of trace elements that are essential for well-being, such as organic silicon, which is included as the main base in supplements such as Silicium G7 Siliplant, providing benefits for joint mobility, skin, hair and general well-being.  

menus for coeliacs

Menus for coeliacs: Say goodbye to gluten! Say goodbye to intestinal discomfort!

If you have coeliac condition and consume even small amounts of gluten, you will continue to damage your intestines, regardless of the absence of symptoms.

As we have seen, avoiding gluten is essential for people with coeliac disease, as it reduces the symptoms of the condition, allows the gut to heal, improves nutrient absorption and reduces the risk of infertility problems and osteoporosis, among others.

Avoid wheat, barley, rye and any products made from these grains, and focus on naturally gluten-free foods and grains.

We know that planning a gluten-free diet can be complex at first, so we’ve put together gluten-free menus to help you plan ahead and feel better while enjoying new foods and recipes.

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