Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Celiac Disease (CD) Awareness Month & Gluten Free

May is National Celiac Awareness Month, inviting a better understanding of a condition that challenges 3 million Americans. One of the toughest aspects of this disease is how misunderstood it can be. In fact, celiac disease (CD) has been called a “clinical chameleon” because it can be so difficult to diagnose.

CD is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.

Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to persons with CD. These proteins are found in ALL forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and related grains rye, barley and triticale and must be eliminated. The good news is that all fresh fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork and dairy products are naturally gluten-free. The following grains/flours are gluten-free rice, corn (maize), soy, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, montina, flax, and nut flours.

For additional information on CD, gluten and gluten-free options go here

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