What is coeliac disease?
When people with coeliac disease eat gluten, their immune system attacks their own tissues. This means their body is unable to effectively absorb nutrients and it damages the lining of their gut.
Coeliac disease is not food intolerance or an allergy but an autoimmune disease.
Some people with coeliac disease also suffer from a skin complaint known as dermatitis herpetiformis. Symptoms include blisters or bumps on areas including the forearms, the knees and the buttocks.
How can it be treated?
If you have coeliac disease and/or dermatitis herpetiformis you must avoid gluten altogether.
Sticking to a gluten-free diet food list is the only way to treat coeliac disease.
But the coeliac food list is not as restricted as you might fear! Many foods – including fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and grains - are naturally gluten free, and a whole range of favourites are now made in gluten-free form, using alternative flours and grains.
Some ingredients can be confusing because they can be made from wheat but are actually gluten free in their final form - glucose syrup, for example.
It’s also important to remember that if you read “wheat free” on a food label, it doesn't necessarily mean it's gluten free.
So what can I eat?
To help you get going, here’s our list of gluten-free foods:
Grains: Amaranth, buckwheat, chestnut, corn (maize), millet, polenta (cornmeal), quinoa, rice, sago, sorghum, soya, tapioca, teff.
Flours: All flours that are labelled gluten free.
Oats: Look for gluten-free labelling because oats are often harvested and processed with the same equipment used for wheat and can easily be contaminated.
Bread, cereals, pasta, cakes and biscuits (that are labelled gluten free).
Fats and oils.
Fruits and vegetables.
Nuts and seeds.
Drinks: Cocoa, coffee, fruit juice, ginger beer, squash, tea, water.