A balanced diet
Follow these tips and you can easily have a healthy, balanced gluten-free diet:
- Eat regular meals based on starchy carbohydrate such as rice, potatoes, yams, gluten-free grains such as millet, quinoa and teff, gluten-free breads and gluten-free pasta. These foods are a good source of energy and can also provide fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.
- Aim to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day. Fruit and vegetables are naturally gluten-free.
- Reduce the amount of fat in your diet, especially saturated fat which is found in animal products including butter, fatty cuts of meat and full fat dairy foods.
- Reduce sugar and sugary foods. Sugar is often added to sweets, biscuits, cakes and full sugar fizzy drinks.
- Eat plenty of fibre. Good gluten-free sources include brown rice, high fibre/multigrain gluten-free breads, pulses (peas, beans and lentils), nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables, and potatoes in their skins.
- Cut down on salt. Foods particularly high in salt include processed foods, ready meals and snacks. Avoid adding salt to meals and try using herbs and spices to add flavour instead.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Try to have several days a week where you don’t drink any alcohol and avoid binge drinking. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy then it is recommended that you do not drink alcohol at all. More information on alcohol.
Vitamin and mineral supplements
When you are first diagnosed with coeliac disease, the lining of your gut will be damaged because of eating gluten. This can mean that you don’t absorb nutrients from food as well, and can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as iron deficiency anaemia.
Treatment with the gluten-free diet will heal your gut and improve the absorption of nutrients from food. Some people might need specific vitamin supplements. It is best for you to speak to your GP for individual advice. Your GP can prescribe a supplement and monitor any nutritional deficiencies.
Following a healthy balanced diet will help you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
Research looking at whether people with coeliac disease get enough calcium, iron and B vitamins in their gluten-free diet found that specific nutritional deficiencies are not a big problem for people with coeliac disease who are following a strict gluten-free diet.
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