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How to Choose Gluten Free Foods

2012-12-05   Views:0

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If you or someone you cook for has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may be anxious about finding gluten-free food. Even small amounts of gluten, which is found in certain grains, can trigger an immune response that damages the small intestine.

How to Choose Gluten Free Foods

If you or someone you cook for has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may be anxious about finding gluten-free food. Even small amounts of gluten, which is found in certain grains, can trigger an immune response that damages the small intestine. The damage leads to poor absorption of nutrients and resulting health problems. Learn which foods are safe and how to read labels on processed foods.

Skill level:Moderate

Instructions

1 Buy fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. In their natural form, these foods do not contain gluten. However, they may be partnered with gluten-containing grains in processed foods. Use only corn meal or gluten-free flours when breading vegetables or as needed in recipes.

2 Buy fresh or frozen meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Foods derived from animal sources do not contain gluten in their natural form. However, processed food from animal sources may contain additives derived from wheat. If you do not recognise an ingredient as safe, do not buy the product.

3 Check the ingredients list on soy or dairy products. Soy and milk do not contain gluten naturally, but processed foods made from them may include gluten-containing additives. Some milk, yoghurt and cheese also may contain such additives.

4 Buy gluten-free grains and grain products to assure you get whole grains in your diet. Rice is both nutritious and gluten-free, as is quinoa, soy and buckwheat--not actually a wheat in spite of the name. You can easily find flours, cereals and pasta made from these grains.

5 Check the ingredients list on all convenience foods for wheat, barley and rye. These grains are the most common sources of gluten. Oats contain some gluten, but are not a problem for all people with celiac disease. Other less common grains or forms of wheat, such as durum, kamut, semolina and spelt, also contain gluten.

6 Check for a warning--usually in caps--telling you the food was processed in a facility where wheat may have been even if the ingredients do not include gluten-containing grain. Even small amounts of gluten picked up during processing present a problem for people suffering from celiac disease. Unfortunately, the law does not require the warning for barley, rye, oats and other gluten-containing grains.

Tips and warnings

Keep a notepad with you when you grocery shop. If you don’t recognise an item in an ingredients list, don’t buy the product. Make a note of the product’s name and the ingredient in question, then research the ingredient online or with your doctor to learn if it’s safe to eat.

Even the smallest amount of gluten can trigger the immune response. If some family members eat gluten-containing grains, the Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation advises having a separate toaster reserved for gluten-free toast. Clean counters, pans and utensils carefully to avoid cross-contamination. Provide separate jars of peanut butter, jam and other spreads to avoid contamination with wheat crumbs.

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