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Important nutrients for coeliacs

Eating a gluten free diet means it can be difficult to achieve an adequate intake of certain nutrients.

 

Calcium

Calcium is a vital nutrient needed to ensure you have strong bones. It is important for everyone to consume their recommended allowance of calcium. However it is even more important for those with coeliac disease.

A coeliac needs an increased requirement of 1000mg/day, or 1200mg for post-menopausal women and men who are 55 and above.

Vitamin D is also needed to help absorb calcium.

- Gluten free calcium sources – dairy, tinned sardines, orange, dried figs.

- Gluten Free breads & mixes fortified with calcium e.g. Glutafin fresh bread.

 

Iron

Iron


Iron deficiency is common in undiagnosed coeliacs. Approximately 25% of adults are anaemic when first diagnosed with coeliac disease. The amount of iron needed varies by gender and age, (approx. 11mg/ day for men and 14mg/ day for women) which is same as for non-coeliacs.

There are 2 types of iron that can be obtained from the diet

- Haem iron (more readily absorbed) and is found in red meat.

- Non-haem iron (less well absorbed) and is found in green leafy veg, beans, pulses, dried fruit.



Fibre

Fibre

Fibre is essential, as a gluten free diet can be low in fibre and wholegrains due to removal of cereals from diet. Wholegrains are the seeds of cereal plants and contain all 3 parts of the grain – we should all be eating more of these!

Good sources of fibre are fruit and vegetables so aim for your 5 a day.

 

There are 2 types of fibre:

Insoluble fibre – helps to keep the bowel healthy and prevent constipation. Insoluble fibre can be found in Glutafin bread or fibre mix, beans, citrus fruit, berries, broccoli.

Soluble fibre – helps lower cholesterol levels and improve blood glucose control. Soluble fibre can be found in rice, fruit and vegetables.

Fibre helps to keep your bowels healthy by assisting food and waste products to move through the gut easily. Fibre can be found in foods such as fruits and vegetables, (especially those with skin and seeds in), dried fruit and nuts and whole grains like millet and quinoa which can be found in our Glutafin Select White Fresh Bread and Glutafin Select longer life loaves. Fibre is also found in naturally gluten free foods like jacket potatoes.

If you are having fruit make sure you achieve your 5 a day by having the correct portion size:

An apple, two small fruits such as plums, three heaped tablespoons of any type of vegetables including baked beans, and one heaped tablespoon of dried fruit is counted as 1 of your 5 a day.

 

Folic Acid

Folic acid

Folic acid maintains your overall health and is a B vitamin that works with Vitamin B12 to help the body produce red blood cells. Red blood cells carry oxygen around the body.

Sources of folic acid include; green leafy vegetables, beans and legumes and orange juice.

If you have coeliac disease and are not following a gluten free diet, you are more likely to be deficient in various nutrients including folic acid. This is because the damage to the lining of the gut is resulting in reduced absorption of nutrients from the diet. Folic acid is essential for a healthy reproductive life and whilst there are other factors involved in infertility, nutritional deficiency of certain nutrients may play a part.

The Department of Health recommends that all women take a folic acid supplement of 400 micrograms a day for the three months prior to conception and for the first three months of pregnancy to help protect against neural tube defects e.g. spina bifida.

Read about coeliac disease throughout your life here.

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