This great guideline comes from our friends at the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America. Please visit their site for a wealth of resources on gluten intolerance diseases and more.
After the celiac patient has improved functioning of their gastrointestinal tract, they need to be evaluated for cardiovascular disease risks that effect the general population.
Heart disease is currently the #1 leading cause of death for both men and women in this country. Sometimes after the celiac patient has healed their intestines, they have been consuming many gluten-free products that are easy on their gut, but still loaded with excessive calories, fat, salt and sugar. This can contribute to a weight gain and additional risk factors like high cholesterol and blood pressure that ultimately lead to heart disease.
Applying a Heart Healthy Diet to a Gluten Free Lifestyle
The type and amount is key when it comes to fat intake. Saturated and trans fats raise blood cholesterol and must be limited. Saturated fat is solid at room temperature and found mostly in meat, poultry with skin, whole milk, high fat dairy products, and even coconut milk.
Trans fat is found in many processed foods such as crackers, cookies, stick margarine and shortening. The best fats to use are unsaturated (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). These are liquid at room temperature and include foods such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocado, and fatty fish (salmon, herring, trout).
Provides many excessive and empty calories that can contribute to weight gain, thus putting people at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Keep sugar intake to a minimum. Try fruit and more natural sugars than candy and desserts.
Be aware that some gluten-free foods as well as non GF foods are packed with extra salt to satisfy our tastes and preserve the product. Most Americans get far more sodium than the body requires. This can highten blood pressure levels and lead to further complications with heart disease.
Focus on soluble fiber. This forms a substance in the intestines helping to block cholesterol absorption. Dietary fiber also bind with cholesterol allowing it to be excreted from the body.
Good gluten-free fiber sources include fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
Plant stanols and sterols can be used to decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by inhibiting cholesterol absorption from the digestive tract. Products with added plant stanols and sterols are now commercially available and often appropriate for the GF lifestyle. However, be sure to check the label as with all foods not necessarily labeled as “gluten-free".
Article Courtesy: Dr. Stephen Wangen
Image thanks to flickr via creativecommons.org
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