Coeliac or Celiac disease?
On the web the disease associated with food intolerance to gluten is called both celiac disease and coeliac disease. They are one and the same thing. For the sake of convenience I will use the Wikipedia appellation, coeliac disease.
Science has got to the stage where it can identify the genes responsible for a pre-disposition to coeliac disease. Testing for coeliac disease is only effective if someone is on a diet which includes gluten.
Symptoms and health problems caused by coeliac disease
The symptoms of coeliac disease are fatigue, chronic diarrhea, anaemia, and in children it can lead to slow rates of weight gain and delayed pubertal development. The disease can also be asymptomatic, which means there are no visible signs of the disease. This is a problem because coeliac disease does long term damage to the body. Basically, gliadin (a gluten protein) attaches itself to the villi lining of the small intestine. Antibodies then attack the villi that lines the small intestine. This results in what is known as villous atrophy.
The result is a reduced ability to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. It also causes failure to absorb enough iron which leads to anaemia. Failure to get enough vitamin D as well as calcium leads to bone problems such as osteoporosis.
Coconut cure for coeliac disease
The cure to the problem of gluten intolerance and coeliac disease is simple: a gluten free diet. This means cutting wheat, barley, spelt, semolina, durum and rye out of the diet. Suitable gluten free cereal alternatives are maize (corn), millet, sorghum, teff, rice, and wild rice. Non cereals such as amaranth, quinoa or buckwheat, and coconut flour are also free of gluten.
One of the best gluten free flours you can use is coconut flour. It is fine, white flour that has a slight sweetness and taste of coconuts. Coconut flour can be used to make cakes, sweet breads and other deserts. It can also be made into bread. As such coconut flour is an ideal substitute for wheat for those who love bread and cakes.
Health benefits of coconut flour
There are also a number of health advantages to using coconut flour. It is high in dietary fiber and high (for a type of flour) in protein. At the same time it is low in carbohydrates. This is a winning nutritional combination that helps to nourish the body while promoting weight loss.
As with coconut oil, coconut flour contains medium chain fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the body and turned to energy. This means coconut flour recipes gives energy without extra fat being put on.
In contrast to coeliac disease that prevents the body from absorbing vitamins and minerals, coconut flour is a great provider of vital vitamins C, E, B1, B6, B3 and B5. It also contains such minerals as calcium, selenium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium.
In many ways coconut flour is a great remedy for the ill-effects produced by coeliac disease or gluten intolerance. By switching to coconut flour you immediately start to address the damage done by gluten. And by doing so you do not need to give up any foods that you love – just replace the wheat flour with coconut flour!