Celiac Disease

Celiac disease, an autoimmune digestive disorder, has sparked this incredible change in the way we eat. Sufferers of the disease and those with gluten sensitivity have been cutting gluten out of their diets for years, but now, it’s time for the rest of us to give it a whirl. Gluten is out, people. What’s in, you ask? Quinoa, buckwheat, gluten-free flours, fresh produce, and lots of creativity. The shelves at local markets now boast a variety of different gluten-free choices in flour, breads, and snacks for you to try.

There are some awesome benefits for going gluten-free even if you aren’t a Celiac sufferer. But most importantly, it’s the awesome advantage of cutting out more of the scary processed foods that seem to be marching their way into pantries across the country. Living cleaner, with fresher ingredients, and a conscious choice about what we’re putting in our bodies is making a huge difference.

Maybe it’s time to ditch the gluten if you haven’t already. Check out these five warning signs of gluten intolerance. If you have already made the switch, be sure to add some of your favorite benefits of going gluten-free in the comments.

1. Antioxidants and vitamins EVERYWHERE!

Look at you, hot stuff. Skipping out on traditional forms of snacks due to your gluten-free lifestyle. Instead, you’re crunching on the antioxidant, vitamin “cocktail” of fresh fruits and veggies. Replacing some snack foods with fresher produce means getting more of those essential vitamins and minerals rather than scarfing down a bag of potato chips and keeping your immune system nice and cozy.

2. Losing that winter weight becomes easier.

Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and many packaged foods. Yet, another benefit for going gluten-free includes the possibility of losing some of that winter “insulation” that you’ve packed on at mom’s house. By avoiding some of these processed and not-so-nutritious foods, you’ll be able to replace them with yummy gluten-free options and opt for fresher ingredients, thus trimming the excess starch and some inches off that waist.

3. Digestion is a breeze.

Forgive me for bringing this up, but digestive issues can be aided with eliminating gluten from your diet. If you do suffer from Celiac disease, your small intestine isn’t absorbing the nutrients and those poor villi have been flattened. This makes digestion harder especially when ingesting gluten. You can reduce your upset tummies, cramping, gas, bloating, and diarrhea by getting off the gluten and onto some awesome alternatives.

4. Energy…restored!

Relating back to digestion, the vitamins and minerals you ingest could be lost to you when you are coupling healthy foods with gluten. It can also cause malnutrition and a lack of certain important vitamins that increase your energy levels. Anemia also causes people to feel tired, and in the case of Celiac disease, iron isn’t being absorbed and the lack of this important vitamin can also make you feel drained. Try going gluten-free and see if you still need that cup of coffee in the morning.

5. You’ll discover boundless alternatives!

Okay, so flour and a lot of other things are out, but do you know what’s in to replace it? Quinoa, rice, and ancient grains. The possibilities are endless if you’re going gluten-free!  You can try some of the gluten-free flour from your local market, swap recipes with friends, and even try out that Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagnayou’ve been eyeing.



Although most people typically think of the impact of celiac disease on the gut, it can influence many areas of the body, including the brain. Some celiac disease patients report having “brain fog”; which is characterized by mental confusion, lack of focus and poor memory recall. Recent research explored whether there is a scientific link between celiac disease and cognitive function.

A study in JAMA Neurology examined the clinical profiles of patients with celiac disease who developed cognitive decline. In the study, researchers identified thirteen Mayo Clinic patients with cognitive impairment within two years of the onset of symptoms of celiac disease; the disease was confirmed with a small-intestine biopsy.

Key Points:

  • Within two years, 10 patients experienced loss of coordination and four experienced symptoms of peripheral neuropathy.
  • Some patients had nutrient deficiencies that were treated with supplements; however their cognitive decline did not improve.
  • Once gluten was removed from the diet, however, three patients’ cognitive decline either improved or stabilized.
  • This study confirmed that a gluten-free diet may have a beneficial effect on mental health for those patients with celiac disease.

In a second study published in the journal Alimentary, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, researchers tested patients with celiac disease to assess memory, visual-spatial ability, attention and other cognitive function indicators. Participants closely followed a gluten-free diet over the 12-month study. As intestinal damage improved, so did the participants’ cognitive function. Researchers concluded that “brain fog” exists in untreated celiac disease but a strict gluten-free diet can improve symptoms.

There are a few different theories to explain the connection between celiac disease and cognitive decline, including:

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Inflammatory cytokines
  • Immune attack on the brain
  • Systemic inflammation

While research is still pending, many new scientific studies are confirming the link between celiac disease and cognitive decline. For patients diagnosed with celiac disease, following a strict gluten-free diet can play a critical role in intestinal and mental health.