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The Best Foods for a Celiac Flare

author image Stacey Phillips
Stacey Phillips is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer. She has had articles and patient information handouts published in the "Renal Nutrition Forum" and the "Journal of Renal Nutrition." She holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and a Masters degree at Central Michigan University.
The Best Foods for a Celiac Flare
Select gluten-free grains to manage celiac disease. Photo Credit CharlieAJA/iStock/Getty Images

Experiencing a celiac flare can be painful and make eating difficult. This inflammatory process affecting any part of the gastrointestinal tract can cause weight loss, abdominal pain, nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. Consult with your doctor, as flares may require medication for treatment, and if more serious, bowel rest and possible surgery. Specific diet recommendations can help with the management and control of celiac flare symptoms.

Avoidance of Gluten

As recommended by the Cleveland Clinic, a gluten-free diet is the best way to manage symptoms of celiac disease. Exclusion of dietary gluten can improve malabsorption symptoms and allow healing of your gastrointestinal tract. Wheat, wheat derivatives, barley, rye, triticale, malt and brewer's yeast should all be avoided. Instead select gluten-free pasta, noodles, crackers and snacks. Other grains and starches to replace gluten-containing foods are quinoa, rice, corn, amaranth and flax. Read labels to identify foods that are gluten-free.

Adequate Fluids

Remaining hydrated during a celiac flare can be difficult, especially if diarrhea is an issue. According to a 2013 "U.S. News and World Report" article, the ounces of water needed for daily activity can be determined by dividing your weight in half. With diarrhea, the amount needed will increase. Besides water, other liquids should be included in your diet. Moderate amounts of juice and sports drinks are additional choices to help improve your hydration.

Lactose Management

With a celiac flare causing malabsorption, a lactose-free diet may be temporarily recommended to help control gastrointestinal symptoms. Reading labels can help identify lactose-free foods. Foods to be eaten as part of a lactose-restricted diet are meat and poultry, eggs, fresh or canned fruits and vegetables, and fats such as margarine and salad dressing that are not made with milk. Consume lactose-free or soy milk in place of cow's milk. When choosing grains, ensure they have added milk or gluten. Check with your doctor or dietitian to determine if these foods can be eventually reintroduced into your diet.

Vitamin and Mineral Supplementation

Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are common with celiac disease because of malabsorption, reports the Celiac Disease Foundation. Nutrients of concern include fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B-12, vitamin D, copper and vitamin B-6. During a celiac flare, supplementation should be considered until the small intestine is able to absorb these vitamins and minerals normally. When selecting a supplement, identify ingredients -- particularly additives -- to verify it does not contain gluten.

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