What is Gluten and Coeliac Disease?
Most of us are familiar with ‘gluten’ and ‘gluten free diets’, and some may have even heard of coeliac disease, but what actually IS gluten, what does it do to people who are coeliac, and how can dietary requirements be catered to for these individuals? Gluten refers to the proteins that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. It is what maintains the shape and structure of these grains, like a glue holding it all together. Coeliac disease is an immune disease in which there is an abnormal reaction to gluten. This reaction causes damage to the tiny, finger-like projections called villi which line our small intestine and absorb nutrients. When this occurs, it is known as villous atrophy, and it reduces the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.
The Struggle to Find Alternatives
Grocery shopping for coeliac and gluten intolerant people can be extremely difficult and overwhelming. You may feel like the list of foods you cannot eat is never ending, but there are some key things to look out for in the search for alternative foods. A safe and easy way to find suitable products is to look for the Coeliac Australia Endorsement logo. This logo reassures consumers that a product has been reviewed by Coeliac Australia and approved as meeting specific criteria, deeming it safe for gluten free diets. The Lupin Co. prides itself in creating delicious, nutritious products with an array of positive health benefits that can be accessed by all, including those with gluten allergies! Australian sweet lupin products are an excellent alternative to glutinous grains, with their low glycaemic index, high protein, and high fibre. The Coeliac Australia Endorsement logo can be found on all The Lupin Co. products, making them a safe, easy option for people struggling to find gluten free alternatives.
Nutrient Deficiencies and Where Lupins Fit In
Coeliac patients following long term gluten free diets are prone to deficiencies in key nutrients. It is common to see deficiencies in essential micronutrients such as iron and zinc. Untreated deficiencies of key micronutrients can contribute to neurological complications, mental health issues, and bone health issues. Because coeliac and gluten intolerant people must remove all gluten-containing cereals and grains from their diet, this usually results in low carbohydrate intakes which often coincides with lower fibre intakes. Lower intakes of fibre are linked to constipation while higher fibre intakes are believed to improve inflammation and abdominal pains associated with coeliac disease.
Making sure we get enough fibre in our diets is crucial for our gut health and reducing our risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. The adequate intake of fibre is set at 25g/day for women and 30g/day for men. Australian sweet lupins are naturally gluten free, and regular wheat flour can be replaced with lupin flour in many baked goods from bread to biscuits! The Lupin Co. lupin flour is perfect for gluten free recipes if you’re a fan of cooking, or, if you like something easier, The Lupin Co. protein pasta spirals cook in under 3 minutes! With Australian sweet lupins high fibre content (34% – that’s almost twice as much fibre as chickpeas!), they are an excellent gluten free alternative that can prevent some of the previously mentioned issues associated with low fibre intakes often experienced by those following a gluten free diet, due to their limited grain and cereal options.
Inadequate iron intake can lead to deficiencies of various degrees from low iron to early iron deficiency, to iron-deficiency anaemia. For women aged 19-50 the recommended daily intake for iron is 18mg/day and 8mg/day for women over 50. For men the recommended daily intake is 8mg/day. Australian sweet lupin contains 3mg of iron per 100g. Although the type of iron found in plant sources is not absorbed as easily as the iron found in animal sources, iron absorption is enhanced when the two kinds are consumed together, and even further enhanced when consumed alongside sources of vitamin C. The Lupin Co. Super Lupin Crumbing Mix is an excellent gluten free option for crumbing fish, chicken, and red meat and, a simple, easy, gluten free way of combining plant and animal sources of iron! Even better if you can add a serve of vitamin C-rich vegetables such as broccoli and capsicum to your delicious, nutritious meal.
Zinc is a mineral used in various important bodily functions. This includes our immune system, wound healing, blood clotting, thyroid function, and supporting growth and development throughout pregnancy, childhood, and adolescence. The recommended daily intake of zinc is 14mg/day for men, and 8mg/day for women.
Australian sweet lupins contain approximately 24-45mg of zinc per kg of dry matter. The Lupin Co. Lupinola High Protein Cereal contains 26% lupin flakes and is an excellent option for those wanting more Australian sweet lupin in their diet. This low carb, high protein, high fibre, nutrient rich cereal also combines lupin flakes with quinoa which is another great source of zinc. Breakfast cereals are usually avoided by gluten free folk as they often contain glutinous grains as their main ingredients, however the Lupin co. Lupinola is a perfectly safe option and an excellent solution for ensuring your daily fibre and grain alternative needs are met, while boosting your zinc intake!
Gluten free options are becoming more and more accessible which is great news for coeliac and gluten intolerant people! The variety of alternatives is making it easier to fill our diets with all the nutrients we need which is such good news, especially for people with food allergies and intolerances who often miss out on important micronutrients. The Lupin Co. have a range of sweet and savoury products from pasta to protein cookies, all of which are gluten free, so our coeliac folk don’t miss out. Click here to browse The Lupin Co. products or here to see some of their amazing, nutrient rich recipes!