The only treatment for coeliac disease is a life-long exclusion of gluten from the diet and a selected range of staple foods is available on prescription to aid compliance.
Historically breakfast cereals have not been included on prescription, despite being a key staple within the UK diet, and the regular consumption of wholegrain cereals has been shown to have a number of health benefits, being naturally rich in many vitamins and minerals and lower in fat than other types of breakfasts.
For coeliac patients, the lack of suitable healthy gluten free cereals has long been a problem. Many cereals on offer are highly processed, low in fibre, key nutrients and high in sugar and fail to contribute significantly to the increased nutritional needs of coeliac patients.
Now for the first time the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances has approved Gluten Free Oat Porridge on prescription, with the approval of Nairn’s Gluten Free Oat Porridge available on prescription from March 2012.
Recent studies have emphasised that the inclusion of gluten free oats can increase the nutritional profile of the diet for those with CD, as well as increasing variety of food eaten. The approval of gluten free oats on prescription now enables patients to benefit from the proven additional health benefits that oats provide.
√ 100% wholegrain – Oats can contribute to the recommended 3 servings of whole grains per day
√ Low glycemic index – Oats provide a sustained energy source to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and aid weight reduction. Beta-glucans found in oats have been shown to possess beneficial effects in diabetes supporting more even blood sugar levels through the day.
√ High in fibre – Oats provide a rich source of insoluble and soluble fibre essential for healthy digestion and of particular importance for coeliac patients who are a greater risk of certain cancers especially gastrointestinal cancers
√ Heart Friendly - oats have been proven to reduce LDL and total cholesterol, help lower high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies show that in individuals with high cholesterol (above 220 mg/dl), consuming just 3 grams of soluble oat fibre per day (an amount found in one bowl of oats) typically lowers total cholesterol by 8-23%.
√ Oats are rich in calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, and are a good source of zinc and B vitamins. Regular consumption of oats (especially when served with milk or milk alternative) may assist in the maintenance of healthy bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, the incidence of which is 50% amongst coeliac patients.