Breakfast is reputedly the most important meal of the day, providing essential nutrients and energy, but it can be especially difficult if you are following a gluten free diet.
The suitability of pure, uncontaminated gluten free oats for Coeliacs has been well-documented for some time, and the addition of gluten free oats can provide additional variety in the diet as well as a number of clinically proven health benefits:
√ 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
√ High in fibre –Oats provide a rich source of insoluble and soluble fibre essential for healthy digestion
√ Heart Friendly - oats have been proven to reduce cholesterol, help lower high blood pressure, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
√ 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 help in the maintenance of healthy bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
Oats do not contain gluten but a similar protein to gluten called avenins. Current research and clinical studies suggests that pure oats are safe for the majority of people with coeliac disease and are tolerated without signs of intestinal inflammation. However a major concern is the contamination of oats with wheat, rye or barley and for that reason only certified gluten free oats should be included in a coeliac diet.
It is recommended that coeliac patients avoid all oats in the first six months to a year after they have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. This will allow time to become symptom-free and achieve a ‘baseline of wellness’ prior to introducing oats.
From then on pure, uncontaminated gluten free oats can be re-introduced into the diet, but these should be introduced gradually so that any symptoms can be monitored. For example, you could try including a bowl of porridge one day, followed by an oat free day to check for any symptoms. As oats are a rich source of soluble fibre it is also important to drink sufficient fluids throughout the day. If oats appear to be tolerated they can be tried again and the quantity could be increased slightly or used in a different form such as gluten free muesli or added to gluten free bread, see our gluten free recipes for ideas on ways to cook with oats.
Including pure, gluten free oats should be considered on an individual patient basis. It is recommended that symptoms be monitored with coeliac serology by a health care practitioner to ensure suitability.
Coeliac disease (CD) is an autoimmune disorder triggered by ingestion of gluten, a major protein in wheat, or of related proteins in other grains like barley and rye. Management of CD is through the adoption of a gluten free diet together with measures to improve digestion, reduce gut permeability, support the gut mucosa and ensure optimum nutrition with nutritional supplementation as necessary. For this reason it is important that you seek guidance from your health care practitioner, dietician or nutritionist to design a programme to support your overall health and nutritional status.
After 6 months to a year following diagnosis depending on your signs and symptoms and antibody serology you may wish to consider introducing certified gluten free oats into your diet. It is important you seek the guidance of your health care practitioner, dietician or nutritionist who can monitor you carefully to see if they can be tolerated.
Gluten Free oats offer a nutritious addition to your diet and enable you to enjoy greater variety in meals. Oats provide a number of key health benefits for patients with CD. Being a wholegrain they are rich in soluble fibre which is often lacking in gluten free diets. Importantly they have a low glycemic index which means they release glucose slowly into the blood stream making them useful for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and sustaining energy. Being slow releasing oats can help you feel fuller for longer, avoiding energy dips which can lead to hunger pangs. As such they can play an important role in appetite management and maintaining a healthy weight. Being rich in soluble fibre they have also been shown to be beneficial for cardiovascular health and particular in lowering high LDL cholesterol. Oats also provide a wealth of key nutrients, vitamins and phytochemicals including selenium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc and B vitamins. For further details on the health benefits of oats see ‘Benefits of oats’.
There’s more to a healthy diet than simply eating gluten free products. Many prepared gluten free foods can be high in sugar, salt and low in nutrients and fibre. For this reason we suggest you choose foods which are nutrient rich focusing on plenty of colourful vegetables, fruits and plant foods together with lean animal protein, fish, healthy fats, some dairy or dairy alternatives and low glycemic index carbohydrates including gluten free oats as well as grains and seeds like quinoa, wholegrain rice, millet and buckwheat. In addition ensure you drink adequate water through the day.
To help you plan a healthy diet we have put together some nutritious options for each meal including healthy snacks to help stabilise blood sugar levels and keep you feeling energised through the day.
When you begin to introduce oats into your diet we suggest starting with one serving a day. If tolerated consider including an additional serving either as a snack or another meal. Choose from the breakfast, lunch and dinner options below and aim to include 2 snacks a day.
Nairn’s gluten free porridge oats (1 sachet or 3tbsp dry oats) made with milk or a fortified milk alternative. Top with 1tbsp ground flaxseed, 1tbsp mixed seeds a handful of fresh berries.
2 free range egg omelette with selection of vegetables e.g. mushrooms, tomatoes or leftover cooked vegetables
Homemade Creamy Oat and Strawberry Smoothie. 1 boiled egg and 1 slice GF Oat Seed Bread
Bowl of fresh fruit with 1 small pot of natural yogurt or soy yogurt and 2tbsp mixed seeds
Gluten Free Oat Blinis with fresh berries and natural yogurt
1 Gluten Free Oat Waffle served with slices of fruit and yogurt
Chestnut & Wild Mushroom Soup with 1 slice GF Oat Seed Bread or 2 rice cakes
100g poached salmon fillet served with a large mixed salad with an olive oil and balsamic dressing
Sweet chilli scrambled eggs with a mixed salad
Roasted pumpkin and chickpea spread with 2 gluten free oat cakes or rice cakes and a large mixed salad
Baked sweet potato with low fat cottage cheese or hummus and steamed vegetables
Chilli Crab Cakes served with stir fried or steamed vegetables
Roasted Tomato and Herb Oat Quiche served with mixed salad
Baked Trout or sea bass with lemon and herbs and roasted vegetables
Coconut and Oat Crusted Salmon Nuggets with salad and steamed vegetables
Vegetable Oat Pizza Slice served with mixed salad
Banana Pecan Muffin
1 piece of fruit and handful of nuts
Summer Berry Oat and Nut Slice
1 Superfood Oat Ball
2 gluten free oat cakes served with healthy spread (see recipes for ideas)
Oat, Chocolate and Cranberry Brownie