Celiac people have to face the issue of adding all the nutrients to their diet while avoiding those that have gluten. Without any doubt, things gets worse when they try to follow a diet rich in protein in order to achieve their sport objectives.
That is why, in this article, we are going to talk about the best sources of protein if you suffer celiac disease.
What is celiac disease?
Before anything, we are going to make a brief introduction explaining what is celiac disease exactly.
Unlike what we previously thought, it is an autoimmune process that can affect any body tissue, not just the digestive system.
Celiac disease affects the small bowel. This portion of the digestive system connects the stomach with the large bowel, which is made up of: duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
The small intestine has small protuberances called intestinal villi, which have specialized cells in charge of absorbing nutrients.
This is an image showing a healthy intestine and another that suffers celiac disease
Moreover, a poor or ineffective ability to absorb nutrients from food can cause other pathologies. For instance, a lack of vitamins or minerals, which can affect our health and weaken our immune system.
Foods Rich in Protein for Celiac People
Celiac people who follow a complete diet
Evidently, celiac people can eat any food as long as it does not have gluten. Therefore, they will have no issues when it comes to meeting the protein requirements of their body. As we will see next, the problem comes when, apart from suffering this disease, the person is also vegetarian or vegan.
It provides a protein content between 22-25%. Red meat (ox, beef…) have the highest fat content, specially saturated fats, when compared to white meat (chicken, turkey, rabbit…).
However, despite the bad reputation of said fats, we will be able to get a great nutrient supply with a moderate intake. For example, in terms of iron, folic acid as well as B group vitamins. White meat do not barely provide any cholesterol.
Another excellent source of protein that should be more taken into account. Specially due to the properties of fatty fish (salmon, tuna…) and its omega 3 essential fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
In addition, fish provide a good protein supply, very similar to meat, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. White fish (hake, tilapia…) are very low in fats, that is, they will not provide any omega 3. Therefore, if we want to benefit from these fatty acids, we will need to use supplementation.
They are one of the most complete foods there is. In fact, it is at the top of the sources of protein with the highest bioavailability (only after Whey). Eggs have an excellent aminogram, providing 6-8g of protein per unit on average, as well as a proper amount of fats.
Moreover, the studies have proven that there is not a direct relation between eggs and cholesterol.
Milk and products thereof such as yogurt, cheese… are a perfect protein source, except for those who are lactose intolerant. Nevertheless, there are many lactose-free milks, so eating yogurts and cheese can be suitable for these people too. The protein supply moves between a 5-25% depending on the product.
This type of products are protein sources like the ones we mentioned previously. In fact, they can help us meet the daily protein requirements of our body.
One of the most popular ones is Whey Protein Concentrate, which is a great purchase in terms of price/quality.
Celiac people who are vegetarian or vegan
The first thing we have to say is that ovo-lacto-vegetarians can get complete proteins from eggs and milk. In general, their protein content will be exactly the same as that of meat and fish.
So, the problem comes with vegans. Mainly because this type of diet completely rejects any type of product that comes from animals. If a vegan person also suffer celiac disease, they need to exclude all the cereals they cannot take due to the gluten intolerance. Consequently, the result is a very restricted diet.
Moreover, many protein supplements contain traces of gluten. This is due to the manufacturing process and cross-contamination since this ingredient is not part of the original composition of the product. Therefore, if you suffer from celiac disease and want to use supplementation, make sure that they come with a “Gluten-free” label.
Soy (35%), beans (26%), lentils (23.2%) and kidney beans (21.1%) are great examples of legumes rich in protein. Therefore, they will play a main role in the diet of any celiac person that follows a vegan diet.But it is extremely important to be careful, since they can also contain traces of gluten. This is due to the fact that farmers use the same machinery to harvest these sources as well as cereals like wheat.
Almonds (18.7%), pistachios (17.65%), cashew and walnuts (17,2%) are the nuts with the highest protein content. Moreover, they are completely gluten-free apart from providing an extra dose of energy.
Wheat, barley and rye are out because they all have gluten. However, there are some cereals that are suitable for celiac people and which have a great protein content. For instance, quinoa (9%) and amaranth (8%).
Usually, they are not a great source of protein, but they are indispensable for our diet nevertheless.
Some of the best examples are fresh peas (7%), garlic (6%) and Brussels sprouts (4%) or broccoli (3.6%).
Vegetable proteins do not have the same nutrient value as those from animals because they tend to lack some amino acids. That is why we need to combine them in order to obtain complete proteins (lentils and rice, for instance). In any case, if you want to learn more, read our article about proteins for vegans. It may help you understand this issue in a better way.
All in all, celiac people, vegan or not, can take advantage of many protein sources in order to reach their objectives.
In any case, meat, fish, eggs, milk, legumes, vegetables and nuts, as well as some cereals, are perfectly suitable for celiac people. They do not have gluten and they provide all the proteins that the body needs.
- Physical Performance and Vegan Diet
- Features of a Gluten-free diet and what are the benefits for the sport performance
- Risks of a Vegan and Vegetarian Diet
- Six main symptoms of a Gluten Intolerance
- The most complete list of Gluten-free Sport Supplements
- How to Gain Muscle with a Vegan Diet?
- High Protein Recipes for Vegans
- Proteins for Celiac People and sources of Vegan Proteins for Celiac People