Foods rich in protein for celiac people

Foods rich in protein for celiac people

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.

Therefore, when people suffer celiac disease take gluten, they will experience an allergic reaction. This results in the inflammation of the small bowel, as well as symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation and abdominal distension. Gluten is a group of small proteins present in cereals (wheat, barley, oats, rye, etc).

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.

Healthy and unhealthy villi

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.

Celiac people who do not follow a restrictive diet can eat fish, meat, eggs and dairy products. Thus, they will obtain all the nutrients they need for the protein synthesis and all the related functions. It should be enough to leave aside all those cereals that have gluten and focus on others to replace them.

Dish of raw meat, garlic and bay


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).

Said elements contribute to improving our health by reducing the inflammation, supporting the cardiovascular system and improving the cognition.

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.

Boiled egg

Dairy Products

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.

Protein Supplements

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.

Another type would be Casein, the slow absorption protein, which is ideal if we are going to spend a long time without eating. For example, you can use before going to sleep.

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.

Then, if you do not want to take protein supplements, where can vegan celiac people obtain protein from? These products are the answer to that question:

Spoonful of lentils


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.
A curious case is that of peanuts. Most people believe that they are nuts, but they actually belong to the leguminous family. Moreover, they are an excellent protein source as well as other important nutrient for celiac and vegan people. You can eat them directly or in delicious spreads.


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%).

Peas in their sheath


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%).

Vegan Protein Combination
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.

Let’s not forget that the WHO advises 0.8 grams of protein daily per kilo of body weight. Although the truth is that athletes and active people can increase this dose up to 1.8 and 2.5 grams.

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.

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About Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos
Melanie Ramos uses the HSN Blog to share the latest information and content, so that all those readers who want to learn.
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