Around one in every 141 people has Celiac disease, a condition that causes damage to their intestines when they consume foods containing gluten. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease. It is treated by eliminating gluten from the diet.
For family caregivers to older adults with Celiac disease, determining which foods contain gluten can be difficult. Since October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month, it’s a good time to brush up on how to know which foods contain gluten.
The Big Six
The first step in determining if there is gluten in the food you buy for your aging relative is to look at the label to see if it has any of these five ingredients:
- Brewer’s yeast.
The sixth ingredient to watch for is oats. However, the oats don’t actually contain gluten. Instead, they are contaminated with gluten from other sources, such as wheat, during processing. If you see oats on the label, look for the packaging to say “gluten-free.” If it does not, avoid the product.
Reading Food Labels
Sometimes it’s not easy to tell if a product contains gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation recommends that you look for three things on labels:
Ingredient List: Read the ingredient list and look for any of the six main ingredients.
Look for “Gluten-Free”: Sometimes labels will state that the product is gluten free. To make this claim, the FDA requires the product to contain less than 20ppm. Remember, though, that when a label says “wheat free” it isn’t necessarily gluten-free.
Allergen Listing: Looking at the allergen listing can be a quick way to rule out a product since wheat is one of the allergens that must be listed. However, you should only use the allergen listing to quickly eliminate a product that contains wheat. If wheat is not listed, you’ll still need to read the ingredient list for other sources of gluten.
In the end, if you aren’t certain whether a food contains gluten or not, it’s best to avoid it.
How Home Care Can Help
Grocery shopping can be difficult for many older adults. They may have health conditions that prevent them from driving or mobility problems that make it hard to get around the store. Or, they may have trouble reading the small print on food labels. Home care can offer transportation to the grocery store. Once there, the home care provider can walk through the store with the senior, helping them to walk safely or pushing the cart. If they have trouble reading labels, the home care provider can read the label for them and help them to avoid products containing gluten.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.