As we age, we’re often introduced to a myriad of unwelcome guests in our bodies, including diabetes, arthritis, and even food sensitivities (all of which can develop or worsen as we get older). But while these conditions may require an adjustment period to become your new normal, accommodating health concerns like food sensitivities is an important step toward comprehensive wellness.
If you have any of the following common dietary restrictions, learn more about your condition and how to eat to stay well:
Celiac Disease: an autoimmune disease resulting in a severe immune reaction to the protein gluten that is found in wheat, rye and barley. For those with celiac disease, gluten can damage the small intestine and interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. The NFCA reports that an estimated one in 141 Americans suffers from celiac disease.
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, try to only eat natural foods free of chemicals, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients, as some of these ingredients are sources of hidden gluten. You should also avoid oats, rye, barley, most flours, certain alcohols, breads, soy sauce, and imitation seafood. Celiac disease has entered the mainstream in the last several years; look for the “gluten free” label before purchasing premade foods. Celiac disease is the most severe form of gluten intolerance.
Gluten Intolerance: describes any health problem where the underlying cause is gluten, so those with celiac disease are also gluten intolerant. Gluten intolerant individuals who do not have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten and may develop gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those with celiac disease; however, their symptoms do not necessarily manifest as painfully or severely. If you are gluten intolerant, avoid all foods listed above, including flour, rye, barley, and more.
Lactose Intolerance: means your body is unable to fully digest lactose, the milk sugar in dairy products. This ailment is not typically dangerous, but may cause mild to severe discomfort if dairy products are ingested. Lactose intolerance is often caused by a deficiency of lactase, an enzyme produced by the lining of your small intestine. If you are lactose intolerant, avoid all dairy products. In order to compensate for the lost vitamins and nutrients in your new diet, be sure to stock up on broccoli, juices, oranges, pinto beans, spinach, and more.
The dietary restrictions listed above are three of the most common food sensitivities, but there are many others we may develop as we age. Be sure to keep your doctor fully informed of any and all digestive troubles you experience.
Dietary restrictions like gluten and lactose intolerance may throw a wrench in your entree rotation, and you may have to swap spaghetti and meatballs for heart-healthy grilled chicken breast. But if you’re unable to prepare your own meals, don’t worry. Sun Health Senior Living’s Arizona retirement communities can help.
When Grandview Terrace learned about the strict dietary needs of a prospective resident with celiac disease, the community’s Dining Services department embarked on a journey to become gluten-free. As a result, Grandview Terrace is the only continuing care retirement community (CCrC) in Arizona to be recognized as a GREAT (gluten-free resource Education and Awareness Training) Kitchen by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).
Since Grandview Terrace unveiled its gluten-free menu in 2012, more than 200 gluten-free meals have been served. Fortunately, if you have food allergies or sensitivities, Arizona retirement communities like Grandview Terrace will accommodate your needs.