Health problems associated with gluten might occur not only among grown-ups. Kids themselves are under the threat if the body is sensitive to gluten for various other reasons. Parents then have a choice to make when and if to put kids on a gluten-free diet.

Exposure to gluten itself is all around but for kids even more – in social communication, at school, and other places where parents cannot always support and warn.

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Health problems

  • Headaches
  • IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Gas and bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Skin rashes or eczema
  • Autoimmune diseases (autoimmune thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, etc.)
  • Digestion problems
  • Fatigue
  • Malnutrition
  • Nervous system issues

Some of these problems might occur even in kids, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is because of gluten. Board certified nutrition expert Chen Ben Asher suggests first to consult a specialist to do some tests and find out the underlying reason. Only after that, there might be a reason for a kid to go on a gluten-free diet. Even being on it, it is common to complain about digestive and intestinal issues. The main reason for that is “perpetual hidden gluten exposure and pre-existing damage to the intestine, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas from years of prior gluten exposure.”[1] Kids might need additional supplements like digestive enzymes that can help the body to receive nutrients. For young people, it is of particular importance to avoid vitamin and mineral deficiency as it not only slows the healing process but intervenes with the whole body and ability to develop healthily.

 

Family support

If there is a kid in the family with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and other health problems related to gluten, every family member should be aware of the gluten-free dietary requirements. This process also includes buying food and meal preparation. Gluten-free foods and flours need to be stored separately to avoid any cross contamination. For younger children, it is also important to leave the food so that only the gluten-free foods would be easily accessible.

 

Gluten-free diet basics for kids

Any parent must remember that kids usually love snacks and have some threats. There is no need to limit from that. Healthy snacks “can boost their energy and nutritional intake.”[2] Of course, it might be challenging as if you choose to prepare your gluten-free snacks, there are different things to avoid, including gluten-containing grains that can have a use in flour. It is also important to understand that gluten-free diet doesn’t automatically mean healthy especially because many pre-packed gluten-free foods have a lot of sodium, fat, calories, and added sugars. As a good food choice can also be sweet potato crunchies as they have a lot of fiber, vitamins A and C, and folate.

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There are kids who have a sensitivity to gluten protein. A gluten-free diet is a good supporter to help to maintain good health. Additionally, there should also be a lifestyle change, supplements, and other solutions to have a healthy development.

 

Reference:

[1] Gluten Shield for Kids. Accessed from: https://www.glutenfreesociety.org/product/gluten-shield-for-kids/rel=”nofollow”

[2] The 21 Best Gluten-Free Snack Recipes for Kids. Accessed from: http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/gluten-free-snacks-for-kidsrel=”nofollow”