Recent research conducted in the United Kingdom has found that those with celiac disease have a 27 percent higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases than those who can tolerate gluten. The study analyzed the data of over two thousand celiacs present in the UK Biobank, a large population study following around half a million English people over time.
The researchers observed an increase in cardiovascular risk in celiacs and verified that the risk of heart attacks, coronary heart disease, and the like increases as the time elapsed since diagnosis of the disease increases. The risk was found to be as high as 34 percent for those who have been celiac for over ten years. The reasons for this increased risk range from the different diet of celiacs to disease mechanisms, including a greater risk of other autoimmune diseases which can affect cardiovascular risk.
For this reason, it is important for celiacs to eliminate all gluten from their diet as there is no quantity that can be considered tolerable. The ingestion of gluten maintains a constant local inflammatory process, making celiacs more likely to experience problems related to malabsorption and the persistence of symptoms, such as polyneuropathies and headaches, recurrent miscarriages, infertility, and osteopenia.
Foods prohibited for celiacs include cereals that contain gluten such as wheat, spelt, barley, rye, oats, and products prepared with these cereals. Additionally, products breaded, floured, mixed with breadcrumbs, or thickened with flour are prohibited, along with beer made from barley and/or wheat malt.
Allowed foods for celiacs include gluten-free cereals such as rice, corn, buckwheat, and quinoa, as well as meats, eggs, milk, cheese, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. A complete list of prohibited, permitted, and risky foods can be found on the website of the Italian Celiac Association.
Overall, the research highlights the importance of a strict gluten-free diet for those with celiac disease to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.