Heart health for coeliacs and free from foodies

Heart health and a coeliac/free from diet

In 2014 an American study suggested that people with coeliac disease may double the risk of coronary heart disease. Already it is known that there is a higher risk of developing arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) and or heart failure. The risk of stroke was also found to be slightly higher than non-coeliacs.

Reduced bone density is also a risk with free from eaters. The exclusion of certain food groups can lead to deficiency and or malabsorption of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, to name a few.

Today we are focusing on heart health for coeliacs and free from eaters. Our heart is a muscle, and like other muscles needs exercise and a healthy diet to keep it working at an optimum level.

What can we do to improve and maintain our heart health?

  • Keep away from faddy diet regimens. A balanced, varied, moderate eating plan is all you need.
  • Keep alcohol low and don’t binge drink. No more than 14 units a week so find out what units are so you can regulate your drinking (one shot of spirit is approx. 1 unit of alcohol, 50ml of fortified wine is 1 unit of alcohol, ½ pint of 4% lager, cider or beer is 1.1 units of alcohol. 175ml of wine is 2.3 units of alcohol).
  • Exercise: have a think about what you do in the day, do you do activities that raise your heart rate? Try to do 30 mins activity every day that raises your heart beat and works that muscle.
  • Stress can have a profound effect on our physiology and that can put a huge amount of ‘stress’ on our heart. Have you ever felt your heart quicken if you are scared? Well, that is a reaction to stress on your heart beat, if it happens time and time again, this can cause problems. So working on how you deal with the stress will help keep your heart healthy. Therefore exercise strengthens your heart and having less stress enables it to function normally.

A balanced diet

  • Variety is the key so plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Brown rice, pasta (free from), polenta, quinoa.
  • Dairy alternatives such as almond milk, oat milk, rice milk, lactose-free.
  • Meat, oily fish, white fish, eggs, quark.

Remember frozen, dried and tinned fruit in juice and vegetables can be eaten as part of your five a day.

A portion is about a handful (80g or 3oz), for example:

  • Four broccoli florets.
  • One pear.
  • Three heaped tablespoons of carrots.
  • Seven to eight strawberries.


  • Replace saturated (solid fat at room temperature) fats with small amounts of mono and polyunsaturated fats (oils).
  • It's also important to remember that all fats and oils are high in calories, so even the unsaturated fats should only be used in small amounts.

Saturated fat

Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

Unsaturated fats

Unsaturated fats, which can be monounsaturated fats (for example olive oil, rapeseed oil, almonds, unsalted cashews and avocado) or polyunsaturated fats (including sunflower oil and vegetable oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds and oily fish) are a healthier choice.


Sip, Sip, Sip – Our bodies are constantly losing moisture through its activities eg. urination, sweating, eating, tear ducts so it’s vital we keep replacing what we lose and use. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Faversham ME13 & Folkestone CT19
Written by Victoria Shorland, Nutritionist, Allergy Testing, Phlebotomist, Faversham, Kent
Faversham ME13 & Folkestone CT19

Victoria runs The Therapy Clinic from Faversham and Hythe Kent, and also works with Spire Hospitals. The clinic offers integrated services:

Food intolerance testing available with instant results.
Specialist IBS/IBD clinic.
Candida/FODMAP clinic.
Consultant nutritionist clinic.
Hypnotherapy clinic.
Reiki clinic
Cancer tailored massage clinic.

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