An African Grain Joins the Gluten-Free Market for People With Celiac

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I’m Alex Villarreal with the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, from | http Teff is a common part of the diet in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa. This nutritious grain is very small. It has a mild, nutty taste. People use teff flour to make bread and other foods. Now teff is finding new uses in foods for people with celiac disease. People with celiac disease cannot process gluten. Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye and barley. Glutens can be found not just in foods but also medicines and other products.The immune system is supposed to protect the body. But celiac causes the immune system to damage the small intestine. The disease can cause stomach pains, bloating and diarrhea. It can also cause weight loss and make people feel continually hungry. It interferes with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.In the past, celiac disease was considered rare and limited mostly to people of European ancestry. The rate of reported cases was one in ten thousand people. Today, the estimate is about one in one hundred thirty-three Americans. But celiac researcher Alessio Fasano says until recent years not much was known about the disease. Dr. Fasano says studies show that the disease affects about the same percentage of the general public worldwide. That is about one percent. So it is not rare at all.Dr. Fasano directs the Center for Celiac Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He says the disease can be very mild. But more

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