Does your stomach act irritated almost after an hour of consuming anything that has any dairy ingredient in it? You have to stay away from ice creams and hot cocoa even though that’s your favorite food? This condition is a food allergy known as lactose intolerance. Living with lactose intolerance is quite tough and requires patience. However, there are lots of alternatives to dairy products available. Let’s read more about them and find out easy ways tackle lactose intolerance.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance in the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found primarily in dairy products. An enzyme known as lactase found in small intestine helps in breaking down of lactose. People who suffer from lactose intolerance are unable to produce the required amount of lactase which due which the undigested lactose accumulates in the bowel, causing stomach cramps, gas and bloating.
What causes lactose intolerance?
- With age the body’s ability of producing lactase is reduced which can lead to lactose intolerance.
- Some strong medications interfere with the intestinal abilities to produce enzymes which can cause temporary lactose intolerance.
- People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease can face trouble in digesting lactose.
- Temporary lactose intolerance can also be caused after a bout of infectious diarrhea.
Living with lactose intolerance
- Most people who suffer from lactose intolerance are able to consume dairy products in small quantities. The trick is to consume small portions of dairy products in combination with other non dairy products.
- Dairy products are the best known source of calcium. People with lactose intolerance must not eliminate dairy products altogether.
- Cheese and yogurt are much easier to digest than other dairy products. Having flavored yogurt for dessert or adding pieces of cheese to salads or sandwich. Cheddar cheese has low lactose content.
- Lactose free milk is also available in the markets which is a good way to make up for the body’s calcium needs.
- People with severe lactose intolerance need to avoid all dairy products. Hence, it is essential for them to add other good sources of calcium in their diet. Calcium rich foods include broccoli, beans, soy milk and tofu.
- A good way to keep a track of your lactose intolerance is by keeping a food dairy. That way you will know exactly what you ate before you had those stomach cramps last time.
- Drink juices that are fortified with calcium.
- You must check the labels of packed foods before purchasing them. Some of the packed foods such as bread, salad dressings, cakes and cookies have lactose added to them. Be cautious of some words that imply the food has lactose in it like butter, cheese, cream, dried milk, milk solids or milk powder.
- Some of the day today foods require milk to be added to them such as coffee, mashed potatoes, cakes, cookies, ice creams and much more. Substitute milk with soymilk, almond milk or rice milk while making these foods. Initially the taste may not be so tempting, but once you get used to it all will all be the same.
- Buttermilk and acidophilus milk, though soured, can cause stomach distress in some lactose intolerants just like milk. Hence it is best to have them in small quantities till you are sure that your stomach is capable of digesting it.
Just keep these simple tips in mind and you would not even notice that you are allergic to milk products most of the time.