There are various intolerances in existence like gluten, lactose, yeast, and fructose intolerance.
Many of us suffer from some form of these intolerances, but very few of us are aware of the intolerance to specific foods and carry on as normal.
What is lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products. Though it is common in adults, it is not dangerous.
The symptoms of lactose intolerance often occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating or drinking milk products. Abdominal bloating & cramps, diarrhea, nausea are common symptoms of Lactose intolerance.
Most people with lactose intolerance can tolerate some amount of lactose in the diet. Therefore, decreasing the dairy products from the diet, usually improves the symptoms.
Some dairy products that are easier to digest:
- Butter milk, yogurt, aged & hard cheese (are lower in lactose than milk)
- Milk shakes
- Lactose – free milk /products
Milk and milk products are an easy source of calcium and other nutrients. Not having milk in the diet, can lead to a shortage of Calcium, Vitamin-D, Riboflavin and protein.
Calcium is essential for the growth and repair of bones at all ages. A shortage of calcium intake in children and adults may lead to fragile bones that can easily fracture, a condition called osteoporosis, later in life.
Calcium is absorbed and used in the body only when enough vitamin-D is present. Egg, liver and yogurt are some of the good sources of Vitamin-D. Regular exposure to sunlight helps the body to naturally absorb Vitamin-D.
Non dairy sources of calcium
Those who are intolerance to lactose, should find new ways to get calcium into their diet. Leafy greens, oysters, sardines, salmon, shrimp, broccoli, bok choy, almonds, sesame seeds are some of the non dairy choices that are rich in calcium.
Fortified milks such as rice, soy and almond milk are other better alternatives.
Probiotics, the active good bacterial culture, can be a wise investment especially for those who have been on frequent antibiotics or under significant stress. They help to restore the natural gut flora, the main key in improving the absorption of nutrients in the bowel and blocking the toxins too!
Some of those flora, the term dairymen use to refer the bacteria cultures, aids in digestion.
Yogurt made with active bacterial cultures, is a good source of calcium for those who cannot tolerate lactose. Yogurt has low lactose content as the process of fermentation breaks down lactose. The bacterial cultures converts lactose to lactic acid making yogurt a better choice for lactose intolerants.
We should keep in mind that frozen yogurt does not contain live bacterial cultures and so it may not be able to protect the colon from harmful pathogens.
Why read food labels?
Milk and milk products are often added to processed foods. Checking the ingredients on food labels is helpful in finding possible sources of lactose in products. For example; if milk, lactose, whey, milk by-products, casein, curds, dry milk solids, non-fat dairy milk powder are listed on the food labels, it is obvious that the product contains lactose.
Craving a yogurt smoothie?
Blend fruit (berries are great) and yogurt in the evening, store in the refrigerator and have an instant smoothie the very next day morning.
Increased number of probiotics in the intestinal tract might contribute to the reduction of lactose intolerance symptoms.
Milk allergy ?
It is common to confuse lactose intolerance with cow’s milk allergy.
“Problem with digesting a sugar in the milk is lactose intolerance. Being intolerant to the cow’s milk is an allergic reaction to proteins in the milk”.
Milk allergy usually happens in minutes to hours after taking milk products. Rash, eczema, nasal stuffiness,vomiting abdominal pain are the symptoms of milk allergy. Some may experience constipation if they are sensitive to the protein component of milk. Those who are allergic to milk protein should seek doctor for an immediate recovery.
Label ingredients that indicate presence of milk proteins: butter, casein, caseinate, cream, cheese, curds, lactose, lactalbumin, milk solid, whey, yogurt.
Every single food we eat has influence on overall nutrition and our wellness. Reading labels will help make a wise choice. The key to healthy balanced diet is to balance what we eat by consuming a variety of foods from each food group in right proportions along with a sustained and energetic exercise regime that helps us to maintain our body weight by balancing the energy intake with energy output.
“Our Health is Ultimately Our Responsibility”!
Kohila Govindaraju, Nutritionist