Lactose intolerance refers to the inability to digest lactose which is found in dairy products. It is a common condition common in adults affecting over 75% of the world’s population. This is due to the fact that as we grow older we generally produce less and less lactase. Lactase is an enzyme responsible for digesting lactose. When it is less, the body fails to digest lactose and a person might experience symptoms such as bloating, stomachache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and gas.
To find out if you’re lactose intolerant you may need the help of a doctor who will carry out some tests to ascertain if you’re lactose intolerant or you’re simply reacting to something else. Otherwise, if you notice the aforementioned symptoms after continuous intake of dairy products, you might as well be lactose intolerant.
That said, what option exists for someone who’s lactose intolerant or how can you manage lactose intolerance?
It goes without saying that if you avoid/limit dairy products you will be missing out on important nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D. To curb this, Dr Mansi Amin recommends taking time off of dairy products and then reintroducing lactose in your diet while gauging how your react. Introduce the dairy products in small amounts to determine the severity and how much lactose you can tolerate. Otherwise, you can seek medical support for calcium and vitamin supplements. Beauty benefits of milk.
An over-the-counter pill that contains the enzyme can help you digest lactose. However, since the level of body lactase varies in different people the pill might not be effective for everyone. Such that if you suffer from severe lactose intolerance you might have to do away with dairy products entirely. Therefore, it is safe to seek medical assurance first to determine if your lactase level can be supplemented with the help of a pill or not.
Take non-diary products rich in calcium
If you have to avoid dairy products altogether, introduce non-dairy products rich in calcium. A daily intake of 1000mg of calcium is recommended and you can obtain this from lactose-free/lactose-reduced products such as soy, almond, oat or camel milk. Other sources include; bonefish such as sardines, fortified fruit or vegetable juice, broccoli, kale, soybeans or fortified non-dairy milk. See the full list here.
Remember to always check food labels, for ingredients that signify the presence of lactose.
Introduce probiotic foods into your diet
Probiotics are microorganisms that benefit the digestive system. Foods like yoghurt, kimchi, traditional fermented buttermilk and pickles are known probiotic foods. These foods can help reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance as well as improve digestive health. Although it is good to note that some types of probiotics and prebiotics may more effective than others.
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