Thursday, 21 November 2013

Lactose Intolerance Tips: Doesn't Have to Be Milk

If you are living with lactose intolerance you are probably always on the look for tips. Some of us also may acquire the condition temporarily during some conditions like pregnancy or medication therapy. In all cases, here are some suggestions on how to manage your diet if you cannot eat dairy products. You will be surprised at some of what the research has found. A person might think they cannot eat any dairy products while they might actually be tolerant to some. Why deprive yourself if you can!

According to Mayo Clinic, the first obvious remedy is to reduce your dairy products intake. But, not to fret, the nutrients naturally found in milk and cheese for example can be present in other foods. Consider Calcium, it can be acquired from:

  • Broccoli
  • Calcium-fortified products such as breads and juices
  • Milk substitutes, such as soy milk and rice milk
  • Oranges
  • Pinto beans
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach 

On the other hand, you need to keep in mind Vitamin D as not many natural foods contain it. Some of its sources are eggs, liver and yogurt.

If you choose to eat dairy products, use caution and follow these tips:

- Eat smaller servings daily: recent research suggests that you might be able to counter your condition if you started with very small portions daily (e.g., 1/4 cup milk 3 times a day) for a few weeks and then increase it. Observe your symptoms and judge if this works for you.

- Have the milk if you will with mealtimes with other foods: mainly not on empty stomach. You can even pass some recipes that use milk with other ingredients and again watch your symptoms. this might work for some and not others.

- Experiment: not all dairy products have the same amount of lactose. For example, aged (and hard) cheeses like cheddar, blue, brie, and swiss almost have no lactose. Try them. You might also tolerate cultured products like yogurt due to the bacteria used to culture them which has the ability to break lactose.

- Lactose-free or lactose-reduced products: try buying these from the refrigerated dairy isle in almost any big grocery store.  

- Chocolate milk: it seems that some people have reported tolerating chocolate milk more than plain milk. Try it and see!

The overall impression here is that you need to be careful but at the same time you might like to experiment a little to see if you were depriving yourself of things you can actually eat/drink. Don't forget that you can also ask your physician to refer you to a dietitian if nothing works out for you so that the dietitian can plan your diet in a way that you don't miss on any essential nutrients for your body and bones. Your physician or dietitian might prescribe for you a supplement of calcium or vitamin D or other nutrients.  

Stay healthy!


Mayo Clinic:

Dairy Farmers of Ontario:

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