The Lactose Intolerant Diet – What Can You Eat?

The Lactose Intolerant Diet – What Can You Eat?

In accordance with the UN statistics, the number of allergies and sensitivities to various chemicals, foods, and scents has been on the rise ever since the lifestyles of people changed.

People now are not only more technology dependent having less physical activities in their routines but are also living in a different environment.

Environmental changes regardless of the numerous debates have been happening since the prevalence of factories along with consumerism to meet the demands of people. These changes have contributed greatly to progress but have brought pollution as a side effect.

Changes in the diet with the advancement of crop fertilizers industry and food industry have changed the daily intake of people considerably. Comparatively, people now consume highly chemical ridden crops than before.

All these changes have affected the health of the people worldwide in many different ways. The mentioned rise of allergies is a significant example. Among other sensitivities, lactose intolerance is the most common one.

According to the official statistics, lactose intolerance affects almost 76% of the people around the world. The specific food allergy can cause many problems for a person living in today’s world.

If you have a gluten allergy, you have to completely avoid any foods that contain the sugar lactose which is found in all of the dairy ingredients like milk, yogurt and additionally in every product prepared with them such as cheese, ice cream, cakes, and smoothies.

RELATED: 7 Tips For An Effective Gluten-free Diet

Most of these products are included in daily intake of people. Someone with lactose intolerance is unable to digest any of such products and will usually get mild to severe bodily reactions depending on the amount of lactose taken.

Therefore, lactose intolerance is mostly easy to diagnose.

What are the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is the most common allergy in the world with detectable signs and can happen due to various factors including genetics.

While some people may develop lactose sensitivity or intolerance, others can be born with the allergy which can show up anytime in life.

To break down the lactose sugar from dairy products, your body needs a certain enzyme called lactase just like it needs insulin to break down glucose sugar from food.

Affected by an external factor or from genetics, the body can, at times, lower or stop the production of lactase.

As a result, you can either develop lactose sensitivity and may be unable to consume a good quantity of lactose foods such as your favorite ice cream on a daily basis or a complete intolerance in which you can get severe reactions from even the little amount of lactase in your diet.

When lactose is not properly broken down and absorbed, it can cause a number of complications in the body. Hence, if you have a lactose sensitivity or intolerance, it will easy for you to tell as you might experience the following signs:

  • Acne and stubborn skin problems
  • Migraines
  • Frequent headaches (especially after meals)
  • Nausea (sometimes vomiting right after eating)
  • Constant abdominal pains
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate

For some people, the mentioned signs of lactose sensitivity and intolerance may not occur right away but for others, they can appear right after having a meal containing lactose sugar. The body’s reaction to lactose can take from 20 minutes to around 2-3 days to show.

The intensity of the allergy plays a big role here. Constant lactose intolerance will typically have immediate effects which are far more severe than the ones people with mild lactose sensitivity will experience.

The intensity of the allergy also comes under observation when figuring out the solution and management of the sensitivity or intolerance. Some people might be able to add a few portions of dairy products in their diet while others may not.

It is also important to note that different dairy products will also not have the same effect on a lactose sensitive person. In fact, not all dairy products cause such as reaction in the body due to their unique properties.

An example of this is Kefir or yogurt with active cultures would not cause a reaction similar to everyday yogurt.

This is because active cultures on the yogurt help break down the lactose sugar prior to even reaching the stomach. While it may not taste the same, replacements might work out for some people.

The Lactose Intolerant Diet - What Can You Eat?

What can you do to manage lactose intolerance?

Though it can be hard for most of the people to cut off dairy from their diets, substitutes for daily dairy products can be used without any harm according to the researchers. Another good thing is they also taste almost the same.

Changes in diet along with some other habit can help greatly in avoiding the negative effects of lactose intolerance. Following are some of the things you can try to help your food allergy:

Fermented organic products

While most of the people would not like the sound of fermented versions of their favorite products, they bring great benefits and can also help you fulfill other nutritional deficiencies as they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Fermented organic products such as Kefir is loaded with Vitamin K, B12, folate, thiamin, and vitamin K.  Adding kefir to your diet can take care of the nutritional deficiencies caused by lack of dairy products in your diet.

Try Enzyme supplements

Lactase is the main enzyme responsible for breaking down of the lactose sugar. Lack of lactase is what causes a lactose sensitivity or intolerance. According to a study published in Alternative Medicine Review, digestive enzyme supplements can help in breaking down sugars.

In addition, most of such supplements help the digestion generally which means other nutrients and minerals may be more efficiently absorbed.

Taking a specifically formulated enzyme supplement before each meal of the day for your lactose intolerance can ensure no undigested sugar remains in the digestive tract along with fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Adding Probiotics to diet

As mentioned before, people with lactose intolerance or sensitivity may be able to eat fermented vegetables or dairy with cultures due to the fact that the lactose sugar is broken down before the food even enters the stomach.

Eating probiotic rich food can, therefore, aid in avoiding any problem raised by lactose intolerance. In accordance with Journal of Applied Microbiology, managing lactose sensitivity can be done with probiotics and yogurt.

Another option is taking probiotics supplements. According to Live Science, probiotics supplements are not only good for lactose intolerance but can also help with the general health of the person.

For example, future diseases can be avoided successfully without the use of antibiotics.

Replace with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has been known for centuries for its great number of benefits. In addition, the oil can also be used in numerous ways to treat health conditions and for the general better health of your body.

If you switch from your normal cooking to cooking with coconut oil, it can bring you great health benefits including better digestion, burning fat, balancing hormone level, managing blood sugar and cholesterol all at the same time.

Coconut oil can be a replacement for dairy products in daily drinks such as tea and coffee. It may also be used in baking and high heat cooking. While it may make a slight difference in the taste, the new taste is equally good.

Another good thing is you can make use of the different healthy recipes available and gain better health in general while managing your lactose intolerance.
The Lactose Intolerant Diet - What Can You Eat?

 

With an academic background in Food Sciences, Klaire is interested to read about the latest news on nutrition, therapeutic benefits of foods and health. She is a practicing dietician with a focus on improving women’s health. Before joining the team, she has worked as a researcher and freelance writer.

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