Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose which is major component of dairy products with the most common symptoms being diarrhea, gas, and bloating. These symptoms obviously cause serious discomfort and sometimes embarrassment to those who experience it therefore the desire to mitigate the symptoms of lactose intolerance is ever-present. While lactose intolerance may never go away, there are ways that sufferers can combat the symptoms of it and still lead very normal lives.
Lactase is an enzyme naturally found in the body and it is responsible for metabolizing lactose so it can be digested. People who are lactose intolerant often lack the amount of lactase needed to properly absorb lactose into their digestive tract that often results in the pain and discomfort experienced. Lactase pills are available over-the-counter and can be taken before meals to alleviate the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Lactase pills are safe to use every day and with every meal, assisting those who suffer from lactose intolerance by allowing them to get the lactose they need without experiencing any ill effects afterwards.
2. Keep track of foods
Some people diagnosed with lactose intolerance are able to ingest some dairy products better than others. In this instance, to better understand the foods that trigger symptoms of lactose intolerance, it is helpful to keep a log of what foods are ingested, serving size, what time it was eaten, and feelings after ingesting them. If no symptoms are experience this means that the food does not bring on symptoms and probably will not cause discomfort moving forward. If symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, or bloating occur, obviously the food ingested is problematic and should either be eliminated from the diet or lactase pills should be taken before-hand.
Although someone may be lactose intolerant, the human body still requires the lactose and calcium present in dairy to be healthy. In addition to taking lactase pills there are types of foods that will not aggravate symptoms of lactose intolerance and allow sufferers to still get their regular lactose amount. Instead of consuming dairy products high in lactose such as cow’s milk, cheese, and sour cream, dairy products should be restricted to ones that are a little easier to digest such as yogurt, ice cream, and buttermilk. Cow’s milk has often been substituted by people who are lactose intolerant with rice, soy, almond, or goat’s milk with great success.
4. Be aware of dairy ingredients
While those who are lactose intolerant are usually super vigilant about what they ingest to ensure no lactose is present, sometimes it is in foods and beverages when you least expect it. Such foods as dips, soups, and dishes with vegetables in them could contain butters and cheeses that may not be evident. Before eating anything, checking the labels on the packaging of all foods and ingredients is beneficial to ensure no lactose is present. If at someone else’s house for a meal, politely asking if there is any dairy in the meal that was made. Most people will not mind nor will they be offended. In fact, they often-times are curious about lactose intolerance and want to hear more about it.
5. Add vitamin K
Vitamin K plays a significant role in the digestive tract absorbing calcium and most people who are lactose intolerant, in addition to being deficient in lactase, also lack the appropriate amount of this important vitamin as well. Therefore, it is beneficial for those who are lactose intolerant to consume foods rich in vitamin K and these include Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, cabbage, and broccoli. In addition to aiding in the digestion of lactose in the body, vitamin K has also proven to be instrumental in improving brain function and regulating hormones.