Summer just around the corner, which means backyard barbecues, trips to the beach and take the kids for ice cream. Unfortunately, you who have trouble digesting dairy products may not be able to enjoy a scoop of Rocky Road on a summer evening.
If you suffer from lactose intolerance, like many of my patients do, you may be tempted to avoid all dairy products. This may not be necessary. To help my patients experience more pleasure and less stress due to eating, I have been researching natural ways to overcome common problems.
Your unique Condition
Lactose intolerance is a common problem often caused by aging. Lactose is a natural sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Our small intestine is responsible for producing lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose normally. If the body does not produce sufficient amounts of enzymes, the lactose reaches the colon without completely broken. This causes the familiar symptoms of gas, bloating pain, stomach and diarrhea.
It is clear from talking to many patients with this problem for years that everyone has slightly different conditions. For example, some people can drink up to one glass of milk per day without any problems. Some can digest some dairy products, but not others.
Everyone has a different combination of symptoms, but in most people, the inconvenience of the strike 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating the problem.
Tips for Tolerance
Successfully managing your condition means understanding how your body responds to different foods and different treatment strategies. Although there is no cure for it, the following tips will help you manage your symptoms so you can enjoy a meal:
1) soy substitutes – soy milk and cheese products tasty and healthy alternative that does not contain lactose.
2) Try yogurt – just make sure it contains active cultures. Studies show that, living a healthy bacterial cultures may help in the digestion of lactose.
3) Mix the liquids and solids – Many people, who can not tolerate milk itself, could digest in combination with solid foods, like cereal.
4) Consider probiotics – supplements that contain “healthy bacteria” can contribute to not only easier digestion in lactose intolerant, but for those suffering from other digestive problems.
5) Test a variety of milk – Because everyone is different, you may be able to eat certain dairy products, especially those containing lower levels of lactose. Cheddar and Swiss cheese, for example, contain significantly less than milk or cream.
6) See supplemental lactase – Many over the counter products that contain enzymes needed to digest milk available. Some may work better than others, so try several different products to gauge your reaction.
7) Sip some cocoa – Some studies have suggested that unsweetened cocoa powder can slow the emptying of the stomach so that the small intestine do not get overwhelmed by high levels of lactose.
Getting the Nutrition You Need
While the above tips should give enough options to manage your lactose intolerance, getting adequate nutrition remains a concern. I must remind my patients that cut most dairy products means that the entire food groups are missing from their diet. Dairy products are often our greatest sources of calcium, a nutrient that is essential for healthy bones and teeth.
If you can not eat dairy, focus on some of the following foods which are good sources of calcium: broccoli, kale, canned salmon, calcium-fortified orange juice and cereals, and almonds.
If you enter some of these delicious choices in your diet, you will maintain good health even though your body’s resistance to lactose. As you can see, this is one of many ways to empower yourself and manage your health to the best quality of life.