Contrary to what you may think, it is not always necessary to completely avoid dairy products when you have lactose intolerance.
People with lactose intolerance can’t digest lactose, the sugar found in milk and dairy products, because they don’t produce enough lactase (the enzyme needed to digest lactose).The symptoms resulting from lactose intolerance include: cramps, gas, bloating, and even diarrhea.
Try these tips to manage the uncomfortable symptoms of lactose intolerance:
- Determine how much lactose your body can tolerate. The degree of lactose intolerance varies from one person to another. Some people can have more milk or dairy products than others, without developing any symptoms.
- Try to eat small, frequent servings of milk and/or dairy products throughout the day instead of few, large servings. When these products are totally avoided, lactose intolerance usually worsens. Progressively increasing the amount of these products in your diet can help you improve your lactose tolerance. Besides, milk and dairy products are the main source of calcium in our diet, so eating them infrequently will increase your risk of developing osteoporosis in the future.
- Consume milk and/or dairy products with other foods and avoid having them on an empty stomach. Eating other foods slows down digestion and this gives lactase more time to work.
- When it comes to cheese, select hard varieties, like swiss, parmesan, colby, and cheddar, which are lower in lactose.
- Use lactose-free or lactose-reduced products, such as lactose-free milk, soy milk, and cottage cheese.
- Fermented dairy products not only have a lower lactose level, but they also have beneficial properties that may help increase lactase production. The main product in this category is yogurt.
- To avoid having any problems when dining out, you may carry a lactase enzyme tablet with you, and take it before you start eating.
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