Lactose Intolerance And Alternate Calcium Sources
Today I am going to talk about Lactose intolerance and alternate calcium sources. That is sensitivity towards most nutritious and healthy food category – milk products.
Since our childhood we’ve always dreaded that glass of milk….and even now many of us dislike it, though the reasons then and now are different. But still, milk and other dairy products are a problem for many due to their ‘Lactose Intolerance’.
Lactose Intolerance And Alternate Calcium Sources
Lactose is a natural sugar found in dairy products and especially in milk. Our small intestine secretes an enzyme called “Lactase” to digest this lactose. But in many adults, this enzyme secretion gets subdued with the growing age. This makes them intolerant towards Lactose. These days many kids too, are not able to digest lactose.
Many consider Lactose Intolerance as food allergy to milk. But, it is not so!!! It is just the body’s incapability to digest the lactose….nothing more!
In those, who are intolerant to lactose, when lactose moves through the large intestine without being properly digested (due to insufficient or no lactase), causes uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, belly pain, and bloating. Some people with this problem cannot digest any milk products. Others can eat or drink small amounts of milk products or certain types of milk products without problems.
Types of Lactose Intolerance.
There are basically three types of Lactose Intolerance.
Primary Lactose Intolerance – As a result of ageing
With the growing age and in many people from their teenage, the intolerance increases towards lactose. They may be able to consume some milk products without problem and in limited quantity.
Secondary Lactose Intolerance – As a result of some illness or injury
Small intestines stops making lactase permanently or temporarily after some stomach illness, injury or surgery. In this case problem can be permanent or for a short period.
Congenital lactose Intolerance – A condition one may be born with
Though a little rare, but many newborns are lactose-intolerant. And there is a very little chance of the problem getting cured with age.
How to avoid dairy?
For these people, the only way to avoid the belly problems is to avoid milk and milk products completely or partially or by reducing the serving size. Enzyme supplements may also be taken to help the digestion of lactose.
Those who suffer gastric problems, diarrhea or bloating regularly and mostly after consuming milk products should keep a regular check for a few days to diagnose whether they are lactose intolerant. Self diagnosis is very helpful, but if the problem is severe then doctor should be consulted. There are a couple of tests for diagnosis – Lactose Intolerance test, Hydrogen Breath Test and Stool Acidity test.
Getting enough Calcium and Vitamin D
Avoiding milk and milk products will keep the belly problems away, but then what about the deficiency of the nutrients, vitamins, proteins and especially calcium due to non-consumption of milk? This is the main cause of worry for the people who eliminate milk and milk products from their diet. Our body needs all these good compounds to keep it functioning properly. If we are avoiding milk then we need to find other suitable options and alternatives to include in our diet so that our body doesn’t get deprived of its basic necessities.
Calcium rich food with minimum or no lactose
- Soy milk is one of the best options for those who are lactose intolerant. It is rich in all the required nutrients and is mostly lactose-free. It is a very good health drink and can be consumed by all.
- Calcium fortified foods like Orange juice also provides required amount of calcium to the body.
- Vegetables, nuts, seeds, oatmeal, beans, salmons etc also are a rich source of calcium. These foods aren’t just rich in calcium but in all the basic requirements of the body.
- Calcium supplements
When enough calcium is not derived from food eaten then calcium supplements may be taken. These are of two types –
Calcium Citrate (can be taken any time)
Calcium Carbonate (better absorbed when taken with meals)
500-600 mg of calcium is the max that our body can absorb at once. So, caution should be taken with the quantity of these supplements.
We all must be aware (thanks to the Bournvita ad) that our body needs Vitamin D to absorb the calcium we consume. So, eating a balanced diet rich in Vitamin D is also very important. Sunlight too, helps the body to absorb Vitamin D better. So enjoy basking in the early morning sunlight, it will do more good (without those layers of sunscreens, of course!!!)
Other nutrients available in milk have good alternatives. It’s mainly calcium intake that needs to be taken care of as it is very essential for bone health. Females, who are in menopausal and post-menopausal phase, should be highly cautious as calcium deficiency at this stage may lead to Osteoporosis and other bone-related problems which may not get cured.
Having a balanced diet, consuming good alternative foods and restricting the consumption of milk products is the best way to avoid those grueling problems due to lactose indigestion.
Are you taking supplements for your Lactose Intolerance?
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