Lactose intolerance is primarily the difficulty of one’s digestive system to digest the sugar called lactose. Lactose is commonly found in milk and numerous dairy products.
Lactose intolerance occurs when the small intestine does not produce an adequate amount of an enzyme, called lactase, that is needed in digesting lactose.
Lactose intolerance is very common. In fact, about 30 million American adults develop lactose intolerance by the time they turn 20 years of age. However, lactose intolerance is rarely dangerous.
Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include; vomiting, abdominal bloating, nausea, stomach ache, abdominal cramps, flatulence, diarrhea, and a number of gastrointestinal issues that occur after intake of milk or a dairy product.
Disorders that can increase your likelihood of developing lactose intolerance include; Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and gastroenteritis. Genetics could also increase your tendency of developing lactose intolerance.
Below are tips and good practices, to consider, if you are dealing with lactose intolerance;
- Try cutting down on milk and other dairy products from your diet. This would help ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
- If you cut out milk and other dairy products from your diet, it could lead to body deficiency in calcium, riboflavin, protein, and vitamin D. As such, you would need to include other foods that are rich in these nutrients to make up for the shortage. Consult a nutritionist or your health care provider for assistance.
- You could opt for lactose-free milk and dairy products.
- You could add the lactase enzyme to your milk. This enzyme is also available in chewable tablets and capsules.
- Some milk products/substitutes may be easier to digest and you should consider them in your diet. They include; buttermilk, cheese, soy milk, rice milk, milkshakes and ice cream.
Below are home remedies to handle lactose intolerance;
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
People who find themselves intolerant to lactose may start using apple cider vinegar. It improves the digestion incredibly and neutralizes the acids present in the stomach. Take a tablespoon of ACV along with a glass filled with water once every day for several weeks. Apple cider vinegar is especially helpful during the initial stages.
Kefir is a probiotic that may have a beneficial action on the digestive system. Studies show that kefir may ease lactose digestion thereby, thus, combating the symptoms associated with intolerance. It also reduces flatulence to a great extent. Being a rich source of active bacteria culture, it aids in boosting the digestion of lactose. Furthermore, kefir is high in proteins, potassium, and calcium. Consume half a cup of it every day until you notice improvements.
Including this nutritious food in your diet may foster great benefits. Spinach is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy body. Spinach is easily digested and can help with weight loss too. It also contains calcium, iron, and vitamin D which could tend to be deficient in your body if you stop taking milk and other dairy products. Add them to your wraps, soups, and salads.
4. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is another great remedy for dealing with lactose intolerance. It helps in boosting digestion and reduces the symptoms of lactose intolerance in a natural and effective manner. Extract juice from a lemon and add it to warm water. Then, add some honey to it and stir well. Consume this drink before having your meals to help ease the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
5. Lactase Supplement
If your body is not adequately producing the enzyme lactase that is needed to digest lactose, you may take lactase supplements. This supplement would reduce the digestive problems associated with lactose intolerance. Add a supplement of 2000 IU to 2 cups of milk and drink it immediately. Alternatively, take 1-3 tablets of lactase before you consume lactose-based foods. However, these supplements are not considered suitable for pregnant women and children.
6. Cheese And Yogurt
Usually, people who are found to be intolerant to lactose can eat cheese and yogurt without any problem. Dairy products that have full fat contain low lactose levels. You may eat full-fat cottage cheese as well as aged hard cheese like Swiss cheese and cheddar cheese. Yogurt, having live cultures, is another great dairy product that will not cause any harm, so you may consume it. However, it is important to consume cheese and yogurt in moderate amounts.
7. Milk Substitutes
You may substitute milk with other variants such as coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, and hemp milk to prevent lactose intolerance. If consuming them directly seems difficult, you may add it to baked foods and puddings.
Chamomile has a potent ability to reduce digestive disorders caused by dairy products. It reduces bloating and neutralizes the acids present in the stomach. For this remedy, prepare chamomile tea and drink it warm a few times, daily, to improve your digestive system.
Broccoli is loaded with nutrition that helps promote a healthy digestive system and a healthy body. If you are not able to consume high nutritional food due to the presence of lactose in it, you may include broccoli in your regular diet. It contains phytonutrients that are easily absorbed by the body. Furthermore, broccoli is rich in calcium and vitamin C which would help in promoting your immune system to fight various diseases in a better way.
Ginger may relieve the digestive problem caused due to lactose intolerance. Ginger promotes the release of digestive juices that eases digestion and reduces nausea. Grate some fresh ginger roots and add a teaspoon of them to boiling water. Simmer on low heat for some minutes and strain the liquid. Add some lemon juice as well as a small amount of honey to the ginger tea and consume it thrice every day to combat the problem.
Oranges can help in improving your digestion to a great extent and also reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Orange is packed with a high amount of vitamin C that boosts immunity. Furthermore, oranges are known to contain fiber which aids in preventing colon cancer. It also prevents constipation and eases bowel movement. People suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, which is a common symptom of lactose intolerance, find consuming oranges beneficial.
The soothing action of peppermint is great for reducing the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Peppermint not only eases digestion but also combats diarrhea in an excellent way. Peppermint is also helpful in reducing abdominal pain caused due to poor digestion of the lactose. Additionally, peppermint has a beneficial action on the gallbladder. Prepare peppermint tea and consume 2-3 cups of it every day. You may add a little amount of honey to enhance its taste.
13. Rice Tea
Take half a cup of rice and boil it in water for 10-12 minutes. When the rice is tender, strain the water. Let it cool and add a small amount of honey to the water. Drink it twice every day to ease your digestion and deal with lactose intolerance in an effective manner.
Since sardines are a rich source of calcium, consuming them, on a regular basis, would help you maintain adequate levels of it in your body. So, if you are not able to consume milk or dairy products, sardines may help in providing the required nutrition to your body such as calcium and vitamin D. Sardines are also loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that have a positive impact on your heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids also reduce inflammation in your body.
Saffron has numerous health benefits. It not only improves digestion but also boosts your appetite. It can deal with the symptoms of lactose intolerance in an effective manner. Saffron is also known to reduce flatulence to a great extent. Furthermore, it purifies the blood to improve your overall health. Prepare saffron tea and consume it once daily to deal with lactose intolerance. However, make sure you do not overconsume it, especially if you are pregnant as it may cause certain side effects such as vomiting and nosebleeds. It can induce contractions in the uterus which may lead to miscarriage in pregnant women.
16. Fennel Seeds
The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be effectively dealt with fennels seeds. Fennel seed has a beneficial effect on the digestive tract. Slowly chew some fennel seeds after having your meals on a regular basis. You may also make fennel tea. To make the tea, start by pouring hot water into a glass and add a teaspoon of the seeds in it. Let it steep for 10-12 minutes, then, strain the liquid. Consume this tea three times a day.
Cumin is another effective remedy to improve your digestion and relieve the symptoms of lactose intolerance. It improves the functioning of the salivary glands and aids in digestion. Including it in your diet may prove to be extremely beneficial. However, if you have diabetes or have problems related to blood clotting avoid using this remedy.
18. Check Labels
Some packaged foods products may contain lactose in high amounts. Therefore, it is important to always check the label to know the contents of the product you are buying. Always look for the presence of milk, dry milk, powdered non-fat dry milk and milk by-products in the foods items you purchase. Usually, lactose is present in products such as candies, breakfast cereals, salad dressings, processed meats, non-dairy creamers, bread and baked items.
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