lactose intolerance

Lactose Intolerance & How To Make Up For Important Nutrients

That terrible tummy ache won’t let you sit still after consuming milk. Yes, that’s lactose intolerance. You always drink milk. But all of a sudden, you start having a tummy ache, cramps, and other issues right after consuming milk. It is still okay for you to eat delicacies made from milk. But it’s a glass of warm milk that is making it unbearable. Can you suddenly become lactose intolerant? Is that even possible? Sadly yes.

With age, you may become lactose intolerant. That means no more morning cups of milk, tea, or coffee. You will have to refrain from sweet lassi, buttermilk, and other milk delicacies if your lactose intolerance is much worse. 

What does it mean to have Lactose Intolerance?

Milk consists of lactose, a type of sugar. Lactase, an enzyme, is required to break down this complex sugar into simpler sugars like glucose, galactose, and lactic acid. When we are at the infancy stage, our body produces lactase enzymes to break down lactose in milk. But as our body matures (2-14 years old), the lactase production in our body lessens. After a certain age, lactase is not produced at all. When this happens, your body is unable to digest milk. You then suffer from symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Symptoms of lactose intolerance –

  • Stomach pain 
  • Bloating 
  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches (rarely)
  • Fatigue (rarely)
  • Eczema (rarely)

Symptoms of lactose intolerance

Are there any types of lactose intolerance? 

There are four –

  • PrimaryAfter aging, the production of lactase enzymes stops, causing an inability to digest lactose.
  • Secondary After suffering injury or illness like celiac disease and inflammatory bowel disease. After recovering from the ailment or injury, lactase production also goes back to normal, and you can consume milk.
  • CongenitalYou are born with a lactose intolerance condition. The condition is hereditary. If a baby suffers from congenital lactose intolerance, they cannot consume breast milk and suffer from diarrhea. The ailment can get worse with continued dehydration and can become life-threatening. The treatment for this condition is to provide the baby with lactose-free milk.
  • Developmental – Often seen in prematurely born babies. Lactase enzyme production starts later in pregnancy at about 34 weeks. 
Read Also:  What are Lactose-Free Milk 

Can You Stop Being Lactose Intolerance?

Having lactose intolerance is a sort of inconvenience. You cannot freely eat anything. It is as bad as having diabetes, where your diet is controlled. In lactose intolerance, eating and drinking milk products will only cause stomach pain and a few inconveniences for those around you. Unfortunately, a lot of us suffer from lactose intolerance. Nearly 65 -70 % of adults suffer from lactose intolerance.

With age, the ability to digest lactose is reduced. Most adults suffer from intolerance issues as you may know. “How can I stop lactose intolerance immediately?” If this question bogs you as you don’t want to give up on so many milk made items, then here’s the answer –

  • Drink less than one cup of milk at any time.
  • Don’t drink just milk or milk products. Drink it with your meals.
  • Try lactose-free milk
  • Drink Yogurt

Reducing the intake of milk can relieve some of your tummy aches. Also, drinking milk with your meals can help you digest milk better. Lactose-free or lactose-reduced milk can help with lactose intolerance. 

How to Make up for Milk Nutrients?

We consume milk because it contains a lot of nutrients. It has calcium, important for bone growth and maintaining bone density throughout our lives. Milk provides calcium when your body grows and maintains that calcium when your body ages. Many other nutrients are essential to the body that is provided by milk. It has a good balance of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The nutrients found in milk are –

  • calcium
  • riboflavin
  • phosphorous
  • vitamins A and B12
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • Zinc

Vitamin B12 is a rare nutrient found only in meat and dairy products. If you opt for a vegan diet, you might suffer from a B12 deficiency. It is not a pleasant condition with loads of weakness, mouth ulcers, and the sensation of pins and needles in your skin. If you suffer from these symptoms, you should start consuming milk and meat.

Vitamin B12 deficiency in lactose-intolerant people is usual as they cannot consume milk, a vital source of B12. To make up for this deficiency, you can look for milk substitutes, like –

  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Coconut Milk
  • Oat Milk
  • Rice Milk
  • Cashew Milk

lactose intolerance

These milk substitutes provide some of the milk nutrients. You will still have to look for substitutes to make up for the lack of vitamins and nutrients. 

Calcium-rich food – cheese, yogurt, sardines, green leafy veggies like spinach, kale, collard, turnips, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, soybeans, soy milk, etc.

Riboflavin-rich food – yogurt, cheese, eggs, pork, chicken breast, salmon, fortified cereal and bread, almonds, spinach, etc.

Phosphorous-rich food – chicken and turkey, pork, organ meats, seafood, dairy, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole grains, etc.

Vitamin A-rich food – spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, yellow fruit, such as mango, papaya, apricots, cheese, eggs, oily fish, fortified low-fat spreads, milk, and yogurt, etc.

Vitamin B12-rich food – beef, liver, chicken, fish, shellfish such as trout, salmon, tuna fish, clams, fortified breakfast cereal, low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, etc.

Potassium-rich food – dried fruits (raisins, apricots), beans, lentils, potatoes, winter squash (acorn, butternut), spinach, broccoli, beet greens, avocado, bananas, etc.

Magnesium-rich food – pumpkin seed, almonds, spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, cereal, soy milk, black beans, dark chocolate, etc.

Zinc-rich food – meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy, eggs, whole grains, etc.

Confused With Too Many Alternatives?

Milk is a wholesome food that provides a lot of nutrients. To supplement the nutrients of milk, you will have to consume a variety of food products. If you are a vegetarian, you will miss essential B12. You can take Cobalamin to meet this deficiency, or try lactose-free milk. In lactose-free milk, lactase is added to break lactose into digestible sugar. With no lactose present, you can easily digest milk and not suffer from any symptoms of lactose intolerance. To know more about lactose-free milk, you can check here

With lactose-free milk or lactose-reduced milk, you can continue with your regular diet and not have to look for supplements. You can get all the nutrients of milk from lactose-free milk.