The body needs an enzyme called lactase in order to break down the lactose present in milk and other dairy products that are consumed on a regular basis.In certain cases though, the body would not produce enough lactase enzyme to handle the lactose that is consumed. And depending on the amount of lactase that is absent in the body, the lactose that is consumed would cause side effects like bloating, nausea, cramps, gas or diarrhea etc., with the symptoms lasting for up to 30 minutes or longer.
Home Remedies For Lactose Intolerance
Sadly, individuals diagnosed with lactose intolerance would need to either cut down or forgo eating their favorite dairy products for extended periods for fear of suffering from the side effects of the condition. However, there are some simple home remedies that can help an individual cope with the condition and its symptoms better. Given below are some common home remedies that are often recommended for individuals with lactose intolerance.
Alternate Sources Of Calcium
Dairy products like milk provide the body with most of the calcium it needs on a regular basis. Individuals with lactose intolerance would need to reduce the intake of dairy products to an extent. Therefore, they can get their daily dose of calcium by substituting dairy products with other alternates like broccoli, canned salmon, sardines, nuts, oranges, pinto beans, tofu, dried apricots, spinach, rhubarb, sesame seeds and calcium rich juices and breads etc. This would help reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance to a great extent.
Adding cocoa powder to cooked dishes or drinks can help reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance considerably. Cocoa powder is known to reduce the rate of digestion, thereby helping the body digest the lactose that is consumed in a slow and steady manner. A slow digestion rate would also mean slower passage of food through the stomach, meaning the stomach would let only a little amount of lactose enter it at any one time. And this would help the stomach digest the lactose better, thereby reducing the symptoms of lactose intolerance to a great extent.
Alternate Sources Of Vitamin D
Getting additional amounts of Vitamin D on a daily basis can help the body cope with the sudden loss of dairy products and the nutrients found in them. Therefore, it is considered wise to consume foods like eggs, yogurt and liver which contain plenty of Vitamin D, on a regular basis. Exposure to the sun for minimal intervals during the morning can also help the body produce more Vitamin D naturally.
Individuals with lactose intolerance are often recommended to drink milk in small quantities (less than 4 ounces at a time). In addition to providing the body with the calcium that it needs, this would prevent the accumulation of excess lactose in the body, thereby reducing the symptoms of the condition. Choosing to have milk with meals can also help control lactose intolerance and its symptoms. The digestion rate is usually slow at this time, thereby making it easier for the stomach to digest the lactose without causing any side effects.
It may sound ironical; but the truth is that milk with higher fat content is easily digested when compared to milk with low fat content. Therefore, individuals with lactose intolerance can switch from skimmed or low fat milk to high fat or whole milk in order to get relief from the condition and its symptoms. Soy milk has very low levels of lactose, and so would not cause any harmful side effects like normal milk does in individuals with lactose intolerance. Drinking a cup of soy milk a day can help handle lactose intolerance effectively and curb its symptoms. Soy milk can also be added to regular milk, or in desserts like pudding that need milk.
Cheese lovers who face the hurdle of forgoing their cheesy passions owing to lactose intolerance, need not worry about the same. Switching to hard cheese that has low lactose content can help satisfy cheese cravings and reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Therefore, individuals diagnosed with the condition are recommended to eat hard cheese varieties like cheddar, Swiss cheese or Colby cheese.
Although yogurt is also a dairy product that would lead to increased levels of lactose in the body, it contains plenty of good bacteria that produce the lactase enzyme needed to digest the lactose. Individuals with lactose intolerance are therefore asked to eat at least a cup of yogurt every day (if they are able to tolerate it that is) in order to keep lactose intolerance and its symptoms under control.