Food – you need it to live, but if you eat the wrong thing it can cause some serious problems. Of course, what constitutes being the “wrong” thing differs from person to person. If you’ve been told that you are lactose intolerant, then for you, eating the wrong thing means consuming foods or beverages with lactose. So what are your options now?
Adjusting Your Diet
When it comes to dealing with lactose intolerance, the simple answer is to just not consume foods or drinks that have lactose in them. Lactose is a sugar that is made up of galactose and glucose and is found in milk. As such, it may be necessary to adjust your diet to exclude dairy products and other products that have dairy in them. Milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream are obvious. Less obvious foods to avoid may include bread, lunch meats, salad dressings, cereal, and baked good mixes.
Finding Good Sources of Calcium and Vitamin D
Part of the challenge of being lactose intolerant is that dairy products tend to be quality sources of both calcium and vitamin D. Cutting these foods out of your diet means you’ll need to find new sources. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to do that. You can find calcium in calcium-fortified beverages such as soy or almond milk, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and dried peas and beans. Oily fishes such as salmon and sardines, red meat, egg yolks, and fortified foods can be good sources of vitamin D.
If the idea of no longer consuming foods or beverages that contain lactose is distasteful to you, the good news is that you don’t necessarily have to stop eating them, nor do you have to suffer the consequences of eating them as someone who is lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance generally occurs due to a lack of lactase in the body. Lactase is an enzyme that breaks down lactose. It is available in an OTC supplement that can be taken with foods containing lactose to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Consuming foods and beverages that contain lactose when you’re lactose intolerant isn’t likely to cause serious lasting harm, but it can make you extremely uncomfortable for a while, depending on how severe it is. Taking steps like adjusting your diet, finding other foods that are good sources of calcium and vitamin D, and taking lactase supplements are some of the things you can do to help you deal with being lactose intolerant. Remember, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you.
Wondering if you’re lactose intolerant? Check out the different lactose intolerance tests you can take to find the answer.