Managing lactose intolerance

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Do you take milk or yoghurt and hours later you have a serious tummy upset? My friend thinks such ‘conditions’ are only for rich people. Tell you what; I don’t take milk cus it leaves me with serious tummy upsets. Well, sometimes I do but only when I’m sure I can handle the upsets. Like today I took ugali with milk and lets just say I have not had peace for the better part of the afternoon, bloating and all. This condition is called lactose intolerance and I never thought people can ‘pick it’ even in their adulthood. I used to take milk alright, until I realized every time I took milk I would get a tummy upset.

Milk is like a super food; has a lot of nutrients to benefit from. Staying away from milk is not a good thing cus we miss out on so many benefits. So, in my quest to know how to take milk and not get stomach upsets; I discovered a few things about lactose intolerance. For starters, there’s no cure for lactose intolerance; you can only manage it. Lactose intolerance can arise from 30 minutes or even after two days; so you need to be on the watch out if you experience any of the following signs after consuming milk or milk products;

  • Acne
  • Tummy upsets like stomach ache and bloating
  • Nausea and in serious cases vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches or migraines

Milk products have a certain type of sugar known as lactose. To be able to digest this sugar, the small intestines will need to produce an enzyme called lactase. (Let’s see who can still remember their high school biology). Lactase breaks down the lactose in the milk/milk products into galactose and glucose that’s easily absorbed by our bodies. Woe unto you if your body does not produce enough lactose. This inability to produce enough lactase is what we suffer from; lactose intolerance. The signs arise when the body can’t digest the lactose and even if it is digested, it is not absorbed into the body properly.

How to manage lactose intolerance

  • You can take a break from dairy products until you figure out how to go about it
  • Use organic fermented dairy products; fermented products improve the rate at which digestion of dairy products takes place. They also help in spurring the digestion of other foods.
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Yoghurt cultures
  • Try using goat milk; goat’s milk is easier on our digestive system as compared to cow’s milk. Goat’s milk contains less lactose, its high in fatty acids and it’s easily digested and absorbed into the body. It takes less time to digest and it’s richer in iodine, phosphorous, potassium and many other health benefits. It is also friendlier to people with casein insensitivity. Therefore, start looking at goat’s milk from another perspective. I’m willing to try it someday…

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  • Try digestive enzymes that have lactase; Take natural digestive enzymes tablets before any meal (dairy) to ensure all foods are digested.
  • Bone soups; bone soup is good in so many ways and it helps the body overcome some intolerances like lactose intolerance. It improves joint health, boosts immune system and helps in reducing cellulite. It’s better to boil grass-fed beef/animal bones or free range chicken because boiling transforms magnesium, calcium, sulfur and phosphorous thus making them easier to absorb. Gelatin and natural collagen helps to ease food allergies and intolerances like lactose intolerance

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  • Incorporate food rich in calcium for example kales(cooked), sardines, broccoli and raw cheese
  • Foods rich in vitamin K; most people who lack vitamin K will suffer from lactose intolerance because calcium plays a big role in absorption as well as bone health.

Watch out for lactose in processed foods!

So, don’t give up on milk and milk products yet; try out the few things listed above. You’ll have less painful tummy upsets and still get the full benefits of milk. As I said earlier, lactose intolerance cannot be treated but you can manage it.


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