DAIRY NUTRITION FOR THE LACTOSE INTOLERANT
Think of milk, yoghurt and cheese and nutrition comes to mind; think of buttermilk, chocolate milk and fruit smoothies and taste comes to mind; think of lactose intolerance and a gloom surrounds the mind. Dairy has become such an integral part of our lives that it is hard to imagine living without their health and flavour. And yet for those of us whose lot is spoiled by lactose intolerance, dairy products are a lost cause, aren’t they? Well… Not quite!
Turns out, lactose intolerance isn’t dairy intolerance though it is often confused with milk allergies. Lactose intolerance is not an allergic reaction to dairy foods; it is an inability to digest milk sugar, lactose, due to absence of an enzyme in the body. And while the whole range of dairy nutrition and taste may not be accessible to those who are lactose intolerant, they can savour enough of it to bask in its advantages. Here are the dairy products which shouldn’t be off your diet even if you are lactose intolerant.
Lactose-free and low-lactose milks are readily available and are as nutritionally rich as standard milk. Another third variant is the lactase-added milk. Lactase is the enzyme that breaks down the sugar in milk. Lactase milk is also equal to standard milk, apart from its slightly sweeter taste.
Milk from mammals contains lactose, so a viable option for lactose intolerant people is plant milk. Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk don’t contain as much calcium as natural milk but are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Almond milk is rich in magnesium and vitamin E. Rice milk has almost no saturated fat and plenty of vitamin B12. Those looking for calcium can opt for soy milk, which may have up to 500 mg of calcium in a serving.
Looking for high calcium, low lactose and probiotic benefits? Go no further than yoghurt! Much of the lactose in yoghurt is broken down by its ‘good’ bacteria, thanks to the live bacterial cultures. However, frozen yoghurt is devoid of this and therefore can contain a decent amount of lactose.
Options of lactose-free and low-lactose cheese exist, but natural cheese isn’t prohibited either – given that you be careful. Hard, aged cheeses like Swiss, parmesan, and cheddars contain low amounts of lactose; other low-lactose cheese options include cottage cheese or feta cheese made from goat or sheep’s milk. Certain types of cheese – especially soft or creamy ones like Brie – contain higher amount of lactose.
Lactose intolerant people can add to the flavours of their routine dishes with these dairy options to discover a whole new realm of health and taste. Most people with lactose intolerance can comfortably consume up to 1 cup of milk every day and certain dairy products with minimal or no symptoms, but after carefully checking their intensity level for consuming dairy foods. Remember that lactose intolerance isn’t dairy intolerance, because we all know God wouldn’t make something as good as dairy and then deprive some of us of it.