Lactose intolerance can cause calcium lack

By Staff Writer • Published: February 15th, 2016
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Got milk? For some people with lactose intolerance, dairy products don’t have to be off the menu.

Lactose intolerance means that a person’s body doesn’t make enough lactase, which means he or she isn’t able to fully digest the milk sugar, or lactose, in dairy products. For folks who are lactose-intolerant, eating or drinking foods such as milk, ice cream or cheese can cause bloating, abdominal cramps and other intestinal issues.

To avoid symptoms like these, people with lactose intolerance sometimes shun dairy products altogether. If that’s the case, they need to find different sources of calcium and the other vitamins and nutrients available in dairy products. For example, broccoli, oranges and spinach are all great sources of calcium.

However, calcium isn’t the only important nutrient people gain from eating or drinking dairy. Vitamin D is also part of having a well-rounded diet. People with lactose intolerance can eat eggs, liver and some types of yogurt to get enough vitamin D.

The experts do have some advice for those looking to minimize symptoms of lactose intolerance. Save milk for meal times when you’re eating other foods. This slows the digestive process and may lessen symptoms. Also, experiment with an assortment of dairy products, as not all of them contain the same amount of lactose.

Lastly, watch out for hidden lactose. It’s common knowledge that ice cream and milk have lactose, but have you ever considered instant soups, cereal or salad dressings? Manufacturers often add milk and lactose to prepared foods, so be sure to check nutrition labels.

While researchers haven’t discovered a cure for lactose intolerance yet, people can find relief from symptoms by strategically reducing the amount of dairy they consume. With a careful eye on their diet, some who struggle with lactose intolerance can have their milk and drink it too.