What is Lactose Intolerance?
Lactose intolerance (LI) is the inability to digest lactose, which is a natural sugar in dairy products. People with LI may experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, gas and stomach cramps when they ingest dairy. This can be the result of the person not having enough lactase to digest the lactose or not being able to absorb the lactose in the body. Contrary to some beliefs, LI is not an allergy to lactose or dairy. It simply means that you are not able to break down or absorb lactose.
How to Enjoy Dairy if you are Lactose Intolerant
It’s important to remember that many people with LI may be able to enjoy dairy as long as they can avoid the discomfort associated with consuming it.
Lactose Intolerance Tips
- Try lactose-free milk and milk products. They are real milk products, just without the lactose, and provide the same great nutrients as regular dairy products.
- Start with a small amount of milk daily and increase slowly over several days or weeks to increase tolerance.
- Mix milk with other foods, such as smoothies, soups or sauces – or pair it with meals. This helps give your body more time to digest it.
- Top sandwiches or crackers with natural cheeses such as Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss. These cheeses are low in lactose.
- Shred your favorite natural cheese onto soups, pastas and salads. It’s an easy way to incorporate a serving of dairy that is low in lactose.
- Enjoy easy-to-digest yogurt. The live and active cultures in yogurt help to digest lactose.