The Importance of Dairy

It’s commonly understood that dairy is a particularly important component of the diet in childhood due to its calcium content. Although, as individuals age it appears that the emphasis on the importance of dairy is often reduced over time. Whilst calcium is vital for overall health, particularly bones and teeth, dairy has many more beneficial micronutrients which are outlined in this article.

A diagnosis of lactose intolerance can be daunting, confusing and may leave you feeling a little lost. This initial response is normal, and it may take a while to find your feet with living with lactose intolerance. In the first instance it’s easy to feel that you should cut out all products containing lactose. However, in doing so there is a risk of deficiencies. In some cases, this may be the best option, although it’s important to be aware of the nutritional deficiency risks which are associated with doing so. Highlighted below are the most poignant micronutrients found in dairy products.

Calcium
As you’re likely aware, calcium plays a vital role in teeth and bone health but it’s also pivotal in supporting muscle contractions, nerve impulses, regulating heart rate and maintaining a healthy fluid balance within the cells. Calcium can be found in smaller amounts in other dietary sources including almonds, tofu, green leafy vegetables and nuts and seeds. If you’re limiting your dairy intake it’s recommended to ensure you’re consuming a variety of these calcium rich foods.

Vitamin D
Technically speaking Vitamin D is a hormone and not a vitamin. The reason for this is, is that it functions as a hormone by regulating other factors in the body. Vitamin D regulates the amount of calcium in the blood and is vital for the absorption of calcium. This hormone is often referred to as the summertime vitamin as the main source is the exposure to UV rays from the sun. During the winter months it is recommended to supplement with 10ųg of vitamin D daily as it’s difficult to obtain enough through the diet. Dietary sources of Vitamin D are very limited with the few including milk, mushrooms and salmon.

Iodine
This micronutrient is one which is often left out. Iodine is heavily involved with managing the thyroid function. The thyroid is a gland in the neck which is responsible for regulating your metabolic rate i.e. the amount of energy you burn daily. Additionally, iodine plays a pivotal role in cognitive development at a young age. If your child has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance, it’s important to ensure that they are either consuming dairy products with the help of Milkaid® or ensuring that they’re getting iodine elsewhere in the diet. Other dietary sources include prunes, white fish and seaweed (in moderation). It isn’t recommended to supplement with iodine due to risk of toxicity.

Vitamin B12
This vitamin is often associated with meat and fish albeit dairy is also a rich source too. Vitamin B12 plays a fundamental role in maintaining energy through metabolism, supporting healthy blood cell function and the generation of DNA. A deficiency in vitamin B12 can pose a risk of megaloblastic anaemia which is a type of anaemia leaving you feeling fatigued and weak.

Evidently there are some crucial micronutrients found in dairy that makes cutting dairy out of your diet a risk factor for potential deficiencies. Dairy can also provide pre and probiotic benefits meaning they can contribute to a healthy gut microbiome which is associated with multiple different health outcomes. If you are cutting out dairy as a treatment for lactose intolerance, please seek professional advice to prevent the risk of deficiencies.

For more information in managing your symptoms and living with lactose intolerance head over to some of our other articles. Milkaid aids digestion so you can enjoy the goodness of milk and dairy foods again. Milkaid Drops contain lactase enzyme, a safe natural enzyme that is usually found in the digestive system. It works by breaking down the complex milk sugar lactose, into two more easily digestible sugars – glucose and galactose. You can now enjoy milk and dairy foods again, without upset.

Simply add three drops of Milkaid lactase enzyme to 500ml of milk, gently shake, refrigerate for 24 hours and it is ready to use in cooking, beverages and cereals, hot or cold.

Milkaid Tablets contain lactase enzyme and are raspberry flavoured chewable tablets. Each tablet contains lactase 3000 ALU and is free from artificial flavours, gluten, yeast or lactose. Milkaid Tablets are designed to work in the acid environment of the stomach and are convenient when eating out. Chew 1-2 tablets immediately before consuming any food containing lactose.

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