Lactose intolerance is not un-common and should you be diagnosed, you needn’t feel alone. Managing your lactose intolerance does not have to take over your life, it should not cause stress or anxiety and it should definitely not affect your social life. Being equipped with the knowledge on how to deal with your lactose intolerance is vital for managing and living with it. Below are some top tips for living with lactose intolerance daily.
Identify your tolerance level
Very often lactose intolerance doesn’t mean that you need to avoid milk and dairy products entirely. Identifying your tolerance level is essential to managing your symptoms and knowing when to call in help from Milkaid, a lactase enzyme food supplement. Research has shown that many people with lactose intolerance can tolerate around 12g of lactose in one dose. This is equivalent to 250ml of milk. Please remember this is a general guide and what works for you will depend on your lactose level and your gut bacteria.
Consume dairy as part of a meal
If you are going to be consuming dairy then it’s important to consume it as part of a meal or in conjunction with other foods containing sources of healthy fats. When lactose is consumed alongside healthy fats the metabolism of the lactose is slowed. This means that rather than delivering a sudden hit of lactose to the small intestine the lactose is drip fed and is therefore digested at a much slower rate.
Managing diarrhoea and vomiting
Managing Diarrhoea and vomiting are symptoms which are common amongst those with lactose intolerance. Diarrhoea and vomiting are risk factors for dehydration due to the large amount of fluid and electrolytes lost. Therefore, should you experience these symptoms it’s important that fluid is replaced in the form of water. Please note: this is not a case of the more water the better. If the diarrhoea and vomiting was mild then a few extra glasses of water will be enough. Alternatively, in more severe cases please seek personalised advice from your GP. It’s also recommended that you replace lost electrolytes. This would require adding extra fruit, vegetables and a pinch of salt to your next few meals.
Familiarise yourself with your favourite foods
In order to ensure that your social life isn’t affected by lactose intolerance it’s recommended that you familiarise yourself with your favourite foods so you know how they will cause your gut to behave. Start by reading food labels and look out for lactose or milk products in the ingredients (these should be highlighted in bold). Fermented options also contain less lactose so yoghurt, aged cheeses and kefir may be better options.
Never be afraid to ask
Lactose intolerance is not something to be embarrassed about. When you’re eating out always ask for the dairy information in food products, you’ll thank yourself later. You may also want to keep Milkaid chewable tablets in your bag so you know you can always do your best to manage your symptoms and for your own piece of mind.
High risk groups
Children, elderly and pregnant women are considered high risk groups when it comes to lactose intolerance. These sub-groups of the population require more calcium than other individuals. Therefore, managing lactose intolerance to ensure they’re not at risk of calcium deficiency is crucial. For children and elderly people who may struggle to swallow or eat enough calories, try combining milk in a shake with nut butter to slow down the metabolism of lactose. This can also increase the palatability of milk to ensure adequate calcium intakes. The requirement for pregnant females increases due to the growth of the foetus relying on the maternal nutrient stores – in simple terms, the growing baby takes his or her nutrients from Mum, so Mum needs to increase her calcium accordingly. Opting for non-dairy calcium rich foods alongside your dairy (based on your tolerance level) will help to ensure adequate stores. Edamame beans, tofu, almonds, chickpeas and spinach are sources high in calcium.
Finally, if you’re struggling to manage your lactose intolerance please seek personalised help from your GP.