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Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk and in most dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant have inadequate lactase, which can help in digesting lactose. For this reason, they suffer from diarrhea, stomach aches, and others right after taking in dairy products. However, their intolerance differs from their levels of sensitivity to lactose. Some can put up with small amounts of dairy products while some individuals may respond rigorously that they decide to completely stay away from them.
Signs that you are lactose intolerant
You cannot confirm if you are truly suffering from this condition without the help of your doctor, who will let you undergo some tests. However, common symptoms include stomach rumbling, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bloated stomach. The occurrence and severity of the symptoms depend on the amount of lactose that you have taken in. All these take place right after you have consumed foods that contain lactose.
Tests to confirm your intolerance to lactose
If you suspect that you are lactose intolerant, you may go to your doctor. He will ask you several questions; provide him with honest answers. Before making a clinic or hospital visit, though, ask your parents about the family’s medical history as you may be asked about this. Your physician may also conduct a physical examination. He may also request for hydrogen breath test or lactose tolerance test to confirm his diagnosis.
What to do when you are lactose intolerant
Lactose intolerance has no cure but you can address the symptoms appropriately. When you are lactose intolerant, you will have to avoid consuming certain foods. In fact, you will need to have a list of those that you can eat and those that you should definitely stay away from. These include butter, chip dip, some bread, cheese, ice cream, mayonnaise and other condiments, and chicken injected with butter.
On the other hand, you can buy milk, ice cream, and others that are free from lactose. Depending on your condition, you may take in foods that are low in lactose like aged cheese and yogurt or you may forget about dairy products for the rest of your life. Some are prescribed with lactase pill by their doctors before taking in dairy so you can go to your physician and ask about this.
When cooking, replace butter with cooking oil. But for healthy oil choices, you should opt for olive oil, peanut oil, and others. If milk is an ingredient, substitute it with rice milk, soy milk, and almond milk. Likewise, include dairy-free and calcium-rich foods in your recipe: cabbage, tofu, beans, and others. When buying ingredients for your menu, you must read product labels cautiously to make sure that these contain low or no amount of dairy.
Being lactose intolerant does not indicate a low quality of life. You are only limited to some foods and drinks but you can still eat some of your favorite foods. You can still enjoy cooking and doing grocery shopping but you will have to choose those that are free of lactose.