Many of the foods that we enjoy in the world are made using milk, cheese and other types of dairy. But imagine having to adjust how you prepare favorite foods like pizza, cheeseburgers and some Italian pasta dishes.
There are people who are either born with or develop lactose intolerance – which is where the body has problems with being able to digest the natural sugar better known as lactose.
People who are dealing with this condition do not have the lactase enzymes – which are often produced in the smaller intestine – that are required to properly break down the lactose from dairy foods. That production can be part of the short-term effects of a stomach flu or the result of a lifelong condition like cystic fibrosis.
The symptoms begin when the improperly digested lactose travels through the intestines and can make people either have to limit their dairy consumption or completely eliminate it.
It is a common condition for several adults and can cause quite a challenge for people who need the calcium for their bones but need to find dairy alternatives.
It is also something that can be passed from generation to generation within a family bloodline. Then there are some cases where babies born prematurely are temporarily intolerant due to not being able to produce the lactase needed to digest breastmilk or dairy-based formulas.
It seems like this can be a difficult burden to live with, but there are several ways you can naturally help alleviate the side effects of lactose intolerance – that way you don’t have to rely on synthetically manufactured medicines and pharmaceuticals.
Common forms of lactose intolerance
Bacterial gastroenteritis – This gut infection can actually lead to the inflammation of your stomach and the intestinal tract that can lead to a combination of vomiting, diarrhea and extremely painful cramps – many of what you would think is a form of food poisoning. Causes can also come from not having proper hygiene or eating food that is contaminated with toxins and other types of negative bacteria.
Crohn’s disease – This is a chronic stomach and intestinal condition where there is an inflammation that can occur anywhere from the esophagus to the colon – but it most commonly occurs in the large intestinal tract. This has no cure and can the side effects can only be alleviated and there might be times where there could be a remission period without the symptoms – which include abdominal pains, diarrhea and blood in the stools.
Celiac disease – Described as a gluten intolerance, people with this condition cannot handle enjoying the protein that helps compose wheat, rye, barley and other grains and oats. It is a very common ingredient that is used in a number of medicines, vitamin supplements and even makeup products. This condition will actually react to gluten and will damage the villi of the small intestines to the point of not being able to absorb nutrients from food in digestion.
Cystic fibrosis – This disorder can lead to a number of bigger health problems that affect various vital organs – heart, lungs and pancreas – that can eventually lead to possible death. The cells known for being able to help produce juices to digest food are damaged and can actually be clogged up to not only prevent production but the backup can leak to other parts of the body.
Why should you use natural remedies to treat lactose intolerance?
There are a large number of treatments that are either prescribed by a primary health care physician or are available over the counter at a number of retail pharmacies that can often include a number of artificially manufactured chemicals that have sometimes been found to cause a number of negative health problems that will make a case of lactose intolerance seem like a minor issue.
In addition to having a safer way to help reduce and eliminate the side effects of lactose intolerance, using supplements and other treatment options that are 100 percent natural provide a number of added benefits that can affect any other conditions you are dealing – you may find that you are more active and losing weight while also improving how the amount of essential vitamins and minerals that can give your body a boost in energy, cognitive functions and other capabilities.
Common symptoms of lactose intolerance
The most common side effects and symptoms that result from a lactose intolerance reaction include pains and cramps within the stomach region, which are often accompanied by a combination of gurgling, rumbling and other strange sounds emanating from your belly. Bloating and gas secretion are also very common effects.
Among the very severe side effects of lactose intolerance includes diarrhea, other forms of looser stools and vomiting – some people may have a combination of all of the above. These symptoms can range in how they feel from being somewhat mild to excruciating levels that can make it impossible to accomplish tasks around the house or office.
In most cases, these effects will take place anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours after eating or drinking something with dairy, including milk, cheese and yogurt.
Option 1 – Consider adding lactase supplements to daily routine
Considering that a big reason for why your body is having trouble digesting lactose is actually due to the body not being able to produce the lactase to break it down, there are a number of supplements out on the market which can help replace the lactase that your body has been unable to produce.
One option is to go with an enzyme powder that can be added to milk, or even a liquid that you use a dropper for, to help you digest properly.
The one thing about adding the drops of the lactase enzymes is that you have to do so at least one day ahead of time before consuming the milk – that way, you are giving the supplement more time to make sure it will work properly. There are also a number of different tablets that you can take right after eating or drinking something with dairy in it to help provide the lactase your body will need.
Option 2 – The power of chocolate
We all know how good chocolate can be and any excuse we have to enjoy it, many of us will. If that is you, then this will be some great news.
There have been a number of scientific and clinical trials where experts have found that the sugars found within cocoa powder, or any other type of powdered chocolate, can help one properly process lactose within the digestive tract. What happens is that the stomach’s rate in which it empties the digested foods into the next step inside the intestines is done more slowly than normal.
This change in the emptying rate will actually allow lesser amounts of that lactose to enter your intestinal tract at one time and that means your symptoms will be less often or might not even pop up at all. If you don’t like mixing the powder to your milk, you can get the same benefits while also making sure you are getting the calcium and protein to your bones and muscles faster thanks to the sugar from the added cocoa.
Option 3 – Open up some of those canned food items
Maybe not the most attractive concept, but eating sardines is just as effective to get everything that you need without having to go through the pains of dairy – a great way to avoid getting the symptoms in the first place. Sardines have a large amount of calcium, which might be something you don’t have enough of if you are actually avoiding milk and dairy altogether.
There are also a number of different canned foods that offer some of the same healing benefits you can get from calcium without dealing with having to ingest more dairy. These include salmon, vegetables that are dark green and leafy, nuts, pre-cooked lentils (i.e. beans), dried fruit and tofu.
Option 4 – If you’re going with cheese, go hard
You might be wondering why one would recommend consuming any form of dairy if that’s what is actually causing you to have the lactose intolerance issues you are dealing with in the first place. But there are some cheeses that you can actually enjoy without having to deal with the effects that the lactose is causing within your digestive system.
If you go with a hard cheese like Swiss, cheddar or Colby, you are selecting a type that does not have a lot of lactose within it. Not as much as some of the softer cheeses like mozzarella, brie or any other kind that has more of a creamy consistency.
You should also avoid any form of cottage cheese and anything that is processed (i.e. those yellow, individually wrapped squares). The taste might not be as good, but these cheeses are actually quite wonderful in a number of sandwiches, burgers and wraps.
Options 5 – My big fat Greek yogurt
With the most scientific support after several clinical research trials, yogurt is found to have a large amount of active cultures that provide the calcium your body needs to fight off the effects of lactose intolerance, despite the fact that there is still a lot of lactose in yogurt because it is a dairy product.
So why is yogurt on the list of natural remedies? Because it’s a food that doesn’t need artificial sweeteners or other synthetic ingredients to compose the yogurt. It is also has the right amount of lactase enzymes inside with those live cultures that can help you properly digest most dairy that you consume. There are even more enzymes and cultures when you go with a Greek yogurt instead of just any other type you find in the grocery store.
Option 6 – Add probiotics as a natural supplement
Research trials have discovered that using probiotics with foods like the yogurt mentioned earlier will help increase the production of several beneficial bacteria that will help reduce the effects and symptoms of lactose intolerance.
These bacteria strains will also help you be able to improve the metabolic activity of microbiota inside your colon and can also help your body be more able to create more lactase to better process the incoming lactose.
The more you use probiotics as a daily supplement, the more your stomach and digestive system will be better equipped for taking on the lactose you consume in the future – which will mean the end of dealing with the pains, aches and other lactose intolerance symptoms so that you can live a much healthier and care-free life.
When starting to add probiotics to your daily routine, you will want to start off slow and work your way up gradually so that you can steadily build up your tolerance to dairy products. You have to crawl before your stand and walk. A good one to start out with is a probiotic that comes with a bifidobacterium lignum that helps the body’s metabolism better process the lactose you consumed.
Option 7 – Organic and raw provides 100 percent natural benefits
There has been scientific research that has found that drinking raw milk, as opposed to the processed, pasteurized and homogenized milk in most grocery stores, can be easily enjoyed and digested by people who have lactose intolerance. There are some experts who do have questions about this method because there are mixed reviews.
Yet on paper, the raw milk has a lot more natural cultures and enzymes that are kept straight from the cow and put in the bottle. Because of that, there are a number of families that prefer to go with the raw milk option. These can be found in a variety of natural health food stores, just expect to pay a much higher price than you would for the Vitamin D milk found in the normal neighborhood grocery store.
Option 8 – Add some apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is considered one of the best things to help you decrease or completely eliminate the issues of lactose intolerance thanks to the ability to balance out one’s digestive system and help in dealing with the lactose processing through the colon.
The way you want to take this is to add about a quarter of a teaspoon of baking soda to the apple cider vinegar and then combining that mixture with a glass of water. You may want to plan for several weeks of this daily use before starting to notice the improvements in your ability to digest dairy products – that means you need to remain committed to the treatment and try not to skip a day.
Option 9 – Coconut oil as a replacement for dairy use
This is one of the easiest ways to help reduce the lactose intolerance that you might be dealing with by adding about one or two teaspoons of virgin coconut oil in your daily routine. For one thing, there are a number of different ways you can add coconut oil to your cooking.
For example, you can use it as a replacement for butter when making macaroni and cheese, baking cookies or other deserts. You can also use this oil to help grease a skillet for pancakes for an even tastier treat at breakfast.
Option 10 – Adding fermented foods to your diet
In addition to adding fermented dairy products with the live cultures in your yogurt, you can also try eating a number of good bacteria found in fermented foods that use cabbage to create popular items like sauerkraut and kimchi in an effort to help your stomach be better able to have the enzymes for proper digestion and to make it regulated more efficiently. You can also drink juice from sauerkraut for added benefits. This can take a few weeks to start seeing the effects.
There are a lot of different ways that you can naturally reduce and prevent the negative effects that lactose intolerance can bring to your body. So how do you choose the best option that is the most efficient in working for you? That can be quite a challenging question to answer when you consider that each individual body can have a unique physical composition.
The best thing that you can do in your search for what works is to try out different items and foods. When doing this, give each method some time and chronicle the effects of the day so that you can track and compare what each method does and doesn’t do. You are also giving yourself, and your digestive system, a chance to see how you can benefit from including different probiotics and combining them with bacteria that ferments the lactose for a better serving of yogurt.
You may find that you don’t like the taste of the yogurt mixture and would rather eat canned fish. If it works, go for it. Everyone has different reactions to natural treatment methods, just like they have different food allergies and preferences.