Why Lactose Intolerance is Becoming More Common and How Probiotics Can Help
We are always told milk is good for us and that it is a rich source of calcium. But each day It seems like more people are telling me that they are lactose intolerant. So what exactly does it mean to be lactose intolerant? It is when the body cannot break down lactose (a milk sugar) commonly found in cow’s milk. Lactose is found in the watery part of milk so typically there is not much of it in cheese. The harder the cheese the less lactose it contains. The softer it is, the more lactose there is. Same goes for other dairy products.
So why is it that people are becoming lactose intolerant? The simple answer is a deficiency in the body’s ability to produce lactase. There are several reasons. The first, is genetic. There is a gene that some people are born with that causes a low production of lactase. Lactase is an enzyme that the body naturally produces to break down milk sugar. It is produced more as we are infants, and less as we get older and enter adulthood. Other reasons for deficiency may include the way that milk is processed (especially with added hormones), a breakdown in the lining of the small intestine, habits of consuming sugary foods and beverages over time eat away at the intestinal lining,an imbalance of good bacteria vs, bad bacteria in the intestines, and poor elimination causing stagnation in the intestines. All of these reasons can contribute to lactose intolerance.
How do you know if you are lactose intolerant? A few of the symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, indigestion and nausea.
What are some good alternatives for calcium? Almond and Coconut milk are my top recommended alternatives. I don’t recommend Soy milk so much because due to the way it is produced, it is high in estrogen, which can contribute to other diseases and ailments. Calcium can be found in Almonds or almond milk, leafy greens like spinach and kale, figs, soybeans, and orange juice, among other nutritious foods.
Why Probiotics will help:
- Probiotics are the good bacteria our body needs to fight off viruses and bacteria, they boost our immune system
- They balance the good and bad bacteria to keep the body working optimally
- Increase body’s ability to produce vitamins and minerals that make our digestive system work properly
If you suspect you are even slightly lactose intolerant, or even if not, it is a good idea to start introducing healthy alternatives to drinking milk or consuming dairy products and taking a probiotic supplement regularly. Your benefits will include: faster and easier digestion, less abdominal discomfort, less inflammation throughout your body, less weight gain, and maybe even increased energy because well of course you will be feeling better!!