The healthiest person in the world can be termed as one who can eat any food and who do not suffer from any illness. In this article on home remedies for lactose intolerance information will be given on the causes, symptoms and usage of simple foods from the kitchen/medicine cachet to get relief.
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There are foods you cannot include in the diet because your body is incapable of digesting its components. Lactose intolerance is one such simple ailment in which the body cannot digest lactose, the natural sugar found in dairy products and milk. The small intestine does not possess the ability to make more of the enzyme called as lactase. This enzyme is needed to either break down the lactose or digest it.
The symptoms can occur as a hereditary trait and is often seen during the adult or teen years. However, these individuals can eat small amounts of dairy products without any problems. An individual can also become intolerant to dairy products and milk because of suffering for a short duration, with illness like stomach flu or a long term disease like cystic fibrosis.
If you have undergone a surgery concerning the intestine, you can suffer from this body problem either temporarily or permanently.
In the rarest of rare cases, some of the new-borne babies can be intolerant of lactose. In this situation, the baby cannot drink or have any food with lactose. These symptoms will reduce in due course of time and when the baby grows into a teen, then he/she can have dairy products as part of their diet.
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The symptoms can be from mild to severe, according to your body condition. They can be seen from thirty minutes to two hours after consumption of dairy products. Some of the symptoms are:
- Cramps or pain
- Bloating in the stomach
- Rumbling sounds in the belly
- Diarrhea or loose stools
If case of extreme diarrhea, it is advised to consult a doctor to get relief from these symptoms.
Kindly note, this allergy cannot be misunderstood as food allergy to milk. There are, however, some people who do not possess the ability to digest any milk products. There are few who cannot drink or partake little or few milk products without any body challenges.
If you have milk allergy, minute consumption can lead to skin rashes, vomiting, puffy eyes, runny nose and breathing difficulties. Always remember, there exists no relation between a milk allergy (caused due to an immune response to protein) and intolerance to lactose (because of enzyme deficiency).
The intolerance is mostly seen in adults whereas the second one, milk allergy is found in children. A child can suffer from milk allergy in the first year and outgrow during the growth stages. There are, however, the rarest of cases in which milk allergy affects an individual from baby to adulthood.
Lactose tolerance is found commonly in people of African, Asian, Native Americans and South American descent. It is mandatory, if you avoid any of the diary products, to ensure that sufficient calcium is given to the body for healthy bones and teeth.
The effects can be mainly divided into two types:
Primary Lactose Intolerance
More amount of lactase is produced during the stages of birth and childhood. However, the quantity gets reduced, as the level of milk becomes reduced and the baby is introduced to various types of food.
Secondary Lactose Intolerance
The quantity of lactose may be reduced because of injury, surgery or illness. In case of illness, the prominent diseases are gastroenteritis or inflammatory bowel disease. If suitable precautions are followed as per the instructions of the physician, the symptoms of this ailment can be reduced and in due course of time, it can be healed.
Congenital Lactose Intolerance
This tolerance can happen only in the rarest of cases and it can usually be termed as a genetic or inherited condition called as ‘autosomal recessive.’ The problematic gene is transferred from the parents to the baby. Kindly note, babies born with this ailment cannot be fed breast milk and have to be supplemented by lactose-free formulas.
Ways To Check Lactase Intolerance
If you face belly pain, diarrhea or gas, the best way is to suspect lactose intolerance. You can, as the first step, avoid including all dairy products in the diet and check if the symptoms do not occur. Then, gradually include the dairy products to see if the symptoms recur.
If you are suffering from this ailment, the doctor might suggest a blood sugar test for confirmation. The biggest concern, as explained above, is to ensure you get all the nutrients that are in dairy products, notably calcium. This mineral is essential for pregnant women, women after menopause, children.
With all the advancements in medical science, you would be surprised to know there is no perfect cure for lactose intolerance. The best way, as experts say, is to limit the intake of foods, milk and products having lactose. Also kindly note that lactose are also found in cereals, sherbet, non-dairy creamers and cream soups.
Know The Intolerance Level To Lactose
The degree of intolerance varies from one individual to another. To find out, you can completely avoid consuming lactose products for a duration of three weeks to eliminate the sources from the digestive system. You can then begin to have small amount of cheese or milk in the diet. However, monitor the symptoms carefully for estimating the amount you can partake without any symptoms.
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1. Yogurt & Cheese
You can have cheese and yogurt, even if you do not have the essential amount of lactase in your system to digest lactose. Kindly take into account, full-fat dairy products have more amount of lactose in comparison to non-fat and low-fat varieties. Fat does its part by reducing the pace of movement of lactose in the digestive system. You can check the intolerance and symptom level if you have yogurt, quarter of an hour before consumption of dairy products.
The best remedy is to have probiotic yogurt having live cultures. They will assist you in digestion as they can break down lactose. Greek yogurt, in particular is known to have low amounts of lactose than the regular yogurt. The active cultures contain calcium that is essential for the body. The bacterial cultures also have some amount of lactase enzymes for proper digestion.
If the probiotics have acidophilus and lactic acid bacteria, then the lactose is broken down to short-chain fatty acids to be used by the colon. Some of the prominent lactic acid bacteria are as follows:
- Lactobacillus bulgaricus
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Lactobacillus reuteri
- Streptococcus thermophilus
- Streptococcus salivarius
- Lactobacillus plantarum
When you consume probiotics, bile acids in the intestine act on the bacteria’s cell wall in yogurt. The enzyme beta-galactosidase is released, and it promotes digestion of lactose.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
This ‘fluid’ can help in digestion if you do not suffer from severe symptoms of lactose intolerance. This method is also used as an effective remedy for neutralizing the acids in the stomach and for other digestive problems because of intolerance to lactose.
You can mix one tablespoon of unfiltered, raw apple cider vinegar with a glass of water.
Drink the mixture daily for at least a month to see the results.
How Does It Work?
The healing properties of vinegar can be attributed to the vitamins such as Vitamin C, A, E, B2, B6 as well as the protein, beta carotene. Since the preparation of apple cider vinegar is made through fermentation and the process is long, it has rich bioactive components such as catechin, acetic acid, epicatechin, caffeic acid. The acids assisting in digestion of lactose are isobutyric acid, propionic acid, lactic acid and acetic acid – they control the presence of harmful bacteria and yeasts in the stomach and the entire human body.
Another important constituent is the fiber pectin, known for its soothing properties on the gastrointestinal tract. It also assists in preventing bloating, gas and stomach cramps. The vinegar also assists the body to maintain a perfect alkaline pH level. For the body to be healthy, it has to be slightly acidic. More acidity can lead to fatigue and infection. ACV detoxifies the liver, thereby acting as a cleansing agent.
Not Good, If:
You are a diabetic. It might lower the blood sugar levels. You have to consult your doctor for dosage adjustments.
You are taking diuretic drugs. They will interact with ACV.
This root is known for reducing symptoms of nausea and abdominal discomfort.
You can add one teaspoon of ginger (gyrated) to a small cup of boiling water.
Let the mixture simmer for five minutes.
Strain the solution. You can add honey or lemon juice as a supplement.
Drink two to three cups of this mixture to get relief from the symptoms.
How Does It Work?
The medicinal anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger are known as gingerols and shogaol. Gingerol, in fact, assists in stimulating the saliva, bile as well as gastric juices for digestion. Since inflammation is reduced, the trapped digestive gases are gently released and bloating is prevented.
The wonder medicinal component of ginger is known as ‘zingerone’ for diarrhea. The other beneficial functions are – the food is easily moved into the digestive tract. In all, ginger (along with peppermint & chamomile) is known as a carminative (used for treating gas related problems).
Pain in the stomach because of intolerance to lactose can lead to other body ailments such as diarrhea and bloating.
You can add a tablespoon of leaves to one cup of boiling water.
Let the mixture simmer for ten minutes.
Steep the mixture.
Drink the mixture if the situation requires you to have dairy products.
How Does It Work?
The main medicinal component is menthol, known for aiding digestion. The antispasmodic properties and relaxants assist in relieving cramps as well as spasms in the bile duct, gall bladder and gastrointestinal tract. Since the passage is made clear, bloating and gas is prevented thus saving you from discomfort and pain.
The perfume of menthol compound can help soothe nerves, thus making it a perfect medicine for indigestion. It also gives the “I am full” feeling for the tummy.
You can add two teaspoons of chamomile flowers (dried) to half a cup of hot water.
Cover with a lid, let the mixture be steeped for five minutes.
You can then strain the liquid and drink the herbal tea for a few times a day, if you suffer from lactose intolerance.
How Does It Help?
Chamomile contains tannins that can compress the intestinal tract, thus, reducing pain and spasms. It also aids in the reduction of bloating and neutralize the gas effects. One of the chief constituents is bisabolol, and it relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract to aid proper digestion.
6. Cumin Seeds
Take two teaspoons of cumin seeds and four cups of water.
You can boil the mixture for ten minutes and allow it to cool.
You can strain the mixture.
Drink the warm mixture to get relief if you have ingested milk products and want to get relief.
How Does It Work?
Iron is found in abundance in cumin seeds. A vital component of hemoglobin, it transports oxygen from the main body part, lungs to the entire body. It is also required for metabolism and energy production.
The assistance in digestion comes at the initial stages, by cumin seeds, from the aromatic organic compound known as cuminaldehyde. This compound stimulates the salivary glands in the mouth thus facilitating the beginning stages of digestion.
The second important constituent is thymol, responsible for stimulating the glands that secrete enzymes, bile and acids. These components are essential for the digestion of food in the intestine. Magnesium and sodium are also present in cumin seeds – these two enhance digestion and relief from stomachaches if taken along with hot water.
Because it is rich in fiber, it is used as a natural laxative and for prevention of piles.
Not Good, If:
You have a blood clotting disorder. The situation might turn worse.
You are a diabetic. It is mandatory to check blood sugar levels, if you opt for this method. Cumin seeds interact with diabetic medications.
Known for its expensive price, it assists in eliminating the toxins from the bloodstream. The major benefits are it helps in digestion by improving the blood circulation in the digestive organs like the gallbladder, liver and spleen.
Take a teaspoon of saffron and a half a cup of water.
Boil the mixture for twenty minutes.
Separate the mixture into three parts. Drink every portion with the same amount of water per day.
How Does It Work?
It forms a coating on the membranes of stomach, colon and small intestine thereby preventing digestive problems. Also, formation of gas is prevented in the intestine. Some of the beneficial oils found in saffron are geraniol, pinene, cineole, terpinen-4-oil, and borneol. Saffron is known mostly as a blood purifier as well as anti-convulsant.
The important carotenoids present in saffron (Lycopene, Beta carotenes, zeaxanthin) provide immunity to the body from stress, infections and cancers.
Not Good, If
You take saffron in huge doses. The side effects can be severe, such as vomiting, bleeding from nose, eyelids, lips, numbness and other side effects.
You are pregnant. Large doses can result in miscarriage due to contraction in the uterus.
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You can substitute soy milk with cow’s milk. Agreed, the taste is different, but you will not suffer from symptoms of lactose indigestion.
You can have small servings of dairy products. Consume milk according to your body’s tolerance levels.
Lactose may also be present in certain medications and it is advisable to check with the physician in case you have doubts.
Non-consumption of milk or dairy products and negligence of required minerals can result in osteoporosis.
There are fewer cases of lactose intolerance in childhood, but it can affect a person during middle age.
There are some ethnic races, of African descent which are more prone to this disease.
In case of babies, there can be low symptoms of lactase, as they are fed more milk after the three month period.
Bacterial infection and celiac disease affecting the small intestine can also lead to this intolerance.
Individuals who have opted for radiation therapy in case of abdominal cancer are more prone to get affected with this disease.
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In case of babies, they will not display symptoms of intolerance to lactose before five years. In case of diarrhea/stomach pain after having breast milk, it is mandatory to talk to a physician. A thorough test is required to check the intolerance level. Chances are, you will be advised to stop all the sources of lactose for your baby.
Natural Remedy Vs Pharmacy
Assistance comes in form of a well-known brand pill known as Lactaid. It assists the body in breaking down dairy products. You can also find lactose free products in the supermarkets such as ice cream, cheese, milk and creamers. Some of the oral medications are Dairy Digestive oral, Lac-Dose oral etc. It is also found in drops such as the Lactase Drops.