LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

LACTOSE INTOLERANCE

Some of us don’t produce enough of the enzyme lactase, which helps break down the sugar (lactose) found in dairy foods (and certain other foods; see below).

Do you have gas, bloating, cramps, and/or diarrhea after eating dairy foods or drinking milk? If so, you may be lactose intolerant. How do you know for sure?

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Your health care professional can help you determine this.

Tips for getting enough calcium if you are lactose intolerant (or prefer to avoid milk):

1. Eat broccoli, collard greens, kale, turnip greens, mustard greens, and bok choy: good sources of calcium.

2. Calcium-fortified soy products (soy milk, tofu, and soy yogurt) are nondairy sources of calcium.

3. Calcium-fortified juices and cereals are also available. It’s a good idea to stick to only a small glass (about 3/4 cup) of juice a day, so you can’t rely on juice for all your calcium.

Ask your health care professional if he or she recommends that you take a calcium supplement. Or maybe he or she will suggest that you add a little extra lactase to your meals. Lactase can be purchased without a prescription. It comes in liquid, chewable, or capsule form. If your health care professional recommends it, take a lactase tablet before drinking milk or eating other dairy products, add lactase drops to milk, or buy milk that has been treated with the enzyme.

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