Have you noticed that every time you eat cheese, ice cream, or other forms of dairy you experience abdominal pain, gas, or bloating? If so, you may have lactose intolerance, or an inability to properly digest dairy products, says Karen Kafer, RDN, a representative with the National Dairy Council.
But being lactose intolerant doesn’t mean you must forgo dairy at every meal. According to Kafer, the body produces an enzyme called lactase to help digest the lactose in milk. As we age, the body sometimes produces less lactase than it did from childhood, making it hard to break down dairy. However, many people with lactose intolerance can still tolerate at least 12 grams of lactose (equivalent to 1 cup of low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt) in one sitting, with little to no discomfort. So, being diagnosed with the condition simply means that you may need to moderate your intake.
If you’re like us, you’ve started to think more seriously about your diet than ever. And not just for weight loss purposes, but for the sake of optimum health and pinpointing which foods may be doing more harm than good.
My primary cause for concern is dairy as I was lactose intolerant growing up. Despite seemingly “outgrowing” my intolerance as an adult, I still notice that dairy can make me feel poor from time to time.
Lucky for me the National Dairy Council (NDC) is perking its ears to the cries of people like me and thousands of others who face similar intolerances. The good news is, these diet discrepancies don’t necessarily mean you have to give up dairy. It just means you have to learn which products may work best for you.
To spread the word about National Lactose Intolerance (LI) Month, the NDC held a Twitter party in late February to equip the LI population with helpful tools and resources to better manage their dietary needs. The council sought to inform the public of the important nutrients dairy can provide in our diets, as well as the many dairy products that those with LI can still consume. (more…)
Are you bad to your bones? There is a growing trend in the United States and Canada: calcium and vitamin D deficiency. Bone mass reaches its peak around age thirty so calcium and vitamin D are critical in helping you to prevent breaks or fractures down the road. As important as strong muscles are to your overall health, bones are what hold us together. Otherwise we’d just be a puddle on the ground. I’m hoping I can shed some light on all the benefits that calcium and vitamin D have to offer.
What is vitamin D and why do I need it?
Vitamin D is key in helping to produce strong bones. It also helps absorb calcium from the intestines so that is why you find so many products with the two in combo. The current recommendation depends on age, but for a woman age 18-30 you are looking at around 600 internal units (IUs) per day. Our bodies naturally convert vitamin D into a usable form from midday sun (between 10 am and 2 pm). People like me who live in northern parts of the world and get to see old man winter usually do not get enough midday sun to make our own vitamin D.
Lactose intolerance is difficult to diagnose because it has a lot of the same symptoms as milk allergies. However, while a milk allergy causes the body to react quickly, lactose intolerance is the impaired ability to digest lactose, or milk sugar, over time.
Green Valley Organics offers a line of lactose free yogurts and kefirs that you can use in some of your favorite recipes. And holiday eggnog? Well, there is no reason to miss out if you’re skipping dairy.
It’s important for everyone to get enough calcium, but women are especially at risk for calcium deficiency, which can lead to osteoporosis and decrease bone health later in life. Even though there is calcium in many of our favorite foods, it can still be difficult to meet the recommended daily allowance for the important mineral.
Dairy products provide calcium, but people with dairy allergies, lactose intolerance and vegans need to look to other food sources to fill their calcium needs. Foods high in calcium include: almonds, broccoli, spinach, cooked kale, canned salmon with the bones, sardines and tofu.