Written by: Anielly Rocha – Intern at Dietitians of Palm Valley
What is lactose intolerance?
Milk products contain a form of natural sugar called lactose. In order for our bodies to digest this sugar lactose, our bodies produce a specific digestive protein or enzyme called lactase. People who are lactose intolerant do not produce the lactase enzyme to digest lactose. This happens for a variety of reasons which include genetics, digestive disorders, intestinal injury, and/or aging, which the body will naturally stop producing as much lactase as it used to. The increase of dairy consumption or more the lack of lactase can cause mild or severe nausea, cramping, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
If you suspect that you are lactose intolerant, make dairy the first thing you test. Avoid milk and anything containing milk for three to five days. If your symptoms disappear completely, you’re most likely lactose intolerant, of course a doctor will be able to test and confirm a diagnosis. Many people with lactose intolerance can still consume hard, aged cheeses as well as lactose-reduced milk products without symptoms as they contain little amounts of lactose. Lactase enzyme in a tablet or liquid form also exists to reduce digestive troubles. However if you are considering going dairy free or cutting down calories without sacrificing taste; here is a small review of a few milk alternatives and a great nutritiously balanced summer smoothie recipe to help you start!
Nutritionally, all varieties provide the same if not more vitamin D and calcium than regular cow’s milk per serving! The main difference is the protein content and of course taste.
– Almond milk is a personal favorite, it tastes slightly creamy with a touch of nutty. It has the least amount of calories, fortified with vitamin E, calcium, and vitamins A and D. However it does lack the fiber and protein that is found in the nut unfortunately.
– Soy milk has a sweeter and creamier taste. The great thing about soy is that it has the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, along with all the other nutrients, which makes it a great dairy replacement.
– Coconut milk beverage is low in calories and fat free. Most are fortified with vitamin B12 which is a vitamin found in animal products, this makes it easier for vegans and vegetarians to obtain b12.
– Rice milk is lighter in taste, sweet and a little more watered down than the rest. It is a great source of carbohydrates, which is great for energy before a workout for example, however it is low in protein content.
Summer Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie
– 1 cups unsweetened almond coconut milk blend
– 1/2 (8-ounce) container vanilla coconut yogurt alternative
– 1/2 cup pineapple frozen fruit
– 1 cups fresh strawberries
– 1/2 frozen banana, coarsely chopped
– 1Tbs of chia seeds or protein powder
– Place all ingredients in a blender. Mix until smooth and thoroughly blended.
– Serve immediately and enjoy!
Think you are lactose-intolerant and feeling overwhelmed? No worries! Click Here to contact Dietitians of Palm Valley today!