Health Tips: Is Lactose Good for You?

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Health-Related Effects of Lactose in Your Diet

What is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose is a type of sugar, primarily found in milk and most dairy products, which might not always be good for your health.

Lactose intolerance is the inability to fully digest lactose (sugar) in dairy products. This means the body cannot produce adequate lactase (an enzyme in the inside layer of the small intestine, that digests and breaks down lactose).

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According to The College of Medicine, Ibadan, Nigeria, lactose intolerance is very common in Nigeria, with over 1.5 million cases per year. Quite typically, this digestive disorder has no cure, though treatment can go a long way in managing its effects. Treatment is focused on avoiding dairy products which implies consuming only lactose-free products, or the use of lactase supplements.

The disorder is typically self-diagnosable, though it can last a very long time, and, in some cases, could be life-long. A person with a pronounced case of lactose intolerance would need to avoid not just milk and milk products, but also other foods made with milk derivatives.

How do I know if I am Lactose Intolerant?

People who are lactose intolerant usually experience some symptoms after consuming milk or dairy products that contain lactose. These symptoms can vary from mild abdominal discomfort to a more serious reaction. The amount of lactose consumed is an important factor.

Other symptoms could include: flatulence, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. In addition, constipation, characterized by hard, sporadic stooling, is a common symptom. One can also have feelings of incomplete bowel movements or extreme straining while in the toilet.

People with symptoms of lactose intolerance should keep a food diary Click To Tweet

People with symptoms of lactose intolerance should keep a food diary, having a detailed account of food consumption and symptoms as they appear. This can help with diagnosis before consulting a physician. It is also advisable to try a lactose-free diet for a few weeks, to see if the symptoms improve.

Stay tuned for the second part of Health Tips!

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