Lactose intolerance does not affect the consumption of milk and dairy products, however, there are some precautions to be taken in the diet. Here's what to eat.
In the milk there is a sugar called lactose which, in order to be digested, needs an enzyme: lactase. The activity of this enzyme is maximum in infants and tends to decrease with increasing age. When there is a decrease in lactase activity, undigested lactose remains in the intestine.
This phenomenon is known as poor digestion of lactose. It should be remembered, however, that poorly digested lactose does not necessarily entail symptoms, but lactose intolerance should only be talked about if there are health problems. Let's see what they are and what to eat if you are lactose intolerant.
How lactose intolerance occurs
There is talk of lactose intolerance when malabsorption is associated with manifestations such as swelling, abdominal pain, borborygmi and diarrhea.
The degree of lactose intolerance is highly variable between individuals and is influenced by numerous factors, including the dose, the composition of the meal, the intestinal transit time and the capacity of the intestinal microbiota. The symptoms of lactose intolerance generally do not occur until lactase activity reaches levels below 50%.
What to consume in case of lactose intolerance?
Lactose intolerance does not require the elimination of milk a priori but can be managed in different ways. First of all, you can consume yogurt, drink fermented milk or eat mature cheeses. In addition, milk can be taken together with other foods to reduce the risks, for example during breakfast. The goal is to slow down intestinal transit by facilitating the digestion of lactose. Finally, if you are intolerant, you can consume lactose-free milk, which is a valuable aid in severe cases.
Lactose-free milk can be purchased in stores. Alternatively, a similar product can be obtained at home through the use of lactase supplements to be dissolved in milk or the supplement can be taken just before milk consumption and thus allow digestion.
Milk allergy and intolerance: what is the difference
Intolerance should not be confused with allergy to milk, which unlike the former provides an immunological reaction, mediated by antibodies, to milk proteins, which are recognized by our body which carries out a defense reaction.
The first allergic manifestation can generally occur in the first year of life through various symptoms such as malaise, vomiting and, subsequently, diffuse urticaria, atopic dermatitis, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Fortunately, it tends to disappear with age: 60-75% heal within two years, while 80-85% within three years, 90% at 5 years old, and 95% at 10 years old.
What is Milk in Schools?
To bring children closer to milk and dairy products, the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies implements the Milk education program in schools, funded by the European Union. The program offers pupils of Italian primary schools a series of guided tastings of milk and dairy products such as yogurt and cheeses. In this way, we intend to accompany the little ones on a real journey to discover the qualities of milk, so that they can insert this product and its derivatives into daily nutrition at all stages of life.