Can't Tolerate Dairy? You Still Need Calcium in Your Diet

Published: 03rd June 2010
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Let's say you've tried to cut down on dairy in your diet, or eliminate it altogether, to help relieve the digestive discomfort caused by lactose intolerance. Anyone who has had episodes of the gas, bloating, pain and diarrhea that occur from consuming milk appreciates how important it can be to avoid foods with dairy.



Let's also assume you've had some success managing your lactose intolerance, with the downside being you can no longer enjoy some of your favorite foods, like cheese, pizza, and ice cream. Unfortunately, there's another drawback to not eating dairy: you may not be getting enough calcium in your diet. We all need adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D - nutrients found in milk and dairy products - to maintain bone development and strength.



Many people who are lactose intolerant and who are also aware of the importance of calcium in their diets make an effort to continue to drink milk and eat dairy. Some of them try taking Lactaid® to manage the digestive discomfort that goes along with consuming dairy. Others have had success with Lactagen®, a program which combats lactose intolerance by actually changing the way you digest lactose.



But if you have symptoms of dairy intolerance and are simply trying to avoid eating dairy, you are likely to be missing out on vital nutrients. The truth is, you don't have to put up with the painful symptoms of lactose intolerance and worry about calcium deficiency in your diet.



Here are some foods that contain significant amounts of calcium but no dairy:

• Nuts

• Broccoli

• Papaya

• Spinach

• Sesame Seeds

• Kale

• Blackstrap Molasses

• Celery

• Oranges

• Sardines

• Calcium-enriched drinks, such as rice milk, cranberry juice and apple juice



You may also want to look into taking calcium supplements to replace dairy in your diet, but be sure to do your research on which supplements are right for you. Of course, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should check with their health care professionals about avoiding dairy or taking supplements to meet their nutritional needs.



For those who are trying to manage lactose intolerance as part of maintaining their overall health and well being, keep in mind that the need for calcium is part of the picture. As long as you are giving up dairy in an effort to manage your lactose intolerance, look for ways to naturally obtain adequate amounts of calcium from your diet.



The author specializes in the topic of lactose intolerance, and has found helpful information using online communities.

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