Food Alternatives for Lactose Intolerance

Photo Credit: Stefan Kühn CC-BY-SA-3.0 2004

Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose. Lactose is found in milk and foods made with milk. Other foods that contain lactose include some breads, pancakes, cookies, waffles, doughnuts, pastries and breakfast cereals. Processed meats, such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats also contain lactose. Margarine, salad dressings and whipped topping made with milk as well as ice cream, cheese and butter all contain lactose. Because lactose is found in so many foods, it can be difficult for the lactose intolerant person to get enough calcium, potassium and vitamin D. There are good alternative natural food sources of these nutrients. There are also alternatives to milk that are lactose-free and fortified with the vitamins and minerals found in regular milk and milk products. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium for strong teeth and bones, and as such is a critical nutrient. 
Salmon and sardines are rich sources of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Green vegetables, including broccoli, spinach and kale greens are loaded with calcium as well. Soy and almond milk fortified with vitamin D, potassium and calcium can satisfy the daily recommended allowances of these important nutrients. Bananas are a good source of vitamins and minerals including potassium, calcium and manganese. Eggs are also a good source of vitamin D as well as protein. Most lactose intolerant adults can get enough vitamin D and calcium by eating fortified foods, fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and by choosing lactose-free milk alternatives. 

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