Lactose Intolerance in Children
Do Milk and milk products cause discomfort to your child? May be its time to look at Lactose Intolerance…
Does your child have a bout of diarrhea, stomach cramps, gas, bloating, nausea or general discomfort after having a glass of milk, milk shake or a scoop of ice cream? Well, this could be because your child's digestive system is unable to digest Milk and Milk products...
What is Lactose Intolerance?
Milk contains natural sugars called Lactose along with other nutrients. In some cases, the body does not produce sufficient digestive substances or enzymes required to digest the Milk and Milk products. This incomplete digestion leads to gas, cramps, abdominal pain, vomiting, loose motions etc. this after about 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming milk / Milk products. This is a fairly common condition amongst children and adults as well.
Lactose intolerance should not be confused with Milk Allergy. The symptoms of milk allergy might include skin irritation, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, runny nose etc. Milk Allergy can be a serious issue, whereas Lactose Intolerance symptoms are mainly stomach / digestion related, and are temporary in nature.
In some kids, the symptoms of Lactose Intolerance can be very severe and their systems cannot tolerate even a small amount of milk or milk products. For others, the symptoms can be mild and they just have to reduce the amount of dairy products they consume. So if your child is in discomfort after drinking that tall glass of milk, then maybe you should consider cutting down the quantity and frequency of milk intake.
Lactose intolerance does not mean one must cut out milk and milk products completely. Depending on how well or how much quantity your child can consume without any discomfort should be an indicator as to how well their body can digest.
In Indian households, milk is considered to be a very important component in a child's diet. I'm sure; all mothers would love to see their child finishing off the mandatory glass of milk, without a fuss. So how do we replace milk and milk products, so as not lose out on the nutritional benefits?
Milk is a good source of Protein and Calcium. You can substitute milk in the form of curd/ yoghurt and cheese, as these are easier to digest than milk.
Breakfast cereals like cornflakes and oats can be eaten with non - diary milk variants like Soy Milk, Almond Milk or Rice Milk. These milk variants are easily available in specialty shops in big metros in India.
If your child is not very fond of plain curd, opt for flavored curd. Smoothies with yoghurt can be a good option. Similarly, depending on the amount of dairy your child can tolerate, low fat paneer can also be used.
Ragi, Bengal Gram (Kala Chana), Almonds, Sesame (Til seeds), Dried Figs, Prunes, Oranges, Rajma, Lotus stem (Kamal kakdi), Drum Stick leaves etc. are good source of calcium, which can be included in the diet to compensate the lack of dairy products.
So it's all about how well one manages the symptoms by excluding, restricting and replacing milk and milk products.
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