Is milk a pain in your gut?

Lactose intolerance  (the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products) is relatively common in South Africa, particularly among the black population.

Typical symptoms include nausea, stomach cramps, bloating, gas and diarrhoea  about 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating these foods.

Take action:

People with lactose intolerance can usually still eat fermented milk products such as yoghurt, maas and certain types of cheese (edam and cheddar), as the fermentation process has already broken down some of the lactose, making it easier to digest than fresh dairy products.

You could also use a lactase enzyme supplement (available in drops or tablets) to aid lactose digestion.

Remember to include dairy-free foods such as soya milk, tofu, broccoli and beans in your diet to ensure you get enough calcium for healthy bones and strong teeth. Finally, look out for the new lactose-reduced and lactose-free milk products on the market.

Check out our cool infographic:  5 quick facts on lactose intolerance

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