From the editors of alive magazine; alive.metro@ alive.com
Looking for an alternative to cows’ milk? You’re not alone: Many people today are facing this challenge. Drinking cows’ milk is a problem for people with lactose intolerance and/or dairy allergies.
Commonly confused with lactose intolerance, a milk allergy involves the immune system, which fails to recognize the proteins in milk as safe, and instead treats them as foreign invaders — the same way the immune system treats bacteria and viruses.
The result is a release of inflammatory mediators, and an unhappy and unhealthy digestive tract. A milk allergy typically involves many parts of the body and can manifest itself as swelling, hives, rashes, nasal congestion, asthma, nausea, diarrhea, or gas.
A quick visit to the local health food store offers a number of milk alternatives, such as soy, almond, rice, oat, potato, and coconut milk. These products do not contain casein, the main protein found in cows’ milk.
Lactose is a sugar in cows’ milk that many people are unable to digest. Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the gastrointestinal tract contains insufficient lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose. Lactose intolerance exhibits symptoms such as lower intestinal cramping, bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Luckily, milk alternatives such as almond, rice, and soy beverages naturally contain no lactose.
Choosing soy as an alternative to cows’ milk has other advantages: The phytoestrogens in soy milk are thought to slow bone loss; and the American Heart Association recommends that soy products be included in a healthy diet. Soy can also help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and control glucose levels.
If you suffer from dairy allergies or lactose intolerance, there are many alternatives to cows’ milk offered at your local health food store.
>> For more, visit alive.com.