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Dairy Allergy

Dairy or milk products are produced from the milk of mammals such as cattle, buffaloes, goats, and sheep. These include cheese, cream, yogurt, and butter. Dairy is used regularly as an ingredient in many foods, such as desserts, sauces, soups, and processed foods.

Though it is available worldwide, dairy is predominantly consumed in the Western World. Areas of East and Southeast Asia and parts of central Africa have consumed less dairy historically, though demand in recent years has been growing rapidly.

To help remove dairy from your diet (whether partially or fully) there’s a wide range of dairy-free alternatives available. Most good supermarkets and specialist retailers stock quality dairy-free milk drinks, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, and creams.

Below are some ideas of milk drinks and yogurt types:

Common Milk Alternatives

dairy allergy
Almond

dairy allergy
Brown rice

dairy allergy
Cashew

dairy allergy
Coconut

dairy allergy
Hazelnut

dairy allergy
Hemp

dairy allergy
Oat

dairy allergy
Soya

Common Yogurt Alternatives

dairy allergy
Almond

dairy allergy
Coconut

dairy allergy
Soya

Lactose Intolerance

Lactase, the enzyme needed to digest lactose (the sugar in milk) isn’t produced by people who are Lactose Intolerant. Because the body doesn’t make lactase, the stomach, and small intestine fails to properly digest the milk product and the undigested lactose moves to the colon where it’s broken down by bacteria and causes digestive issues such as bloating and gas. Lactose intolerance can be uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

With approximately 30 million Americans suffering from it by age 20, Lactose intolerance is a common condition in adult humans. The condition tends to be more common in people with Asian, African or Native American heritage and less common in people with a northern or western European background.

lactose graphic - Dairy Allergy

Dairy Allergy

As it is an immune system response, a dairy allergy is different from sensitivity. The body reacts to the proteins in milk or dairy item and releases substances that cause allergy symptoms. This allergic reaction can often be more severe and acute.

Dairy allergies are one of the most common, especially in children, with up to 2 in every 100 children under 4 years old who are allergic to milk.

milk graphic - Dairy Allergy

Dairy intolerance/sensitivity

A dairy intolerance or sensitivity is where the body presents digestive symptoms after the consumption of some dairy products. A less severe condition than lactose intolerance or dairy allergy, this condition can still be uncomfortable and embarrassing for the individual.

Symptoms

Common Lactose Intolerance, dairy sensitivity, and dairy allergy shared symptoms (less severe):

  Diarrhea
  Nausea; sometimes vomiting
  Abdominal cramps
  Bloating
  Gas

More acute dairy allergy symptoms:

  Rash
  Hives
  Swelling, often in the lips and face
  Wheezing
  Tightness in throat
  Trouble swallowing
  Anaphylaxis

Replacing Nutrients when Eliminating Dairy

The nutritional profile of milk products varies depending on the fat content. Milk is a good source of protein and vitamins A, B2, B12, D (if fortified), calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. Milk products can also be a good source of probiotics.

It’s important to use alternative foods in your diet when undertaking either a short or long term elimination diet to maintain nutrient balance.

Below are good examples or nutritional alternatives when eliminating dairy:

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Liver, beef, lamb, cod liver oil, eggs, mackerel, salmon, tuna

Beta Carotene (vitamin A)

Sweet potato, carrots, kale, spinach, collards, swiss chard, pak choi, butternut squash, pumpkin, cos lettuce, romaine lettuce, mango, dried apricots, prunes, peaches, melon, red peppers, tuna fish, mackerel

B Vitamins

Brewer’s yeast, oats, buckwheat, brown rice, rye, whole wheat, peanuts, mushrooms, soybean flour and soybeans, split peas, pecans, sunflower seeds, lentils, cashews, chickpeas, broccoli, hazelnuts, peppers

B12

Oysters, mussels, scallops, liver, mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, crab, beef, eggs, fortified products

Vitamin D

Salmon, trout, swordfish, mackerel, tuna, mushrooms, fortified products

Calcium

Watercress, kale, broccoli, low-fat mozzarella (buffalo), pak choi, tofu, sugar snap peas, almonds, tinned sardines in oil with bones, tinned pink salmon

Potassium

Dried apricots, salmon, mackerel, tuna, monkfish, white beans, lentils, kidney beans, avocado, butternut squash, spinach, mushrooms, bananas, potatoes

Selenium

Brazil nuts, brown rice, rye, whole wheat, mushrooms, shrimp, sardines, oysters, tuna, sunflower seeds, liver, eggs, beef, turkey

Phosphorus

Brown rice, oats, rye, whole wheat, quinoa, chicken, turkey, pork, liver, sardines, scallops, salmon, mackerel, crab, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews

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