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Lactose Intolerant and Probiotics

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 04/24/2024

Suffering from lactose intolerance can be difficult, making simple activities like packing a lunch or going out to eat complicated. Understanding this condition can help you find better ways to manage it.

Learn about what causes lactose intolerance and what steps you can take to manage this condition while improving your overall health.

Understanding Probiotics and Their Importance

You might have heard about probiotics, which help our bodies in countless ways. Learn about how probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that keep your gut healthy.

The Role of Probiotics in Gut Health

We usually think of bacteria as something harmful. But not all bacteria are bad for you. Your body is inhabited by an immense population of microscopic organisms, forming a complete environment called the 'gut microbiome.' Many of those bacteria are essential to the functioning of your digestive system.

Probiotic organisms aid digestion by breaking down food substances we can't digest ourselves. They also fight off some disease-causing germs. Research has shown a diverse gut microbiome contributes significantly to overall health.

The Importance of Probiotics for Overall Health

But probiotics don't just hang around in the gut; their influence reaches far beyond. These beneficial bugs are essential in supporting our immune system, with studies suggesting nearly 70% of our immune cells reside within the digestive tract.

Beyond immunity, research points to potential weight loss benefits from probiotics, too. So, there’s more reason than ever to make sure your diet includes plenty of good bacteria.

Man declining milk

The Challenge for Lactose Intolerant Individuals

When it comes to gut health, probiotics are the friendly bacteria that keep our digestive systems happy and healthy. If you cannot tolerate dairy products, traditional sources of these beneficial bugs, like yogurt and kefir, are off-limits.

Fermented drinks can also be problematic. Many folks with lactose intolerance or sensitivity to dairy lean on them for their daily dose of good bacteria.

The truth is that these drinks often contain milk-based cultures, which can cause discomfort or even allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This makes it difficult for lactose intolerant individuals to get probiotics.

Non-Dairy Alternatives for Probiotics

Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives. From fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi to various strains found with ineffective microbes (EM), there are plenty to choose from.

The Power of Fermented Vegetables

Fermented vegetables have always been on the front lines when providing gut-friendly bacteria.

The fermentation process allows them to serve as an excellent source of probiotics. So if you suffer from lactose intolerance, you should turn to fermented vegetables for a dietary intake of probiotics.

Other Non-Dairy Fermented Foods

Other fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and tempeh come loaded with beneficial microbes too. Remember, diversity is critical to maintaining good gut health, so don’t shy away from mixing things up.

In fact, according to research published by Current Opinion in Biotechnology, these effective microbes found in non-dairy sources provide benefits similar to those of their dairy counterparts.

While transitioning towards these alternatives may feel challenging, adding a little every day and trying different options will help you become accustomed quickly.

Effective Microbes (EM) as a Non-Dairy Probiotic Source

You might be wondering what effective microbes are. They're essentially your body's invisible allies. EMs comprise different varieties of bacteria and yeast that are beneficial for health and aid digestion, contributing to overall wellness.

Understanding Effective Microbes (EM)

The gut microbiome is filled with trillions of microscopic inhabitants called microbes. Among them, effective microbes, or EM for short, take the lead in keeping us healthy.

If you've ever felt like something was off after indulging in some not-so-great food choices but couldn't put your finger on why, it likely had something to do with these effective microbes.

The Strains of Microbes in EM

Different beneficial bacteria live within the gut. Some popular ones include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. But they are all dairy-based.

Non-dairy alternatives such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Bacillus subtilis can contribute equally to your digestive health. so it is important to increase your intake of these if you do not consume dairy.

Finding Products with Effective Microbes

Let's explore how to find and choose products packed with effective microbes.

Identifying Products with EM

It is critical to be aware that not all food items which contain probiotics are alike. Look for food labels that mention 'Effective Microbes' or 'EM.' But be aware that marketing claims can sometimes mislead.

A safer bet is to opt for fermented foods known for their natural microbe content. Think along the lines of sauerkraut or kimchi.

Choosing High-Quality EM Products

Selecting high-quality EM products is easy if you know where to look. First, go organic whenever possible. Secondly make sure they're unpasteurized, as heat treatment kills our friendly microbes.

In addition, research shows that refrigerated probiotics have higher potency compared to shelf-stable ones. Following these tips will help you nurture your gut properly.

Probiotics and Sugar Cravings

Probiotics, often associated with gut health, are emerging as potential allies in the battle against sugar cravings. The delicate balance of microbes in your gut can influence various aspects of your health, including cravings for sweet foods.

Probiotics help curb sugar cravings by promoting a healthier gut microbiome, which may lead to reduced cravings for sugar-laden treats.

Incorporating probiotic-rich foods or supplements into your daily routine could help you manage those persistent sugar cravings and make healthier dietary choices.

Conclusion

Grappling with lactose intolerance can pose challenges in everyday life, particularly when it comes to maintaining a balanced diet and ensuring optimal gut health. However, understanding the role of probiotics offers promising avenues for managing this condition effectively.

Probiotics, as live bacteria and yeasts, play a crucial role in supporting digestive health and bolstering the immune system. For lactose intolerant individuals, seeking non-dairy sources of probiotics becomes imperative.

Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh emerge as excellent alternatives, offering diverse strains of beneficial microbes vital for gut health. Effective microbes (EM) present another non-dairy option, contributing significantly to digestive wellness.

By incorporating probiotic-rich foods into one's daily diet and being mindful of product quality, individuals can take proactive steps towards enhancing gut health and alleviating the symptoms of lactose intolerance. Ultimately, embracing these dietary adjustments empowers individuals to navigate their journey towards improved well-being with confidence and vitality.

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