Cow milk is often praised for it’s good properties. What can you do though if the body finds it hard to digest? There are two different phenomenon that need to be distinguished:
On the one hand there is lactose intolerance, a condition prevailant predominantly in adults. On the other hand, and more relevant in this section is lactose allergy in children. What can parent’s do? Where are the alternatives to cow milk.
A milk allergy is generally caused by the specific protein contained in cow milk. These specific proteins are identified as foreign bodies by the body’s immunes system and are therefore ‘attacked’ by the body. This internal fight provokes the alergice reaction, witnessed as vomiting, diarrhoea, itching or skin rashes. The occurrence of milk allergy in children lies somewhere between 0,5% and 7%.
In general, allergic people should try and avoid cow milk products altogether. Goat’s or sheep milk on the other hand are often more agreeable and therefore well suited to contribute to the calcium intake. This can be further complemented through the consumption of certain fruits and juices. The only limitation of goat’s and sheep’s milk is their somewhat reduced nutrient concentration, as they contain fewer vitamins and minerals than the cow’s milk.
Another alternative that has gained I popularity is soy milk. The soy protein is said to be cholestorol reducing and to support the cardio-vascular system. Compared to cow’s milk however it contains relatively little calcium. Another less well know but nevertheless good alternative is also oat’s milk. This kind doesn’t contain lactose nor milk protein and is therefore well suited both for people with allergies and those intolerant to lactose.
Cow milk allergies in (small) children
Infants can be fed with so called HA-Milk (hypoallergenic milk), which contains modified proteins that generally don’t cause allergic reaction. In any case, you should consult your pediatrition with regards to your infant’s special nutritional needs. Parents with children that have milk allergies need not panic however, as the allergy fortunately retreats in most cases after a few months. Extended breast feeding is actually said to have preventive properties.
No allergy: Lactose intolerance
In a lactose intolerance, the human body has no or insufficient amounts of the lactase enzyme. This means that the lactose, or milk sugar, cannot be split up by the body. Individuals with lactose allergy that consume lactose can have severe digestive issues, ranging from diarrhoea to vomiting and stomach aches. In some cases it can even lead to skin rashes, nausea or depression. Lactose intolerance is not an allergy and occurs predominantly in adults. Luckily, many dairy products now also have a lactose free version, so that nor you nor your child need to forgo the goodness of milk altogether.