One of the most common allergens in children these days is dairy products with an emphasis on milk. Many children have to avoid a variety of dairy products so that any food intolerance or allergy does not form. Because dairy seems to be everywhere and in everything, it can be challenging to understand why such a common and seemingly safe product can cause so many problems with your children’s allergies. Knowledge is power, so today we’re going to explore what makes dairy an allergen and how you can give your child the best without using it.
What Is A Food Intolerance vs A Food Allergy?
Within our bodies is a complex and powerful immune system. This system helps identify things that shouldn’t be in our bodies – and it takes action to get rid of anything that finds its way in. Our immune system is what protects us from infections, diseases, and illnesses every day. When a splinter breaks through our skin, foreign pathogens are inhaled from the air, or when we eat food that isn’t so clean, our immune system springs into action to isolate the issue and rid it from our bodies before it causes too much trouble.
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The issue of allergies comes up when our bodies react and over-react to things that are not a threat. If your child is allergic to dairy products, their immune system goes into full assault when a few sips of milk are taken. This process causes inflammation, the release of many important chemicals, and all kinds of other body responses.
Why Dairy Causes Food Intolerance and/or Food Allergies
Milk and dairy products are complex proteins that contain lactose and other elements. Because of the complexity of these elements in dairy, the body can easily think they are dangerous when in reality they are not. This can turn into a food intolerance or allergy. An intolerance usually shows minor symptoms, while an allergies are severe reactions or anaphylactic reactions (swelling of joints, swelling throat, even death).
Treating Your Child’s Dairy Allergies
Treating your child’s dairy allergy is usually best done through avoidance. If your child is allergic to the lactose portion of dairy, simply going lactose free may the best thing to do. However, if it is the protein avoidance to dairy is best. Using dairy alternatives in moderation is a great way to give your child the foods they want and need without the allergies. Soy, coconut, hemp, and rice milks are all great options for your child and your family, and many dairy-free yogurt and cheese alternatives exist as well.
Take some time to explore the dairy alternative available in your area, and see what your family responds to best. You may find that going without dairy isn’t as hard these days. Thanks to the many tasty alternatives available, a food intolerance doesn’t need to be overwhelming.