If you’re someone who experiences stomach issues, you may have heard that almond milk can be a helpful alternative to dairy milk.
But does it actually help with upset stomach? With conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know what to believe.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the potential benefits and drawbacks of almond milk for those with stomach issues. From reducing bloating to soothing inflammation, we’ll explore the science behind this popular plant-based milk and whether it’s worth incorporating into your diet.
So sit back, grab a glass of almond milk (if you can stomach it), and let’s dive in.
Does Almond Milk Help Upset Stomach?
Almond milk is often touted as a helpful remedy for upset stomach. One of the reasons for this is its nutrient content. Almond milk is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, which can help reduce bloating by decreasing water retention in the body. Additionally, the magnesium and calcium in almond milk give it alkaline properties, which can neutralize and reduce stomach acidity. This makes it a potential solution for those suffering from heartburn and acid reflux.
Furthermore, almond milk contains fiber, which is essential for healthy digestion. It can help reduce constipation and other intestinal issues, keeping your digestive system healthy. However, it’s important to note that commercial almond milk may contain additives that can be hard on the digestion. In rare cases, this reaction can be quite extreme. Unless you have a specific almond allergy, it’s usually the additives included that make almond milk hard on the digestion.
The Science Behind Almond Milk
Almond milk contains anti-inflammatory components like vitamin E, which can help calm your stomach. Studies have shown that vitamin E can protect against conditions affecting the stomach lining, minimizing inflammation along your digestive tract and helping your muscles relax. As a result, it might reduce abdominal cramping and spasms.
However, one controversial additive found in commercial almond milk is likely to blame for stomach issues. Carrageenan, an ingredient extracted from red seaweed, is often used as a thickening agent in processed foods and beverages. Although it sounds natural and is derived from a plant-based source, carrageenan is indigestible and has zero nutritional value. Its safety for human consumption has been debated for years, with some studies suggesting that it may disrupt gut health by causing intestinal inflammation and triggering gastrointestinal ulcerations.
While the FDA recognizes carrageenan as safe, some experts recommend avoiding products containing this additive if you have a sensitive stomach or a digestive disorder like IBS, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis. However, the Organic Standards Board has eliminated any products containing carrageenan, so any almond milk brand with the USDA Organic label doesn’t contain the questionable additive.
Benefits Of Almond Milk For Upset Stomach
Unsweetened almond milk is a good option for those with an upset stomach. It’s gentle, easy to digest, and free of additives that could aggravate the condition. Unsweetened almond milk also contains nutrients that might help with symptoms like abdominal cramping, diarrhea, and bloating. It could help ease the inflammation in the stomach lining and replenish the electrolytes in the body when combined with other fluids.
Almond milk is a dairy-free alternative, making it an excellent option for those who are lactose intolerant or have a dairy allergy. Unlike dairy milk, which can be harder to digest, almond milk goes down very easily. This makes it a good way to get something in your stomach when you don’t feel like eating, and it will stabilize your blood sugar.
Almond milk is also a good source of protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass and supporting the immune system. It’s also low in calories and fat, making it a great option for those who are watching their weight.
In addition to its nutritional benefits, almond milk can also be a tasty addition to smoothies or other recipes. However, it’s important to avoid sweetened almond milk because the added sugar can worsen an upset stomach. Instead, opt for unsweetened almond milk and add natural sweeteners like bananas or stevia to improve the taste.
Drawbacks Of Almond Milk For Upset Stomach
Despite its potential benefits for upset stomach, almond milk may not be suitable for everyone. People with lactose intolerance may experience similar symptoms after consuming almond milk as well. The lining of their stomach can become irritated, causing abdominal pain, bloating, discomfort, and reduced food intake. In severe cases, nausea may also be evident.
Commercially available almond milk may contain additives like soy lecithin, guar gum, and carrageenan, which could cause gastrointestinal distress. Carrageenan, in particular, is a controversial additive that’s often used as a thickening agent in processed foods. While it’s generally recognized as safe by the FDA, some studies suggest that it may disrupt gut health by causing intestinal inflammation and other negative side effects.
For people with digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, it may be wise to avoid any products made with carrageenan. Those with a sensitive stomach may also have issues tolerating the additive. It’s important to check the ingredients list on any foods you buy or look for a “carrageenan-free” label.
In 2016, the Organic Standards Board voted to eliminate any products containing carrageenan, so any almond milk brand that has the USDA Organic label doesn’t contain this questionable additive. Overall, while almond milk may offer some benefits for upset stomachs, it’s important to be aware of its potential drawbacks and to choose brands that are free from harmful additives.
How To Incorporate Almond Milk Into Your Diet
If you’re looking to incorporate almond milk into your diet, there are many ways to do so. Here are some ideas:
1. Use it in your morning coffee or tea instead of dairy milk or creamer. Almond milk has a mild, nutty flavor that complements coffee and tea well.
2. Make a smoothie with almond milk as the base. Combine almond milk with your favorite fruits and vegetables for a healthy and delicious drink.
3. Use almond milk in your cereal or oatmeal instead of dairy milk. It’s a great way to add some extra nutrients to your breakfast.
4. Use almond milk in your baking recipes. It can be used as a substitute for dairy milk in most recipes, and adds a nutty flavor to baked goods.
5. Drink it straight up! Almond milk is a tasty and refreshing drink on its own, and can be enjoyed cold or warmed up.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try making your own almond milk at home. Soak raw almonds in water overnight, then blend them with fresh water and strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer to remove any solids. Homemade almond milk is free of additives and preservatives, and has a deliciously fresh flavor.
Other Plant-Based Milk Alternatives For Upset Stomach
If you’re looking for other plant-based milk alternatives that are easy on the stomach, there are several options to consider. For example, rice milk is a good choice for those with lactose intolerance or a sensitive stomach. It’s low in fat and calories and is also free of soy, gluten, and nuts. However, it’s important to note that rice milk is also low in protein and calcium, so it’s important to look for fortified versions.
Soy milk is another popular plant-based milk alternative that is easy on the stomach. It’s high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great choice for those looking to increase their protein intake. Soy milk is also low in fat and calories and is free of lactose, gluten, and nuts. However, some people may have an allergy or sensitivity to soy, so it’s important to check with your doctor before consuming it.
Hemp milk is a lesser-known plant-based milk alternative that can be helpful for those with digestive issues. It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation in the body. Hemp milk is also free of lactose, soy, and gluten, making it a good choice for those with allergies or sensitivities. However, it’s important to note that hemp milk is low in protein and calcium, so it’s important to look for fortified versions.