Cancer patients often face a difficult challenge when it comes to their diet. Certain foods can exacerbate symptoms or interfere with treatment, while others can provide much-needed nutrients and support.
One popular alternative to cow’s milk is almond milk, which has been touted for its health benefits. But is almond milk a good choice for cancer patients?
In this article, we’ll explore the nutritional value of almond milk and how it compares to other non-dairy milks. We’ll also examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of consuming almond milk during cancer treatment.
Is Almond Milk Good For Cancer Patients?
Almond milk is a great alternative to cow’s milk for cancer patients, especially those with colon or colorectal cancer. Cow’s milk can cause digestive disorders and malabsorption of iron, which can be detrimental to cancer patients. Almond milk, on the other hand, is easy to make and can be customized to suit individual preferences.
Almond milk is also rich in essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin B. These vitamins are crucial for maintaining the proper functioning of the body systems and the integrity of the brain. Additionally, almond milk contains antioxidants that help relieve anxiety and depression in cancer patients.
Compared to soy milk and cow’s milk, almond milk has fewer calories and is lower in sodium. It is also a rich source of calcium, which is essential for patients with bone cancer. However, it is important to note that almond milk is not a significant source of protein, providing only 1 gram per 8-ounce glass.
While some people may be concerned about the use of genetically modified soybeans in soymilk, many popular brands are not made with GMO soybeans. Organic soymilk is also free of GMOs. Additionally, there is insufficient evidence to support the exclusion of soy from one’s diet, and whole soy foods are considered safe for consumption by breast cancer survivors.
It is important to note that some almond milk brands contain carrageenan, which has been linked to breast cancer. However, high-quality almond milk can be consumed without harm if used sparingly.
Nutritional Value Of Almond Milk
Almond milk is a highly nutritious alternative to cow’s milk and soy milk. It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin B. These vitamins are crucial for the proper functioning of the body systems and maintaining the integrity of the brain.
Almond milk is also an excellent source of calcium, providing similar amounts to cow’s milk when fortified. This makes it a great option for cancer patients with bone cancer. Additionally, almond milk contains antioxidants that can help relieve anxiety and depression in cancer patients.
Compared to cow’s milk and soy milk, almond milk has fewer calories and is lower in sodium. However, it is important to note that almond milk is not a significant source of protein, providing only 1 gram per 8-ounce glass.
It is also important to be aware of the potential risks associated with some almond milk brands that contain carrageenan, a possible breast carcinogen. However, high-quality almond milk can be consumed without harm if used sparingly.
Comparison To Other Non-Dairy Milks
When compared to other non-dairy milk options, almond milk stands out for its low calorie content and high calcium levels. Coconut milk, for example, is higher in calories and saturated fat, making it less suitable for cancer patients who may need to watch their weight. Oat milk is also higher in calories and carbohydrates than almond milk, making it less ideal for those with diabetes or blood sugar concerns.
Soy milk, on the other hand, is a good source of protein and is often fortified with additional vitamins and minerals. However, some people may be concerned about the use of genetically modified soybeans in soymilk, and organic options can be more expensive.
Ultimately, the choice between different non-dairy milks will depend on individual needs and preferences. For cancer patients who need to watch their weight or have bone health concerns, almond milk may be the best option. However, for those who need more protein or are concerned about GMOs, soy milk may be a better choice. It is important to read labels carefully and choose high-quality brands that do not contain harmful additives or chemicals.
Potential Drawbacks Of Almond Milk For Cancer Patients
While almond milk has numerous benefits for cancer patients, there are some potential drawbacks to consider. Firstly, almond milk is a highly processed food and can contain additives such as sugar, salt, flavors, gums, and carrageenan. Carrageenan is a type of emulsifier that is commonly added to almond milk and has been recognized as safe. However, some studies suggest that it may disrupt gut health.
Secondly, almond milk normally has significant oxalate content, which can contribute to kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals. Breast cells can also accumulate oxalate, resulting in calcium oxalate microcalcifications. While there is some evidence to suggest that oxalate promotes the transformation of breast cells from normal to cancer cells, this has not been confirmed.
Thirdly, excessive consumption of almonds can cause digestive issues such as nausea, stomach discomfort, dysentery, and bowel problems. It can also interfere with medications and result in severe gastrointestinal reactions in some people. Almond milk is also not advisable for people with nut allergies and lactose allergies.
Lastly, commercially produced almond milk contains more sugar than cow’s milk. Too much sugar can increase the risk of weight gain, dental cavities, and other chronic conditions. To avoid this, it is recommended to choose unsweetened and unflavored almond milk.
How To Incorporate Almond Milk Into A Cancer Patient’s Diet
Almond milk is a versatile and tasty addition to any cancer patient’s diet. Here are some ways to incorporate almond milk into your daily meals:
1. Smoothies: Combine almond milk with your favorite fruits and vegetables to make a delicious and nutritious smoothie. You can also add protein powder or nut butter for an extra boost of protein.
2. Oatmeal: Use almond milk instead of water or dairy milk to make a creamy and satisfying bowl of oatmeal. Add toppings such as nuts, fruit, and honey for added flavor.
3. Coffee or tea: Swap out dairy milk for almond milk in your morning coffee or tea. It adds a nutty flavor and is a great alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
4. Baked goods: Substitute almond milk for dairy milk in your favorite baked goods recipes. It will add a subtle nutty flavor and can be used in cakes, muffins, pancakes, and more.
5. Soups and sauces: Use almond milk as a base for creamy soups and sauces. It can be used in place of cream or dairy milk to make a lighter and healthier version of your favorite recipes.