Almond milk has many health benefits, soothing acid reflux symptoms is one of them. Unless you drink too much of it, almond milk is likely to relieve heartburn.
About almonds & almond milk
Almond is the edible seed of the Prunus amygdalus, a tree of Iranian origin. They come in brown shells, which can either be eaten raw or roasted as snacks.
Almond can also be processed into flour (almond flour), oil, butter, or milk (almond milk).
Almonds mostly contain:
- fat – about 50%
- 22% carbohydrates
- 21% protein
Almond is a rich source of fiber (12%) and an excellent source of vitamin E, B2, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper, providing for 171%, 109%, 85%, 75%, 69%, and 50% of the daily value of these nutrients respectively.
Almond milk is made by soaking, milling, and straining raw almonds whose shells have been removed.
Commercially produced almond milk is fortified with nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, and riboflavin to boost its nutritional value.
Health benefits of almond milk
Promotes heart health
About 95% of the fat contained in almond milk is unsaturated fat which is the good fat the body needs.
This gives a good lipid profile, low in LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol and high in HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol levels are a risk factor for the development of heart disease.
Furthermore, the phytosterols in almonds interfere with the absorption of cholesterol, lowering their levels in the bloodstream. Current research has demonstrated that consuming as little as 2g of phytosterol a day is linked to a 10% reduction in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.
It is lactose-free
Almond milk is made from almond which does not contain lactose by default. As such, those who are lactose intolerant would not have a problem digesting it.
Lactose intolerant people are those whose bodies do not produce sufficient lactase enzymes, as such they are unable to digest lactose. This lactose ends up in their large intestines where bacteria feed on them, fermenting them and producing gas in the process that causes bloating, and stomach cramps.
Promotes skin health
Almond milk is a good source of vitamin E, which plays a vital role in keeping the skin moisturized. It acts also as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from damage by free radicals.
Furthermore, it helps skin tissue regeneration which is vital for quick wound healing.
Protects against cancer
Vitamin E and other phytosterols in almonds function as potent antioxidants and anti-inflammation agents.
Antioxidants capture reactive oxygen species that cause oxidation and eventually damage cells and cause inflammation and diseases. Excess inflammation has been reported to trigger pathways that lead to the development of cancer cells.
Helps control blood sugar levels
Almonds are low in carbohydrate content, of which most is dietary fiber, which is not digested or absorbed in the small intestines. Thus, almond milk would not spike blood levels after consumption.
Moreover, almonds contain significantly high levels of magnesium which plays a very important role in controlling blood sugar levels.
Is almond milk acidic or alkaline?
Almond milk has a pH of 4.5 – 6.5, placing it on the acidic side of the pH scale, though in this case a weak acid. Almond is however said to produce an alkalizing effect once ingested.
Is almond milk good for acid reflux?
Scientific studies on the effect of almond milk on acid reflux are few and far between. However, anecdotal evidence tells that almonds are good for acid reflux or at least don’t make symptoms worse.
Because of its magnesium content. almond milk has alkaline-forming properties when ingested, so it can neutralize stomach acids. This makes it an ideal drink for those suffering from acid reflux.
Can almond milk cause heartburn?
In rare cases, almond milk might actually trigger heartburn or make symptoms worse. These are the most common factors to consider when having reflux symptoms after drinking almond milk:
Almond milk is high in fats, which might cause digestive problems in some people. However, evidence suggests that fat in nuts might not be digested very efficiently, therefore its contribution to acid reflux might be limited.
Low stomach acid
Another potential problem might be low stomach acid levels (hypochlorhydria). Almond milk might further decrease an already low level of digestive juices, causing digestive problems like indigestion or heartburn.
Certain types of almond milk might contain carrageenan. This thickener added to many almond milk products during processing is responsible for bloating and other digestive issues some people experience after consuming it.
Some people are allergic to nuts. Even though heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms are not typical allergic reactions, in severe cases people might have swollen body parts (tongue, throat, etc.) causing swelling and breathing issues.
Allergic reactions might be very severe, if you think you might be allergic to almonds stop consuming them and get yourself tested!
Does chocolate almond milk help heartburn?
Almond milk does not trigger acid reflux and heartburn symptoms in most people. However, chocolate is made from cocoa which contains caffeine.
Caffeine is reputable for causing the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, triggering acid reflux and heartburn symptoms in sensitive people. Hence, consuming chocolate almond milk can aggravate heartburn symptoms in sensitive people.
Chocolate almond milk also often contains carrageenan, which further increases the risk of heartburn.
Side effects of almond milk
Even though almond milk is very healthy, too much of it can cause unwanted side effects:
Stomach hurts after drinking almond milk
Overconsumption of almond milk has been reported to cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.
This is often caused by the added carrageenan, so consulting the list of ingredients on the food label to watch out for carrageenan is important.
You might also want to check the sugar content of the type of almond milk you want to buy. Especially sweetened products might be high in sugar, which can also contribute to gas production in sensitive individuals.
Plant-based milks contain significantly less iodine than cow milk. This is especially a problem for women, who often have lower iodine levels than men.
Fatigue, weakness, and hair low are just some of the symptoms of iodine deficiency.
A simple blood test can reveal problems with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.
Before introducing almond milk to a toddler’s diet make sure to consult with the child’s doctor.
Almond milk is generally not recommended for children under 12 months. It might be suitable for older children, however, because of the different nutritional value and possibility of allergic reactions, you should always consult with a doctor first.
Almond milk is a nutritious milk that makes a great substitute for animal milk. It has an alkalizing effect when consumed, thus it can relieve acid reflux in sensitive people.
However excessive consumption can cause gas, bloating, and stomach pains in sensitive people, thus moderation is advised. Also, some brands contain an added thickener called carrageenan, which provokes the above-mentioned symptoms.
Lastly, people allergic to other nuts might be allergic to almond milk, in which case consuming it might trigger severe reactions like anaphylaxis which are life-threatening.