A popular milk product you may see is almond milk and a common question is can almond milk make you constipated? Constipation can severely impact someones quality of life so knowing what drinks to stay away from can be a life saver.
So let me answer the question, well the short answer is no, almond milk does not cause constipation! But it’s not quite as simple as that. There is a lot of factors that go into causing constipation. As a Registered Dietitian I can actually help you prevent future constipation with the help of almond milk.
Read on to find out if almond milk is right for you.
Does Almond Milk Cause Constipation?
Almond milk does not cause constipation. There is no evidence to suggest that almond milk will increase constipation in people. Because almond milk is 98% water which actually makes it a great beverage to relieve constipation.
Water helps to draw fluids into the bowels and move food and waste through the digestive system faster and easier. When waste products have more water in it, it makes the poop softer and easier to push out.
This can really help someone who suffers from constipation. So if you are suffering from constipation and are looking for a drink besides water to help, almond milk can be a great addition to drinking throughout the day.
Does Calcium in Almond Milk Make You Constipated?
Some have said that calcium causes constipation or contributes to it, but research does not currently support that it does. Calcium actually has strong health benefits such as building strong bones, preventing osteoporosis, helps with nerve function, and muscle function.
Having a regular dose of calcium from milk daily can lead to great long term health outcomes, and will not contribute to constipation.
Can Almond Milk Help with Constipation?
Almond milk can be a good addition to drinking water during the day to stay hydrated and relieve the risk of constipation. Limiting almond milk consumption to 1-2 cups per day is likely all you need.
Drinking too much almond milk may fill you up and take the place of other nutrients that are provided with a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats.
Almond milk has also been shown in research to increase the risk of kidney complications in those with compromised kidney function, chronic kidney disease, and kidney stones. You should always check with your healthcare provider before trying anything new, especially if you have conditions.
What is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a plant based drink that is made from almonds and water. It has a unique watery nutty flavour to it imparted by the use of almonds. But let’s call it for what it is, it’s almond water, not milk.
It is made by soaking almonds in water and then pulverizing the almonds to a liquid. The liquid is then strained and the solid particles of almonds that are leftover are taken out. Leaving it with a thin water like texture to it.
It is a very popular drink among people looking for a low calorie, lactose and dairy free milk alternative. Naturally it does not have any milk ingredients making it an option for vegetarians and vegans as well.
On average most commercially made almond milk contains less than 2% actual almond content, the rest is water.
Basics of How We Poop
The process of pooping, defecation, or having a bowel movement, is the way our bodies eliminate indigestible food remnants and waste. During digestion, our bodies extract essential nutrients from food, and what remains as waste travels through the digestive tract.
This waste is further processed in the large intestine, where water and electrolytes are absorbed, forming poop. The rectum temporarily stores this material until we feel the urge to have a bowel movement. By contracting the muscles around the anus and coordinating the relaxation of sphincters, we can expel the feces.
Our diets heavily affect how often and the ease with which pooping occurs. A diet that is rich in fiber and drinking enough fluids make pooping easier and more frequent.
Nutrition Facts of Almond Milk
Despite having the name milk to it, it is not comparable to cow’s milk at all. Almond milk is fortified with vitamins and minerals, as it does not naturally contain a large amount.
Let’s take a closer look at conventional almond milk found in the grocery store.
Per one cup of almond milk it contains:
- 60 Calories
- 2.5 grams of Fat
- 8 grams of Carbohydrates
- 7 grams of added Sugar
- 1 gram of Protein
- 10% Daily Value of Vitamin D
- 35% Daily Value of Calcium
- 25% Daily Value of Vitamin E
- 15% Daily Value of Vitamin A
Despite calling the product milk, it is not in any way considered a milk alternative. The availability of the nutrients for our body to absorb is much lower than in a glass of cow’s milk. The nutrition facts show that almond milk, while a fine drink if you want it for taste, doesn’t have any big nutritional value.
Other Causes of Constipation
Constipation is not usually caused by just one factor. Drinking almond milk will not by itself cause constipation. An overall diet and lifestyle will cause constipation. Here are a few factors that you should evaluate if you are suffering from constipation.
Low Fiber Diet
A diet that is low in fiber is likely to cause constipation. Fiber is a nutrient in fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, that increases the bulk of stool, the frequency and can make it easier to poop. If your diet has few dietary sources of fiber, this can increase the risk of being constipated.
Lack of Hydration
Drinking enough fluids from water, coffee, tea, and other low-sugar beverages, helps to make it easier to poop and more frequently. If you have a high fiber diet but are dehydrated this can make pooping very difficult. Poop needs water and fluids to soften stool.
If you’re increasing your fiber, make sure you’re getting adequate fluids as well.
Physical activity can make it much easier to relieve constipation and keep your bowels moving regularly. Research suggests that people who suffered from chronic constipation that added regular physical activity had significant benefits improving their constipation symptoms.
This can be as simple as adding a 20 minute walk, doing home stretching exercises, or doing regular exercise classes.
There is nothing inherently wrong with having a glass of almond milk per day if you enjoy the taste of it. Almond milk will not cause constipation. It can be a great source of hydration that can help to keep your bowels moving, and in combination with drinking enough. fluids, can actually benefit constipation.
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Michelle Saari is a Registered Dietitian based in Canada. She has a Master's Degree in Human Nutritional Sciences and is a passionate advocate for spreading easy to understand, reliable, and trustworthy nutrition information. She is currently a full time online entrepreneur with two nutrition focused websites.