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Symptoms Of Almond Intolerance – 6 Reactions To Watch Out For!

At present, more and more dietitians have been recommending almonds as part of a healthy and balanced diet. They are also one of the most popular healthy snack alternatives because they are chock full of nutrients and health benefits.

Unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy eating almonds without any problems. Some people have a sensitivity to almonds and this article discusses the different symptoms of almond intolerance that you can watch out for.

Almonds: Background Info

Do you know that almonds are not, in fact, nuts? Almonds are actually edible seeds from the fruit of the almond tree (Prunus dulcis). The almond fruit is considered a stone fruit, just like plums, cherries, and peaches, due to its fleshy fruit exterior and pit contained inside.

The first domesticated almonds were traced to Israel and Lebanon on the eastern Mediterranean coast from 3000 to 2000 BCE. In fact, archeologists found traces of the nut at the tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt and other archeological sites. It is believed that the departed person should be buried with some food in preparation for the afterlife.

Although almonds originated in Western Asia, the US is now the biggest producer of almonds, accounting for 80% of the supply worldwide. Almonds are California’s biggest tree nut crop in dollar value and acreage and rank as the top US specialty crop export.

Even though they are technically seeds, almonds are categorized as nuts. Just like most nuts, almonds provide a lot of essential nutrients for your body including dietary fiber, protein, fat, vitamin E, vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. They are also loaded with antioxidants that help protect cells from oxidative damage that contributes to disease and aging.

Because of its delicious taste, it’s quite easy to over-indulge in almonds, thereby making yourself take in more fats and calories than you require. Ideally, a healthy serving of almonds should be one-fourth cup or around 23 almonds (one ounce) per day.

In recent years, almonds have become more and more popular due to their versatility and health benefits. Some of these health benefits include:

  • Improves gut health
  • Protects from heart disease
  • Reduces the risk of diabetes
  • Promotes stronger bones
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Adds shine to hair
  • Moisturizes skin
  • Eliminates food cravings
  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Promotes healthy cells

Symptoms Of Almond Intolerance

Although a lot of health benefits have been attributed to almonds, there can also be drawbacks with regard to almond consumption and this can occur if you have almond intolerance. Almond intolerance is a sensitivity to almonds that can cause some degree of digestive discomfort after eating some.

  1. Stomach cramps

Almonds can cause stomach cramps due to their magnesium content. Magnesium is an important mineral that is necessary for muscle and nerve function, energy production, digestion, and other important body processes.

The recommended daily intake for magnesium in men is 420 mg and 320 mg for women. However, aside from stomach cramps, eating too many almonds can also cause over-consumption of magnesium which may result in diarrhea, bloating, and nausea.

  1. Diarrhea

Almonds are high in fiber since an ounce of almonds contains approximately 3.5 grams of fiber. Almonds have both soluble and insoluble fiber. Of the 2 kinds, insoluble fiber is prone to causing diarrhea when eaten in excessive amounts.

Soluble fiber attracts water into the colon, but it also absorbs water leading to a healthy stool consistency. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, merely attracts water but does not absorb which can lead to looser stools. This is especially true if you suddenly increase your fiber intake which can hasten the passage of food through your GI tract before it can be properly digested.

  1. Bloating

At approximately 14 grams per 1-ounce serving, almonds are quite high in fat. The combination of high fat and high fiber in almonds means they take longer to be properly digested. This longer passage through the GI tract increases the chances of you developing gas and bloating.

  1. Heartburn

Another symptom of almond intolerance that is caused by high-fat content is heartburn. Heartburn is a painful, burning sensation caused by stomach acid that begins in the lower chest area and travels toward the mouth. It is one of the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD and is often accompanied by chest pain, burping, and a sour taste in the mouth.

  1. Nausea

Nausea is the feeling of wanting to vomit. Sometimes, you can actually end up vomiting or engaging in dry retching. Almonds can make you feel nauseous because they contain tannins.

Tannins belong to a group of naturally occurring compounds called polyphenols. They are abundant in plants, seeds, leaves, wood, bark, and fruit skins. Tannins have a bitter taste that makes certain unripe fruits and seeds unpalatable which discourages animals from eating them. However, tannins in large amounts may cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and liver damage.

  1. Headaches

Almonds, peanuts, as well as many other types of nuts and seeds can trigger migraine headaches. This is due to tyramine which is a type of amino acid that helps to regulate blood pressure. Tyramine can cause the brain’s nerve cells to release the chemical norepinephrine which can lead to headaches.

Other Side Effects Of Too Many Almonds

Aside from digestive issues and other symptoms of almond intolerance, eating too many almonds can also cause the following side effects:

  • Weight gain
  • Vitamin E overdose
  • Allergies
  • Kidney stones
  • Increases toxins in the body
  • Interferes with nutrient absorption

Foods That May Contain Almonds

Many processed foods contain almonds. While some obviously have almonds in their ingredients, there may be others that are not so noticeable and so may cause problems if you have a sensitivity to almonds and unknowingly consume them. Here are some food products to watch out for:

  • Marzipan
  • Praline
  • Almond milk
  • Almond butter
  • Almond flour
  • Almond oil
  • Cakes
  • Cookies
  • Bread
  • Chocolate
  • Candy
  • Ice Cream
  • Chewing gum
  • Curry
  • Sauces

The Rundown

Although an almond intolerance may not be as serious as an almond allergy which has the potential to be life-threatening, this sensitivity can still affect your quality of life. This is unfortunate as almonds are ideal for a balanced diet aside from the considerable health benefits they offer.

Still, you can never be too careful so you have to watch out for signs and symptoms of almond intolerance so you can take proper measures to prevent or minimize their effects.

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Coreen Tan-Tambasen

A Mass Communications graduate as well as a registered nurse in the Philippines, Coreen has been a freelance writer since 2015. Most of her writing projects are in the health and medical niche, and she is committed to sharing interesting articles about digestion and gut health that can be applied to everyday life.

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