Carageenan is a red seaweed derivitive added to many conventional and organic foods. It is a thickening agent used in foods such as soy milks, almonds milks, sour creams, cottage cheese, yogurt, puddings, condensed milk and processed meats and even in beer and some cosmetics such as toothpaste and shaving gels. On a molecular level carageenan is similar to plastic which is why it is used as a thickener in foods and gels.
Research is showing that people who suffer with gastrointestinal distress and conditions like IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis etc. would be better served if they avoided items with carageenan in them. Reports show that eliminating this additive in the diet can help to relieve unpleasant symptoms in the gut. One thing is for sure…. even if I do not suffer from gastrointestinal distress I would do my best to eliminate foods that carry this on their list of ingredients.
Animal studies with carageenan are showing evidence of ulcerations in the GI tract as well as some malignancies. There is proof that carageenann is also linked to suppressed immune system and inflammation. I don’t know about you, but I try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
I use to use store bought almond milk and coconut milk instead of cows dairy as I am vegan, and these ready made products contain carageenan. After learning about the carageenan connection to digestive issues I now make a point of avoiding carageenan. The milk I’ve found that does not contain the additive is Hemp Milk. When I need some ready made milk for my cereal or a recipe I will lean to the Hemp milk. Of course making your own nut milk from scratch is best. There is nothing better than fresh home made almond milk with a bit of vanilla added for depth of flavour. No additives or preservatives. (and so easy to make)
If you know someone who suffers from the uncomfortable symptoms of gastrointestinal issues then share this bit of info with them. By eliminating carageenan from their diet it may help them with a better digestive system and improve their quality of life.
Just another item to add to the growing list of “nasty” additives in the food supply to make things look and taste better. BUT where our health is concerned…is not a good thing.
FRESH ALMOND MILK:
2 cups of organic raw almonds
6 cups good filtered or spring water
1/2 tsp. Organic vanilla extract
Soak almonds overnight. Drain the soaking water. Place the almonds in a high speed blender (vitamix is ideal). Add the 6 cups of good filtered or spring water and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Blend until smooth. Strain the milk through a nut milk bag or mesh bag into a bowl or pitcher. Store in a seeled glass container in the refrigerator. Will keep 4 days in the fridge.
If you like a bit sweeter version then add 2 pitted dates or Stevia to taste, to the blender before you blend the almonds.