Almond milk is nutritious plant-based milk that’s highly popular with vegans, those with lactose intolerance, and people following a low-calorie diet. The flavorful milk is also naturally high in proteins and vitamins and makes an easy addition to your diet. But does almond milk help with spicy food?
Almond milk helps with spicy food as it contains fat which neutralizes capsaicin, the molecule responsible for the burning effect of spicy food. Capsaicin dissolves in almond milk, reducing its heat. Almond milk has less fat than regular milk and no casein but it still helps to minimize spiciness.
In this article, I will delve deep to discover how almond milk helps with spicy food and also explore other alternative cures for extreme spiciness.
This Is What Happens When You Consume Spicy Food
Spicy food includes ginger, black pepper, and wasabi. But while these produce a burning feeling in your mouth, the sensation barely lasts more than a few seconds.
Chili peppers, on the other hand, are a whole different ball game. They contain capsaicin, an active ingredient that binds to TRPV1, a taste receptor found on your tongue and other parts of your mouth.
The sensor receptors are typically located on nerve endings, and they also detect heat.
When you consume spicy food, TRPV1 causes your tongue to experience a lingering burning sensation. The tongue tingles, your cheeks turn red, and you might even begin to sweat. The only way to counteract the fiery effect of spicy food is to eat something that can break down the bond between capsaicin and the tongue’s taste receptors.
How Does Almond Milk Reduce Spiciness in Food?
Unfortunately, drinking water does nothing to wash away the heat. What’s worse, it increases the intensity. Only oily compounds such as those contained in almond milk can dissolve the capsaicin.
Almond milk reduces spiciness in food because capsaicin, the molecule that results in the burning sensation, is oil-soluble. It dissolves in the fat contained in almond milk, diluting its spicy hot molecules and making the searing heat less intense.
When it comes to cooling down your burning mouth, ensure to take cold almond milk. The taste receptors flare upon coming to contact with hot temperatures.
Thus, drinking hot almond milk could worsen the situation.
Milk Alternatives for Spicy Food
Below are milk alternatives that can help to minimize the uncomfortable heat from spicy food:
- Full-fat milk: Unlike almond milk, mammalian milk contains casein, a fat-loving protein that helps to dissolve capsaicin. Casein attracts the capsaicin molecule in spicy food, which binds itself to the casein, resulting in a reduction of the burning heat sensation.
- Skimmed milk: Like traditional milk, skimmed milk also contains casein. This means you can use skimmed milk to relieve the painful effect of spicy food too.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains fat and oil, which dissolve capsaicin, eliminating the burn.
Other dairy products that work by soaking up the intense heat from the capsaicin include the following:
- Sour Milk
- Soft fresh cheese
- Full-fat sour cream
Additional Non-Dairy Cures
Here are more non-dairy ways to cool down your mouth after a spicy meal. Use:
- Alcohol: While capsaicin is alcohol-soluble, beer will not work as well. You need to take something potent like tequila shots, vodka, or wine. Otherwise, too little alcohol will merely burn you more. Then again, after a few shots, you might start getting happy and forget about your stinging mouth.
- Coconut milk: It contains lauric acid, which can help to minimize inflammation caused by consuming spicy foods.
- Sugar or honey: These absorb oils, thus helping to lessen the spicy heat, as well as balance out the flavors. Add a little at a time and keep tasting to see whether it’s less spicy and achieve the perfect balance.
- Neutral-flavored grains: Grains like white rice and quinoa can help to nullify over-spiciness.
- Nut butter: These can also help ease the heat from your mouth. These include peanut cashew, almond, cashew, and tahini.
- Oils: These include vegetable oil, coconut oil, olive, and grapeseed oil.
- Cooking acids: Lemon or lime juice, vinegar, tomatoes, pineapples, and wine can aid in neutralizing the alkaline capsaicin.
- Mountain dew: While soda doesn’t work that well in general, mountain dew contains brominated vegetable oil, which helps dissolve capsicum and washes it away.
What Milk Is Best for Spicy Food?
The best milk for spicy food comes from mammals. This is because apart from a high-fat content, it also contains casein, which surrounds capsaicin’s heat-generating oil particles, binds with them, and later disperses them. Nut milk doesn’t have the same properties.
What Do Vegans Eat After Spicy Food?
After eating spicy food, vegans eat any food with high-fat content, such as avocado, peanut butter, coconut cream, or tahini. They also drink almond, cashew, rice, or soy milk because they are all naturally dairy-free.
Another option is to eat a sour-tasting fruit such as an orange or lime for immediate relief.
Does Bread Help With Spicy Food?
Bread does not help with spicy food, but it can help reduce the sharp sting of spicy foods because it’s high in starch. This helps to absorb or soak up capsaicin molecules, thus halting the scorching feeling.
Does Water Reduce Spiciness?
Water does not reduce spiciness at all. On the contrary, it intensifies the burning feeling. Capsaicin is not soluble in water, so the liquid cannot wash away the heat. Drinking water after eating spicy food merely spreads the capsaicin to more areas within your mouth.
This causes it to reach more pain receptors, amplifying the burn.
How To Reduce the Spice in Your Food
Below are helpful tips on how to make your spicy food more palatable by diluting the intense heat:
- Full-fat milk or cream is the most effective remedy for the heat in spicy food.
- When using oil, choose one with a neutral or complementary flavor and add it gradually to help retain your meal’s taste, texture, and consistency.
- To avoid making your dish too spicy, add your spices in small quantities, tasting the food as you cook.
- Avoid drinking carbonated drinks to ease the burn as they contain acid, which eliminates the sugar effect.
- If you discover that the dish you are preparing is too spicy, tone it down by adding extra ingredients or more liquid.
- Serve an over-spicy meal with bland starch such as pasta, potatoes, or bread to diffuse the spice a little.
What Is Almond Milk?
Almond milk is a mixture of ground almonds and water. The resultant mixture is filtered to form nutty-tasting milk that’s remarkably similar to regular milk. To boost its nutritional content, processed almond milk contains additives like calcium, vitamin E, vitamin D, and riboflavin.
It also includes flavorings, preservatives, and thickeners to enhance the taster, shelf life, and texture.
While the majority of almond milk consumers are those who cannot digest cow’s milk, many people prefer it to ordinary milk because of its taste. You, too, can make your own homemade almond milk.
Here is a short video showing you how:
If you enjoy eating spicy food but dislike the flaming-hot sensation that follows, you now have a long list of cures for the spiciness. Luckily, these are mostly items you already use, so they are within easy reach.
While almond milk typically contains less fat than traditional full-cream milk, it’s still reasonably effective in diffusing the smarting heat from spicy food. So, whenever you experience the heat brought on by consuming spicy dishes, hold a mouthful of almond milk or whole milk in your mouth for quick, soothing relief.
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