Eating This Nut Will Help Your Gut and Reduce Inflammation, New Study Says
This nut is tiny but mighty...and it's a crowd favorite.
You’ve probably heard that snacking on nuts can be a cracking choice for your health. Pecans, for one, are known for supporting blood sugar management. Pistachios are packed with protein. And Harvard University‘s blog points out that walnuts contain polyunsaturated fats that can help lower cholesterol and improve your heart health.
How Almonds Benefit the Gut
The clinical study, published in September 2022 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (and funded by the Almond Board of California), found that consuming almonds increased butyrate—a type of microbiota byproduct that’s been linked with a range of health benefits. These “good” bacteria help break down the dietary fiber in the large intestine, and are known for being the main energy source for your colon cells.
The study’s design was as follows: researchers from King’s College London gathered 87 healthy adults for a randomized controlled trial. For four weeks, one group ate two ounces of whole almonds, another ate two ounces of ground almonds, and the control group ate a muffin in place of their usual snack. At the end of the four weeks, researchers analyzed the composition and diversity of the participants’ gut microbiota, as well as other factors related to gut health and digestion.
As a result—while almonds had a limited impact on gut microbiota composition—the participants who ate almonds experienced a significant increase in the gut’s butyrate level.
Lead researcher Kevin Whelan, PhD, RD, Professor of Dietetics, King’s College London commented on the link between almonds and gut health. “Part of the way in which the gut microbiota impact human health is through the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate,” said in a recent press release. “These molecules act as a fuel source for cells in the colon, they regulate the absorption of other nutrients in the gut, and they help balance the immune system.”
Plus, according to the report, the participants’ increased fiber consumption did not trigger any gastrointestinal symptoms that caused discomfort. Eating enough fiber is an important habit for gut health. Without it, the gut bacteria won’t have anything to feed on. (This is also important for bulking up the stool.)
Why a healthy gut is key for general wellness
Along with reducing inflammation, a healthy gut has been shown to helping to prevent infection, improving depression symptoms, decreasing the risk of chronic diseases (including dementia), and even helping you live longer.
Butyrate has also been associated with other health benefits, such as improved sleep, reduced inflammation, a healthier immune system, and lowered the risk of colon cancer. Incorporating almonds into your diet is a great place to start taking care of your gut, as well as these best foods for gut health.
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