By Pol Allingham via SWNS
Snacking on almonds is excellent for the stomach and could help relieve constipation, according to a new study.
Researchers discovered that eating a handful of the nuts - rather than chips or chocolate - "significantly boosted" people’s levels of - a short-chain fatty acid that provides the perfect conditions for gut microbes.
They explained that butyrate strengthens the wall of the gut and stops it from leaking or becoming inflamed.
People who ate whole almonds were also found to have an extra one-and-a-half bowel movements a week compared to other people in the study.
As a result, the scientists suggest eating almonds could help relieve constipation too.
Lead author Professor Kevin Whelan, Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King’s College London, said: “Part of the way in which the gut microbiota impact human health is through the production of short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate.
“These molecules act as a fuel source for cells in the colon, they regulate the absorption of other nutrients in the gut and help balance the immune system.
“We think these findings suggest almond consumption may benefit bacterial metabolism in a way that has the potential to influence human health.”
Professor Whelan’s team investigated how snacking on whole and ground almonds impacted gut microbe composition.
So far evidence suggested eating specific foods can positively impact the type and effect of bacteria in our gut.
The gut microbiome is inhabited by thousands of microorganisms that help digest nutrients and dictate the quality of our health, particularly in our digestive and immune systems.
To figure out if almonds could help, the team recruited 87 healthy adults who ate less than 28 grams, the daily recommended dose of dietary fiber, the equivalent of around three pears.
Before the study, the chosen participants ate unhealthy snacks such as chocolate or chips.
They were split into three groups and changed their snacking regimes for four weeks.
One group traded unhealthy snacks for 56 grams of whole almonds each day, another for 56 grams of ground almonds a day. The control group ate energy-matched muffins as a control.
The research team found that butyrate was significantly higher among almond eaters versus those who ate muffins.
The short-chain fatty acid is the primary fuel source for cells lining the colon, helping microbes to flourish.
Though there was no major difference in how long the food took to pass through the gut the almond eaters did have more bowel movements.
The findings, published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that eating whole or ground almonds improved people’s diets by providing more monosaturated fatty acids, fiber, potassium and other helpful nutrients.
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