Posted on Oct 25, 2022, 5 p.m.
Recent King’s College London research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating a handful of almonds every day helps to significantly increase the production of butyrate, which is a short-chain fatty acid that promotes beneficial gut health.
The gut microbiome, or flora, is made up of thousands of microorganisms that reside within the gut which can influence our health, including the immune and digestive systems, in either positive or negative ways. The mechanisms behind the influence are still being investigated, but research suggests that certain types of food can influence the types of bacteria in the gut and/or what they do in the gut in either a positive or negative way.
This four-week trial involved 87 healthy adults who were eating less than the required amount of dietary fiber and snacked on unhealthy snacks, who were divided into 3 groups: a group that changed their snacks to 56 grams of whole almonds per day, another group that snacked on 56 grams of ground almonds per day, and a third group who were the controls who ate energy matched muffins each day.
According to the researchers, those that ate almonds were found to have significantly higher levels of butyrate than the controls. This is important because butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that is the main source of fuel for the cells that line the colon, when they function effectively this enables an ideal condition for the gut flora to flourish, for nutrients to be absorbed, and the gut walls to be strong as well as not leaky or inflamed.
However, there was no significant difference found in gut transit time for food to move all the way through the gut, but the whole almond eaters had an additional 1.5 bowel movements per week when compared to the other two groups, suggesting that eating whole almonds may help those experiencing constipation. Additional testing revealed that eating almonds improved people’s diets, providing them with higher intakes of fiber, potassium, monounsaturated fatty acids, and other important nutrients when compared to the controls.
"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 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,” said Lead author Professor Kevin Whelan, Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King's College London.
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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