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Almonds May Help Promote Friendly Intestinal Bacteria

Next time you walk down the snack aisle at your local grocer you may want to toss a bag of almonds in your cart.  New research from England found that almond powder may increase levels of beneficial gut flora, thereby demonstrating prebiotic potential.

Prebiotics are food for probiotics, the beneficial intestinal bacteria which are necessary for gut health.  Based on this study, almonds help promote the growth of the healthy gut bacteria that is important to good health.

Researchers from the Institute of Food Research used a simulated model of the gastrointestinal tract to assess how almond powder affects the composition and activity of gut bacteria.

They tested regular almond powder and defatted almond powder against a commonly used prebiotic supplement. After 24 hours, the almond powder significantly increased the population of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale resulting in a prebiotic index of 4.43.

This outperformed the commercial prebiotic supplement which had a prebiotic index of 4.08.  The defatted almonds had no effect on the bacteria population.

The results of the study were published in the July 2008 edition of Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

It should be noted that this experiment was conducted using a laboratory simulation, not in actual humans.  The results are promising, however, and warrant additional testing on human subjects.

Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
July 2008, published online ahead of print 23rd May 2008
“Investigation of the potential prebiotic properties of almond (Amygdalus communis L.) seeds”
Authors: G. Mandalari, C. Nueno-Palop, G. Bisignano, M. S.J. Wickham, and A. Narbad.
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