Almonds May Provide Gut Health Benefits
Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E. A new study suggests that consumption of almonds may help increase butyrate concentrations.
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that is the main source of fuel for cells lining the colon and helps maintain a strong gut wall and in the absorption of nutrients.
Participants included 87 healthy adults who ate less than the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber and snacked on unhealthy foods. They were assigned to 1 of 3 interventions for 4 weeks:
- Substituted unhealthy snacks for 56 g of whole almonds per day.
- Substituted unhealthy snacks for 56 g of ground almonds per day.
- Substituted unhealthy snacks for calorie-matched muffins.
The researchers evaluated gut microbiota composition, short-chain fatty acids levels, gut transit time, stool output, and gut symptoms at baseline and at the end of the study period.
Participants in the almond groups saw significantly higher levels of butyrate at the end of the study period compared to the muffin group. Participants in the whole almond group had an additional 1.5 bowel movements per week. No significant changes were seen in gut microbiota composition, gut transit time, stool consistency, or gut symptoms.
The study was conducted by researchers from King’s College London. It was published online ahead of print on September 20, 2022 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A previous study found that fiber supplements may provide gut health benefits.