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Walnuts: The Nuts For Gut Health

Longevity logo Longevity 2018-05-14 Pierrette Mulumba

© Provided by ZA Celebrityworx Pty Ltd Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fats and are also extremely rich in antioxidants. They’ve been known to help boost both brain and fertility health. They’re also filled with dietary fibre, and a recent study has revealed how positively this can influence gut bacteria.

What was the study about?

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set out to uncover the link between walnuts and gut bacteria. For the study, researchers fed 18 healthy male and female adults either 42 grams of walnuts or no walnuts at all over two 3-week periods. According to the FDA, 42 grams of these can help lower the risk of coronary artery disease. Aside from the walnuts, the participants also ate the same diet.  The researchers made sure to collect faecal and blood samples at the beginning and end of each period in order to assess the effects of walnut consumption on gut bacteria make up as well as the cholesterol and glucose levels.

What did the results show?

The study revealed that the intake of walnuts increased levels of three bacteria- faecalibacterium, roseburia and clostridium. The researchers went on to further explain that these three bacteria produce a by-product called butyrate, which has been shown to improve colon health. Moreover, animal studies have revealed that faecalibacterium can help reduce inflammation. The walnuts not only impacted the gut bacteria but they also reduced the level of LDL cholesterol within the body. LDL cholesterol refers to the cholesterol in the body that’s been proven to be detrimental to cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health. This proves that ingesting walnuts can help to boost both heart and digestive health.

The study also revealed a reduction in secondary bile acids. Secondary bile acids have been attributed to colon cancer and they can affect the cells within the GI tract. Furthermore, the levels of secondary bile acids are higher in individuals who are at a higher risk for the disease. It’s important to note that the levels of butyrate weren’t measured so there’s no significant proof that the increased levels of the three bacteria also increased the butyrate. Nonetheless, it’s clear that if you’re looking to snack on nuts – walnuts would be your best choice when it comes to your gut health. Read more about the study here.

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