Monday, July 23, 2018
Walnuts and GI Health
The microbiome is the environment within your intestines where 100 trillion microorganisms live. These gut dwelling bacteria contribute to immune function and are necessary for proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and removing harmful pathogens from the body.
Diet plays a significant role in which microorganisms thrive in the microbiome. Foods rich in fiber have been of interest to researches since fiber is the main food source. Numerous studies examining the impact of diet, the microbiome, and overall health have been conducted with promising results.
Walnuts have been known for their heart health benefits, but as a good source of fiber researchers were interested in their role in GI health. A new study published in The Journal of Nutrition followed 18 healthy adults who consumed either no walnuts or a handful of walnuts during two, three-week periods. At the end of the study the group that consumed walnuts had higher levels of healthy bacteria in their GI tract.
The group that ate walnuts also had a reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol and a reduction in secondary bile acids. Secondary bile acids can be damaging to the GI tract and high levels have been found in people with higher rates of colorectal cancer.
Incorporating one handful of walnuts daily could be beneficial for cardiac, GI, and colon health along with a healthy lifestyle and a well-balanced diet.