Credit: © AlenKadr / Fotolia

Credit: © AlenKadr / Fotolia

Eating walnuts helps make your gut bacteria healthy

Eating walnuts helps make your gut bacteria healthy, according to the latest research from LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.

Why is your gut so important?

Besides digesting food and making it useable for the body, the gut is also key to keeping you healthy. Science has shown that the majority of the immune system actually lives in the gut, and that the beneficial bacteria in the gut are key to fighting many diseases.

The new study aimed to find how walnuts can benefits gut health, and therefore overall health.

Walnuts have been called a ‘superfood’ because they are rich in the omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid and fiber, and they contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants,” notes Dr. Byerley. “Now, an additional superfood benefit of walnuts may be their beneficial changes to the gut microbiota.”

The LSU press release reported the following on the study methods:

Working in a rodent model, the research team added walnuts to the diet of one group. The diet of the other group contained no walnuts. They then measured the types and numbers of gut bacteria in the descending colon and compared the results. They found that there were two distinct communities of bacteria in the groups. In the walnut-eating group, the numbers and types of bacteria changed, as did the bacteria’s functional capacity. The researchers reported a significant increase in beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus.

We found that walnuts in the diet increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and other non-related studies have associated less bacterial diversity with obesity and other diseases like inflammatory bowel disease,” says Byerley. “Walnuts increased several bacteria, like Lactobacillus, typically associated with probiotics suggesting walnuts may act as a prebiotic.”

Prebiotics are substances in the body that help intelligently select and promote gut bacteria.

Gut health is an emerging research area, and researchers are finding that greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes,” adds Byerley.

The researchers conclude that eating walnuts may shape gut bacteria in a way that can benefit overall health.

The study showing that eating walnuts helps make your gut bacteria healthy was published in the journal The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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1. “LSUHealthNO Research Finds Walnuts May Promote Health by Changing Gut Bacteria.” LSU Health, LSU Health,
2. “Changes in the Gut Microbial Communities Following Addition of Walnuts to the Diet.” ScienceDirect, The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry

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