Friday, July 19, 2024

Pop some almonds for better gut health

Everyday we learn something new. Research is a never ending process of constantly evolving, changing, discovering and learning. The human microbiome of trillion microorganisms living in our bodies, especially in the human gut, is one such enigmatic topic. 

Slowly but steadily, researchers and scientists are putting together the pieces of this puzzle, how this tiny galaxy in our gut operates and how it influences our health. 

Our gut microbiome plays an important role in digestion and if it isn’t functioning optimally, be assured it will affect your digestive and immune systems. What controls and affects the universe in our gut? It’s simple. The food we eat influences the microorganisms in our gut, and we know that gut health is key to a person’s overall health. 

Nuts and seeds are often lacking from a typical diet, but these nutrition powerhouses are a speedy and healthy snack. Recently researchers have been all praise for almonds when it comes to gut health. They say snacking on almonds has proven to boost gut health by increasing the production of an important short-chain fatty acid called butyrate. Eating a handful of almonds a day may significantly improve your gut health.

The health benefits of almonds —

  • Researchers have said that eating almonds in any form tremendously improved people’s gut health due to the increase in important nutrients. The improvements were found in monounsaturated fatty acids, and potassium levels. They also noticed that almonds are a good source of niacin or vitamin B, folic acid, magnesium, zinc and copper which are essential vitamins and minerals for our overall health. 
  • Eating almonds is a smart choice for improving gut health because of its fibre content. The prebiotic fibre in almonds starts the process of increasing butyrate and gut-nourishing molecules. As the microbes digest the prebiotic fibres, they produce beneficial compounds which provide energy for the cells lining the large intestine and support overall immune health. The fibre content in almonds also offers wonderful benefits to your health like controlling and curbing your appetite because it helps you feel full longer, making you have fewer food cravings, regulating your blood sugar, reducing your risk of heart disease, promoting satiety and helping your digestion. 
  • Butyrate is important to gut health as it acts as the primary source of fuel for the cells of the colon, allowing them to function correctly and optimally. It is also actively involved in nutrient absorption. Butyrate produced in the gut can enter the bloodstream where it is involved in the regulation of health in other parts of the body like the liver, brain and lungs.
  • One more benefit from eating roasted almonds or almond skins is the decrease in Clostridium Perfringens levels. This is a spore-forming, gram-positive bacteria that contributes to food poisoning.
  • It is advisable to use almond-based beauty products. Being rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, almonds offer excellent benefits for the skin and scalp, making it supple, clearer, stretch-mark free, lighten dark circles around the eyes and even improve eyesight.

Almonds for seniors —

We know that almonds are nutrient-rich and a healthy substitute for snacking but they are also  ideal for individuals over 50, or those with diabetes and heart conditions by reducing cholesterol and maintaining blood sugar levels. Some studies have also shown its involvement in reducing the risk of certain types of cancers related to the colon, gut and even conditions that cause cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s.

Why is gut health important?

All disease begins in the gut. Improving your gut health is fundamental to your overall health and wellbeing.  Without a properly functioning digestive system, you aren’t fully absorbing nutrients, which are vital for carrying out metabolic functions like growth and repair of cells and boosting your immunity.  When digestion is suboptimal because of an unhealthy gut it affects every cell in your body. It can cause inflammation, lack of necessary nutrients, fatigue, brain fog, depression and anxiety. 

FORMULA: A healthy gut = A healthy body = A healthy life. 

How long until you see the benefits of gut health?

If you’re curious about including almonds in your diet for gut health, know that some effects may be felt immediately and others may take some time (weeks to months). The effects vary from person to person, some may immediately experience having more energy, a better mood, less gas and bloating while the longer-term effects are improved blood pressure, cholesterol and vast improvement to your long-term health. 

Conclusion —

We know that almonds are nutrient-rich and a healthy substitute for snacking. However, make note that raw almonds tend to produce heat, especially in countries like India where the general weather is humid and tropical. 

TIP: It is strongly  advised to soak the almonds overnight in water or milk before consuming them to reduce its heat content. 

Almonds are the nuts you should be reaching for if you want to really boost your health. Eat them raw as an easy snack, ground in homemade granola bars, milk in your coffee or as butter on wholegrain crackers. 


Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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