A British study suggests almonds, as well as being a vitamin and mineral source, might present other health benefits, such as producing good bacteria.
The study by scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Colney, England, identified potential prebiotic properties of almonds that could help improve digestive health by increasing levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
Funded by the Almond Board of California, IFR scientists used the Model Gut — a physical and biochemical simulator of the human gastro-intestinal tract — to subject almonds to the same conditions experienced in the stomach and small intestine. They then added the digested almonds to an in vitro batch system to mimic the bacterial fermentation in the large intestine and monitored its effect on the populations of intestinal bacteria.
Researchers found finely ground almonds significantly increased the levels of certain beneficial gut bacteria. This effect was not seen when the fat content was removed from the almond preparation, suggesting the beneficial bacteria use the almond lipid for growth.