According to a recent study, eating a handful of almonds a day significantly increases the production of a short-chain fatty acid, butyric acid, which contributes to gut health.

Researchers at King’s College London studied the effect of whole and ground almonds on the composition of microbes in the gut.

The gut microbiome is made up of thousands of micro-organisms that play a vital role in the digestion of nutrients and can have positive or negative effects on our health, including our digestive and immune systems.

Researchers at King’s College London recruited 87 healthy adults who consumed less fiber than recommended and typical unhealthy snacks – chocolate and crisps.

The participants were divided into three groups: one group consumed 56 grams of whole almonds a day, another 56 grams of ground almonds a day, and a control group consumed muffins of similar calorie content.

When the four-week trial was evaluated, the researchers found that butyric acid levels were significantly higher among almond eaters compared to muffin eaters.

Butyric acid is a short-chain fatty acid that is the main source of energy for the cells lining the large intestine. The efficient functioning of these cells provides ideal conditions for normal gut microbial function. The results also suggest that the consumption of almonds may also be beneficial for people suffering from constipation.

The tests showed that almond consumption improved people’s diets by increasing their intake of monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium and other important nutrients compared to the control group.

Source: King’s College London