Published January 21, 2020.
Researchers have found that eating walnuts daily as part of a healthy diet is associated with increases in certain bacteria that can help to promote health.
The researchers also noted that changes in gut bacteria were associated with improvements in some risk factors for heart disease.
According to sciencedaily.com, the researchers in a randomised, controlled trial found that eating walnuts daily might be good for the gut and help to promote heart health.
An assistant research professor at Pennsylvania State University, United States of America, Kristina Peterson, in the study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggested that walnuts could replace usual and unhealthy snacks.
“Replacing your usual snack, especially if it is an unhealthy snack with walnuts is a small change you can make to improve your diet. Substantial evidence shows that small improvements in diet greatly benefit health. Eating two to three ounces of walnuts a day as part of a healthy diet could be a good way to improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease,” Petersen said.
According to the researchers, other research has found that changes to the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract also known as the gut microbiome may help explain the cardiovascular benefits of walnuts.
Also, a professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, Penny Kris-Etherton, said, “There’s a lot of work being done on gut health and how it affects overall health. So, in addition to looking at factors like lipids and lipoproteins, we wanted to look at gut health. We also wanted to see if changes in gut health with walnut consumption were related to improvements in risk factors for heart disease.”
In the study, the researchers recruited 42 participants with overweight or obesity who were between the ages of 30 and 65. Before the study began, participants were placed on an average American diet for two weeks.
To analyse the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, the researchers collected fecal samples 72 hours before the participants finished the run-in diet and each of the three study diet periods.
The researchers found that after the study participants had a walnut diet, there were significant associations between changes in gut bacteria and risk factors for heart disease.