Upset stomach? You should add this dish to your menu

A new study found the food that causes more daily bowel movements, helping one feel good and function effectively.

 Stomach pain (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Stomach pain
(photo credit: PIXABAY)

Compared to the brain, the liver or the heart, the stomach seems to be a relatively simple and uncomplicated organ – yet it's not. 

The intestinal microbiome contains countless microorganisms and bacteria that are crucial for healthy digestive and immune systems, as well as general body functioning. Now, new research suggests that a healthy stomach and strong gut can be found in a handful of almonds.

Scientists at King's College London whose research was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating almonds daily significantly increases the production of Butyric acid, a straight-chain fatty acid known to promote strong gut health. 

The research team investigated how whole and ground almonds affect the composition of intestinal bacteria.

The human gut is complex and important, yet finding the exact mechanisms that determine how the microbiome affects health is still under investigation. Studies that have been conducted proved that eating specific types of food affects the types of bacteria and their function in our intestines.

Researchers in the current study recruited a group of 87 adults. Everyone already ate less than the daily recommended amount of dietary fiber and usually snacked on unhealthy items like cookies or chips.

Researchers divided the participants into three groups: One group ate 56 grams of whole almonds daily instead of other less healthy snacks. Another group ate 56 grams of ground almonds daily and the third control group ate almond muffins containing the caloric value of 56 grams of almonds. The experiment lasted four weeks.

How eating nuts keeps the stomach healthy

Researchers found that the amount of butyric acid was significantly higher among participants who ate whole or ground almonds. This fatty acid serves as the main source of fuel for the colon's cells which in turn creates ideal conditions for intestinal bacteria to thrive, promotes a strong intestinal wall, and causes optimal absorption of nutrients.

Lead study author Professor Kevin Whelan, Head of Nutritional Sciences at King's College London, said that gut microbiota affects human health through the production of straight-chain fatty acids like butyrate. These molecules are fuel for the colon's cells, regulate absorption of other nutrients into the intestine and help balance the immune system. 

Whelan stated that these findings suggest that almond consumption may benefit bacterial metabolism with the potential to positively impact one's health.

The team found no noticeable difference in the time it takes for food to pass through the intestines. However, in the group of whole almond eaters they reported 1.5 times more bowel movements per week compared to the other groups. 

So, almonds may be beneficial for those dealing with constipation. Moreover, the study suggests eating whole or ground almonds improves absorption of other nutrients. People who ate almonds had a higher intake of monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, potassium and other important nutrients.