Why Snacking on Almonds Can Help You Poop, According to a New Study
Eating a handful of almonds a day may significantly boost your gut health, according to a new study conducted by King's College London. The study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and found that snacking on whole almonds every day promoted more regular bowel movements throughout the week. It should be noted that this study was funded by the Almond Board of California, so more research with unbiased funding needs to be done to support the results.
"We think these findings suggest almond consumption may benefit bacterial metabolism in a way that has the potential to influence human health," Professor Kevin Whelan, Head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences at King's College London and lead author of the study said in the college's release.
What The Study Found
Researchers selected 87 adults who reported eating less than the recommended amount of dietary fiber and preferred to eat processed snacks. The participants were split into three groups: the first group replaced their usual snack with 56 grams of whole almonds a day, the second group with 56 grams of ground almonds a day and the third group was the control group, consuming a muffin each day as their snack. For reference, 56 grams equals about 2 ounces of almonds, or about one third of a cup.
After four weeks of their prescribed snacking, the trial concluded. The most notable finding was that the almond eaters in the study had much higher levels of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that is vital for your gut health. Acting as the main source of fuel for the colon's lining, butyrate strengthens the gut wall and enhances the environment for gut microbes to flourish.
There was no sign of food moving through the gut quicker for any group in this study. However, the whole-almond group was marked to have an additional 1.5 bowel movements per week compared to the other study groups. This means that eating almonds may help those with constipation, or those who just want to be more regular. This could be in part thanks to almond's fiber content. The amount consumed in the study would have added 7 grams of fiber per day to participants in the intervention groups, which is about 28% of the daily recommended intake.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the study showed that eating whole or ground almonds helped improve participants' diets. Eating a handful of almonds a day means consuming more unsaturated fatty acids, fiber, potassium and more nutrients that your body (and your gut) needs to thrive. Plus, it might help your bowel movements be more regular to boot. Try adding in almonds alongside dried fruit as a fiber-rich snack or using almonds in recipes like our Fruit Energy Balls or Cherry-Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.