A study from the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environment Sciences revealed that including avocado in your daily diet can help improve gut health.
Avocados are a healthy food, rich in dietary fiber and monounsaturated fats that act on microbes in the gastrointestinal system or “gut”.
Sharon Thompson, a graduate student in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the U of I and lead author of the article, published in the Journal of Nutrition, said: “We know that eating avocado helps you feel full and reduces blood cholesterol levels. , but we didn’t. know how it affects gut microbes and metabolites produced by microbes. “
The researchers found that people who ate avocados every day as part of a meal had a greater abundance of gut microbes that break down fiber and produce metabolites that support gut health. They also had greater microbial diversity than people who did not receive avocado meals, the study says.
Thompson said: “Eating avocados reduced bile acids and increased short-chain fatty acids. These changes are related to beneficial health outcomes. “
The study included 163 adults between 25 and 45 years of age with overweight or obesity – defined as a BMI of at least 25 kg / m2 – but otherwise healthy. They received one meal a day to be consumed as a substitute for breakfast, lunch or dinner. One group ate an avocado with each meal, while the control group ate a similar meal but without the avocado. Participants provided blood, urine, and stool samples during the 12-week study. They also reported the amount of meals provided they ate and every four weeks they recorded everything they ate.
While other research on avocado consumption has focused on weight loss, participants in this study were not advised to limit or change what they ate. Instead, they ate their normal diets with the exception of replacing one meal a day with the meal provided by the researchers.
The aim of this study was to explore the effects of avocado consumption on the gastrointestinal microbiota. Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the U of I and senior author of the study, said, “Our goal was to test the hypothesis that the fats and fiber in avocados positively affect the gut microbiota. We also wanted to explore the relationships between gut microbes and health outcomes. “
The researchers found that while the avocado group consumed slightly more calories than the control group, a little more fat was excreted in the stool.
“Greater fat excretion meant that research participants were absorbing less energy from the foods they were eating. This was probably due to the reduction of bile acids, which are molecules secreted by our digestive system that allow us to absorb fats. We found that the number of bile acids in the stool was lower and the amount of fat in the stool was higher in the avocado group, ”explains Holscher.
Different types of fats have differential effects on the microbiome. The fats in avocados are monounsaturated, which are heart-healthy fats.
An average avocado provides about 12 grams of fiber, which goes a long way in reaching the recommended amount of 28-34 grams of fiber per day, the study says.
Eating fiber isn’t just good for us; it’s also important for the microbiome, Holscher said. “We can’t break down dietary fiber, but some gut microbes do. When we consume dietary fiber, it is a win for the gut microbes and for us. “
Holscher’s research laboratory specializes in the dietary modulation of the microbiome and its connections to health. “Just as we think about heart-healthy meals, we also need to think about gut-healthy meals and how to feed the microbiota,” he explained.
Avocado is also an energy-dense food, rich in nutrients, and contains important micronutrients that Americans don’t eat enough of, such as potassium and fiber.
“It’s just a really well packaged fruit that contains nutrients that are important for health. Our work shows we can add gut health benefits to that list, ”added Holscher.
(This story was published by a branch agency with no text changes. Only the title was changed.)
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