Ground almonds replaced all my gluten free flours in one swoop when I gave up grains to embark on the SCD diet 3 years ago. Now almond is an essential ingredient in my ‘keep it real’ kitchen. Little did I know how truly beneficial this oval gem would be to my tummy, and my healing. Almonds are amazing for gut health. These days, I would genuinely struggle to live without them.
Bless the prebiotic properties of almonds.
Recent studies revealed that Almonds are amazing for gut health because they are a prebiotic. What’s a prebiotic? Prebiotic’s are probiotic food. So, any food that reaches the colon undigested are prebiotic candidates. Prebiotics stimulate the growth of good bacteria already in your large intestine!
It was found that almonds increased the number of good microbes in your gut without boosting the number of bad, disease causing bacteria. Don’t you love knowing you can eat something that only feeds the good guys! Almonds specifically increase the populations of bifida bacteria and Eubacterium rectale. Read study here
Another study also shows that the enhanced levels of good bacteria were sustained for up to two weeks after eating almonds!
The whole almond package. Skin and all.
My hero almond’s skin cells are packed with dietary fibre. Dietary fibre makes foods resistant to digestive enzymes and enables their passage through the stomach untouched. Whole almonds contain approximately 50% dietary fibre, (impressive) while blanched almonds contain 12% (not bad).
Encased in their fibrous skin, almonds are a perfect food package for good bacteria. The brown skin casing protects the good fats and protein from the first stages of digestion, allowing it to travel through the stomach and onto the large intestine and colon where it can serve as food for good bacteria. Nice design!
Good Fat intact!
Good bacteria require the lipids (fat) from almonds for growth. Undigested fats that reach the large intestine become food for your resident health promoting bacteria. Therefore almonds that have the fats removed will not produce a prebiotic response in the gut. Roasted almonds have their fat content altered and therefore don’t have the same prebiotic effect.
The fact is, almonds taste better when they’re activated, they are better for you and easier on your digestion. Activated almonds still have their essential prebiotic traits; fibre rich skins intact and unaltered fat content. Activation gets rid of all the hard to digest enzyme inhibitors that reside in the skin. It’s the gut friendly way to eat nuts. Learn how to activate nuts for a healing gut in my previous post.
Ground almond, a bakers treat and a winner in your gut.
Thankfully, for I use it all the time; ground almond, (aka almond meal, almond flour) also stimulates the growth of friendly bacteria. Research has even shown that ground almond has a prebiotic index higher than commercial prebiotic supplement.
Almonds are amazing for gut health but they are also:
- Loaded with Antioxidants (usually in the skin) that protect your cells from oxidative damage that contributes to aging and disease.
- Contain vitamin E – which can play a role in preventing cancer, cardiovascular diseases and slowing down the ageing process.
- Great protection against Diabetes: They are low carb, but high in healthy fat, protein and fiber and assist with blood sugar control.
- High in mononsaturated fat – (the same fats found in olive oil) is associated with lower LDL Cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease
- An awesome source of magnesium – a mineral involved in more than 300 bodily processes.
- Can help you loose weight – they increase satiety so you eat less.
So, almonds are far more than a healthy and handy morsel, they are fertiliser for the gut. Most notably, for someone with digestive issues almonds and almond skins have impressive prebiotic properties. So go grab yourself a handful.