[Note: Probiotics are fed by prebiotics. A “prebiotic” food must be able to get through the upper part of the intestine without being digested or absorbed by the body, in order to feed beneficial bacteria in the lower intestine.]
Almonds are known to have a number of nutritional benefits, including cholesterol lowering effects and protection against diabetes. They are also a good source of minerals and vitamin E, associated with promoting health and reducing the risk for chronic disease.
In this study we investigated the potential prebiotic effect of almond seeds in vitro using mixed faecal bacterial cultures. Two almond products, finely ground almonds (FG) and defatted finely ground almonds (DG), were subjected to a combined model of the gastrointestinal tract which includes in vitro gastric and duodenal digestion, and the resulting fractions were subsequently used as substrates for the colonic model to assess their influence on the composition and metabolic activity of gut bacteria.
Finely ground almonds significantly increased the population of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale, resulting in a higher prebiotic index (4.43) compared with the commercial prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharides (4.08) at 24 h incubation.
No significant differences in the proportions of gut bacteria groups were detected in response to defatted finely ground almonds. The increase in the numbers of Eubacterium rectale during fermentation of FG correlated with increased butyrate production.
In conclusion, we have shown that addition of finely ground almonds altered the composition of gut bacteria, stimulating the growth of bifidobacteria and Eubacterium rectale.
Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology, May 23, 2008. [E-pub ahead of print.] PMID: 18502914, by Mandalari G, Nueno-Palop C, Bisignano G, Wickham MS, Narbad A. The Model Gut Platform and Commensal & Microflora Programme, Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich, UK; Department of Pharmacobiology, University of Messina, Messina, Italy. [E-mail: