Walnuts have already been called a 'superfood', but they could be even more super after researchers found that they change the bacteria in the gut.
It's known the nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linoleic acids and fibre, but they also have a positive influence on the gut microbiome, say researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine.
The nuts increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut, and raise the levels of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus that are often associated with probiotics. Because they encourage this, walnuts could be seen as a prebiotic, the researchers say.
The research team added walnuts to one group of laboratory rats, while another group was fed the same diet but without the walnuts; within a short time, those given the walnuts had dramatic, and positive, changes in their gut microbiome.
Scientists are discovering that the gut plays a pivotal role in our overall health, and a healthy gut is vital for keeping us well.