- Researchers recently investigated the effects of peanuts, herbs and spices, including cinnamon, ginger, cumin and turmeric, on the gut microbiome in two separate studies.
- They found that adding peanuts along with herbs and spices to a typical American diet for just 4 to 6 weeks increased levels of certain gut bacteria.
- They note that further research is needed to understand the implications of their findings and The possible health benefits of having more gut bacteria.
Diet affects the types of bacteria that live in your gut. These bacteria have been linked to a variety of health measures, including blood sugar control, which is important for regulating blood sugar levels,
Meanwhile, a systematic review of nut consumption found that almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios increased gut bacterial diversity. However, until now, no studies have examined the effect of peanuts on the microbiome.
Further research into the effects of dietary factors such as herbs, spices, and peanuts on gut bacteria could help inform preventive health strategies and treatments.
Recently, researchers conducted two studies investigating how the consumption of peanuts, herbs and spices affects the gut microbiome. They found that all three ingredients increased the diversity of gut bacteria after only 4-6 weeks of consumption.
These studies were published in
To study the effects of herbs and spices on the microbiome, the researchers recruited 54 adults with an average age of 45. All participants were obese or overweight and had at least one other cardiovascular risk factor, such as elevated glucose or triglycerides.
The researchers gave 48 participants the same diet for four weeks along with one of three spices and herbs: 0.5 grams per day, 3.3 grams per day or 6.6 grams per day.
Participants consumed all three herbs and spices for 4 weeks, with a two-week “washout” period in between. Spices include cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme.
They provided stool samples at the beginning of the study and at the end of each fasting period.
The researchers found that daily consumption of either 3.3 grams or 6.6 grams of herbs or spices increased levels of Ruminococcus bacteria.
The highest levels of Ruminococcus bacteria were observed in people who consumed the highest levels of herbs and spices.
For the peanut study, researchers recruited 50 adults who had elevated fasting blood sugar levels and were overweight or obese.
They asked participants to eat 28 grams of peanuts or crackers and cheese daily as an evening snack.
All participants tried both diets for six weeks, with a four-week washout period in between. The researchers collected stool samples from the participants at the beginning of the study and at the end of each dietary intervention.
They found that stool samples from people who ate peanuts had higher levels of Ruminococcus bacteria than those who ate crackers and cheese.
They further noted that those who ate peanuts also had higher levels of Roseberry compared to when the study began.
Research has linked roseburia to weight loss and reduced glucose intolerance.
When asked about the health benefits of Ruminococcus, Dr. Lona Sandon, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition at the UT Southwestern Medical Center School of Health Professions, who was not involved in the study, told medical news today These studies did not specifically examine the health benefits of these ingredients.
“However, Ruminococcus appears to have increased bacteria that produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that, if produced in higher amounts, may help control appetite, energy balance and improve blood sugar,” said Dr. Sandon.
How peanuts and herbs increase gut microbiome diversity is unclear.
“In addition to being a source of protein and healthy fats, peanuts are also a source of fiber. The bacteria in the gut feed on the fiber. With more fiber in the diet, more bacteria and a wider variety of bacteria can thrive in the gut ,” Dr. Sandon said.
“As for herbs and spices, the theory is that polyphenolic compounds, chemicals in herbs and spices, and foods such as dark cocoa, wine, grapes, berries, and cherries, provide a food source or help create an environment that supports the growth of a wider variety of bacteria in the gut, ’ she added.
“Polyphenols [in peanuts, herbs, and spices] Known to promote health in various ways, such as reducing cancer risk or reducing inflammation. The way they promote health may be by altering the gut microbiome. “
— Dr. Lona Sandon
The researchers concluded that adding small amounts of peanuts, herbs or spices to the diet can increase the abundance of certain gut bacteria.
However, the researchers note that further research is needed to understand how increased numbers of these bacteria might affect overall health.
When asked about the limitations of these studies, Dr. Sandon pointed to the small sample size and short study duration.
“[This makes] It’s hard to draw conclusions about what might happen in the long run. Furthermore, these studies did not specifically look for health effects, but instead aimed to determine how changes in diet affected the microbiome. We cannot draw conclusions about health effects from these findings,” she said.
montreal also spoke with Dr. Dana Ellis Hunnes, an assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health who was not involved in the study. Dr. Hunnes too Survival Tips: How to Live a Healthier, Greener Life.
Another limitation of the studies, she noted, was their limited focus on peanuts, rather than a wider range of nuts or legumes.
“I would like to see future research that looks at overall diet quality, not just one specific food or nutrient, also known as ‘nutrition reductionism’ or nutritionism,” she said.
She also noted that the studies were funded by the industry itself: The Peanut Institute, a nonprofit that encourages healthy lifestyles, including eating peanuts, and the spice and herb company McCormick.
“[This doesn’t mean the [studies are bad]which just means they are tied to outcomes,” she noted.