You woke up this morning – fed the birds their ration of seeds, the dog and the cat, got their respective biscuits.
Did you feed the most important “pets” in your life ? Did you feed your gut bacteria ?
Left overs are not enough
Siss – if you said the little suckers can just feed off the leftovers.
You don’t just feed the dog leftovers. You buy the canine in your life, food specifically formulated to have all the nutrients a dog needs to be healthy. You buy the variety with the EXTRA GRAVY, so it tastes good as well.
Yup, it does manage to eat the leftovers, which it skilfully persuades you to part with, but this is the cherry on top of your hounds’ diet, not the staple food.
Your gut bacteria outnumber your own cells by about 10 to 1. Should you not be feeding them something special too ?
Your pet dog, brings benefits beyond just being another mouth to feed, although in some cases, the mouth appears to never be satisfied. For some it is a companionship, for others it is protection or on a cold winters’ night a hot water bottle, that never gets cold.
Gut bacteria bring a host of benefits too. They help digest the things that we feed ourselves, are built in pharmaceutical factories providing us with vital nutrients. They also keep the digestive tract moving and shaking, at the right speed, so we’re neither running for the loo, or avoiding it like the plague. In addition to helping out with digestion, the gut bacteria are important in keeping the immune system on its toes and might even keep your head screwed on straight.
“Biscuits” for bacteria
Should you not be feeding your bacteria specially formulated “biscuits” ?
Okay, the more correct term is prebiotics – this is food which you can’t really use but bacteria LOVE. The bacteria are able to break it down and get the necessary nutrients to fuel their growth and activity.
Almonds are biscuits for bacteria
Research funded by the Almond Board of California, has found almonds are pretty good at feeding your gut microflora.
I know, it probably isn’t a big surprise that the almond board found the eating almonds is good for you, but it is nice to know why.
The scientists used a model gut, aka a lab set up, that behaves a lot like your gut. They crunched up some almonds and then stuck the almond soup into the artificial gut. Then they watched what happened.
The good guys (bacteria) went nuts. They munched away at the almond soup and grew big and strong. The part of the nuts that the bacteria liked was actually the fats (or lipids).
This is a little unusual, since prebiotics are usually carbohydrates such as oligofructose and inulin.
You have a real gut, not a tube system, so more studies will need to be done to see if it works the same way in your gut.
The heart is also nuts about almonds
But epidemiological studies say almonds are good for cardiovascular health, as well.
People who eat nuts actually have lower cholesterol levels. They have lots of good things in them, including ?-tocopherol, arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium as well as anti-oxidants and best of all they taste nice (unlike broccoli and brusselsprouts).
Feed your bacteria
So tomorrow morning – feed the birds their ration of seeds, the dog and the cat their respective biscuits and then chuck down a handful of almonds, to give your bacteria their food.
If you decide that feeding your bacteria with almonds is a fabulous idea, but you haven’t eaten a nut in years – go slow or you might find yourself looking and feeling like a giant bull frog. Swollen, soar and smelly, just like eating sushi – it requires a little practice.
Effects of almond consumption on the reduction of LDL-cholesterol: a discussion of potential mechanisms and future research directions. Nutr Rev. (2011) Apr;69(4):171-85. Berryman CE, Preston AG, Karmally W, Deckelbaum RJ, Kris-Etherton PM.Investigation of the potential prebiotic properties of almond (Amygdalus communis L.) seeds. Applied and Environmental Microbiology (2008) 74(14) : 4264-4270. G. Mandalari, C. Nueno-Palop, G. Bisignano, M. S. J. Wickham, and A. Narbad
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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..