Walnut consumption may increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in the gut, according to a recent animal study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
At the end of 10 weeks, rats fed a diet containing ground walnuts showed an increase in beneficial bacteria types including, Lactobacillus, Roseburia, and Ruminococcaceae.
Rats in the walnut diet group also showed greater gut bacteria diversity than those consuming the walnut-free control diet.
"The diet groups had distinct microbial communities with animals consuming walnuts displaying significantly greater species diversity," concluded the researchers from Louisiana State University.
The finding is also important because the ability to positively influence gut bacteria composition with foods like walnuts may eventually lead to better health outcomes.
"Gut health is an emerging research area, but we are seeing that greater bacterial diversity may be associated with better health outcomes, whereas low diversity has been linked to conditions such as obesity and inflammatory bowel disease," said lead researcher professor Lauri Byerley.