As time marches on and we continue to learn more and more about what factors affect our health it’s become abundantly clear that what happens in our gut is a very big deal. The collection of microorganisms that reside in the human digestive system is collectively known as the gut microbiome, and evidence is mounting that suggests the variety and diversity of the microbes in our bodies can impact our health in a dramatic way, both for the positive and the negative. Now, research into a popular “superfood” reveals that including it in a daily diet can boost gut health and keep your microbes happy.
The fruit of the avocado tree has rapidly become a popular health food over the past decade or so. We’ve long known that avocados were good for us, but only recently has it become clear how many benefits the fruit offers. It’s packed with healthy fats and nutrients that help us maintain our health, and a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that good gut microbes also love it.
Knowing that gut microbes are vital to our health and also knowing that avocados are filled with good stuff, the researchers wanted to see if the fruit actually had any measurable impact on the microbes, either in abundance or variety, so they set up a simple experiment. Over 160 adults were recruited and their diets were slightly modified. They were split into two groups, with one group being given one special meal per day that included avocado, and the other group receiving a similar meal but without the avocado.
The participants provided blood, urine, and stool samples before, during, and after the experiment, and aside from eating one special meal per day that was prepared by the researchers, they were told to eat whatever they would normally eat throughout the day. When the trial was over after 12 weeks, the data was crunched and some very interesting conclusions were made.
For starters, the individuals that received the meals with avocado had more gut microbes capable of breaking down fiber than those who ate the meal without the fruit. Those microbes are beneficial in a number of ways, including their production of compounds that are good for our digestive system. On top of that, there was a greater variety of microbes in those that ate the avocado, and diversity of the gut microbiome has been linked to better health across the board.
The researchers concluded that a diet that includes avocado on a daily basis “affects digestive physiology, as well as the composition and metabolic functions of the intestinal microbiota” in a positive way. So, if you want a quick, easy, and tasty way to keep your microbes happy, pile on the guac and enjoy.