Posted on : May 13th, 2019
Did you know that every living thing on the planet could not survive without the microbiology that lives in our bodies along with us? Most of us grew up being terrified into thinking we need to avoid microbes like the plague . . . because, you know, the Plague! Some kinds of bacteria and other types of miniature beasties can kill you! But the truth is, we depend on other ones, especially the ones in our gut.
Without the bacteria that live in our digestive tract, we couldn’t digest our food. Adequate nutrition, of course, governs every action in our bodies. Without enough to eat—and the ability to make use of it—we die. But the bacteria don’t just help with that. Most of what constitutes our immune system is in our intestinal tract. Gut bacteria plays a role in helping our bodies create the antibodies we need to avoid getting sick by an overgrowth of other types of bacteria. They actually communicate with our immune system to say, more or less, “Help me! These mean beasties are eating me up—kill them!” And our bodies oblige. They also play a role in fighting cancer and lowering the inflammation that leads to heart disease.
Unfortunately, antibiotics, stress and a poor diet can kill the most beneficial gut bacteria. And that can lead to an imbalance and overgrowth of the very types of bacteria and yeast we need them to replace. Antibiotics, when needed, are worth the risk—they’ve saved countless lives. But they’re overprescribed and how well they were sold to a now microbe-phobic society has actually backfired. Avoiding “germs” too much is actually leading to immune disorders like allergies and other problems.
Since 2007 the USDA has required that ALL almonds sold commercially in the United States—conventional or organic, including those labeled “raw”—must be pasteurized. That was a response to a dangerous salmonella outbreak traced back to conventional almond growers. And we do want to avoid that happening again. But that also means we don’t know whether almonds might have a beneficial probiotic effect in terms of adding beneficial bacteria to our guts. But studies show that they do have a prebiotic effect, meaning they support the growth of beneficial bacteria there already (or added by the use of yogurt or a variety of fermented foods).
Prebiotics are important because they actually stimulate the growth of healthy gut bacteria. They also assist these bacteria in making it through our upper digestive tract to the lower GI where they colonize and do what what we need them to do. Most prebiotics add fiber to do the job and, certainly, most nuts are full of that. But a study funded by the Almond Board discovered that almonds provide more than that. Because overeating fat is of concern, they looked into whether removing the fat content of almonds affected their prebiotic effect. It did—it almost eliminated it! More studies need to be done but it appears that the lipid content of almonds (from the fats) as well as the fiber is what helps gut bacteria to thrive.
So when you’re eating that cup of yogurt to help your digestive health, add a handful of almonds! Other helpful prebiotic foods include oats, flaxseed, bananas and apples. Add all these ingredients together and what do you have? Muesli! (I just posted a recipe for that a couple of weeks ago.)
Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.