Walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios: dried fruit has many benefits, but many people believe they are not good for the intestine. True or false? We asked Dr. Stefania Vetrano, researcher at Humanitas and professor of Applied Biology at Humanitas University.
“False. It is absolutely not true that dried fruit is not good for the intestine – explains the doctor. On the contrary, dried fruit, and in particular walnuts and almonds, would have very positive effects on the intestinal microbiome, that is the set of microorganisms that live in the intestine. A study carried out a few years ago showed that eating small portions of almonds a day for 6 weeks improved gastric acidity, intestinal absorption and the activity of certain bacteria, as well as selectively promoting colonization of the intestine by “good” bacteria. It has been discovered that nuts, particularly walnuts, contain substances such as fibers and polyphenols that act as prebiotics, i.e. as “nutrients” for good bacteria. “Good” bacteria (such as Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Roseburia and Ruminococcaceae) metabolize polyphenols and fibers, thus promoting the production of other bacteria useful for the general health of the organism. Having a well-diversified microbiome is good, because it keeps diabetes, obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal diseases and allergies at bay. Like nuts and almonds, other foods also contain the right substances for the health of the intestine and the diversity of the microbiome; they include red fruits, especially pomegranates, blueberries, red grapes, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.