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Avocados and Microbial Diversity: The Benefits

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Individuals need to eat more fiber for optimal gut health. Can adding avocado to their diet help improve the gut microbe diversity?

Avocados and Microbial Diversity: The Benefits

Avocado Gut Support

A diverse gut microbiome is beneficial to overall health. According to a recent study, eating one avocado a day can help maintain the gut microbes healthy, diverse, and balanced. (Sharon V. Thompson, et al., 2021) The researchers observed positive changes in gut bacteria and increased bacterial diversity in individuals who consumed an avocado every day for 12 weeks. (Susanne M Henning, et al., 2019)

Gut Diversity

The gut microbiome refers to the microorganisms living in the intestines. There are around 100 trillion microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and more, exist in the gastrointestinal tract. (Ana M. Valdes, et al., 2018) Having a diverse microbiome means that the body has a range of different organisms that offer various health benefits. Not having enough bacterial diversity has been linked to: (Ana M. Valdes, et al., 2018)

  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Arterial stiffness
  • Atopic eczema

Why Avocados?

  • The Institute of Medicine recommends a daily fiber intake ranging from 19 grams to 38 grams per day, depending on various factors like age. (Diane Quagliani, Patricia Felt-Gunderson. 2016)
  • Approximately 95% of adults and children do not consume the recommended amount of fiber. (Diane Quagliani, Patricia Felt-Gunderson. 2016)
  • Including foods like avocados in a healthy diet can help meet daily fiber requirements.
  • Fruit fiber like pectin, has been shown to promote a healthy gut microbiome as well. (Beukema M, et al., 2020)
  • Researchers suggest this could be because of pectin’s positive effect on beneficial probiotics.(Nadja Larsen, et al., 2018)
  • Although further research is needed fiber is believed to help protect the lining of the colon by increasing the bulk and weight of stool and expediting elimination.
  • Fiber also adds bulk to an individual’s diet and slows the speed of digestion, which makes the body feel fuller longer.

Improved Gut

Individuals can support a healthy microbiota by making small adjustments in their diet, including:

  • Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables with the skin, as this is where a majority of the nutrition is.
  • Fermented foods like yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir.
  • Limiting consumption of processed foods, sugar, and artificial sweeteners.
  • More whole-grain foods.

Ways to eat more avocados include adding them to:

  • Smoothies
  • Salads
  • Sandwichs
  • Guacamole
  • If there are more avocados that can be eaten before they overripen, they can be frozen.
  • Peel and slice them first, then place them in freezer bags to have year-round.
  • They are rich in healthy fat, however, in moderation, they are not likely to contribute to weight gain.

Individuals can work toward having a diverse gut microbiome by paying attention to the foods they eat. Specific foods and dietary patterns can influence the different types of bacterial diversity which can support health.


Smart Choices, Better Health


References

Thompson, S. V., Bailey, M. A., Taylor, A. M., Kaczmarek, J. L., Mysonhimer, A. R., Edwards, C. G., Reeser, G. E., Burd, N. A., Khan, N. A., & Holscher, H. D. (2021). Avocado Consumption Alters Gastrointestinal Bacteria Abundance and Microbial Metabolite Concentrations among Adults with Overweight or Obesity: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Journal of nutrition, 151(4), 753–762. doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxaa219

Henning, S. M., Yang, J., Woo, S. L., Lee, R. P., Huang, J., Rasmusen, A., Carpenter, C. L., Thames, G., Gilbuena, I., Tseng, C. H., Heber, D., & Li, Z. (2019). Hass Avocado Inclusion in a Weight-Loss Diet Supported Weight Loss and Altered Gut Microbiota: A 12-Week Randomized, Parallel-Controlled Trial. Current developments in nutrition, 3(8), nzz068. doi.org/10.1093/cdn/nzz068

Valdes, A. M., Walter, J., Segal, E., & Spector, T. D. (2018). Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 361, k2179. doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2179

Quagliani, D., & Felt-Gunderson, P. (2016). Closing America’s Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 11(1), 80–85. doi.org/10.1177/1559827615588079

Beukema, M., Faas, M. M., & de Vos, P. (2020). The effects of different dietary fiber pectin structures on the gastrointestinal immune barrier: impact via gut microbiota and direct effects on immune cells. Experimental & molecular medicine, 52(9), 1364–1376. doi.org/10.1038/s12276-020-0449-2

Larsen, N., Cahú, T. B., Isay Saad, S. M., Blennow, A., & Jespersen, L. (2018). The effect of pectins on survival of probiotic Lactobacillus spp. in gastrointestinal juices is related to their structure and physical properties. Food microbiology, 74, 11–20. doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2018.02.015

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email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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