Munching almonds could have a beneficial impact on our digestive tracts. But could almonds overcome constipation or other digestive difficulties? Researchers have found enough effects to make this plausible.
Does Snacking on Almonds Change Gut Microbiota?
Nutrition scientists in the UK recruited 87 healthy adults to compare the effects of consuming whole almonds, almond flour or an almond free muffin as a daily snack for a month (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Oct. 17, 2022). The investigators measured microbiota and chemical composition as well as stool output and digestive symptoms at the beginning and end of the study.
Although the researchers anticipated that bifidobacteria would become more prevalent among people consuming almost two ounces of nuts daily, they did not observe any difference among the three groups with respect to microbiota composition. However, among both almond-consuming groups, levels of butyrate rose. This short-chain fatty acid is associated with lower intestinal inflammation.
People eating almond snacks did not report unpleasant gut symptoms. However, those eating whole almonds had significantly more bowel movements per week by the end of the study. As a result, it’s not unreasonable to conclude almonds overcome constipation.
Will Almonds Overcome Constipation?
One reader shared personal experience with this simple approach.
Q. I’m 50 and I have had problems with constipation most of my life. Nothing I tried helped at all until I read about raw almonds.
I started eating a handful of almonds every day. As long as I eat them, I am not constipated. It only takes about 1/4 cup to maintain regular bowel movements.
One of the best things about almonds is that it is easy to take them along when I’m traveling. Usually my constipation is worse on trips. I know that constipation is a common problem, so I thought I would pass this along for others.
A. Although we have heard that almonds can ease symptoms of heartburn, this is the first we have heard that they could help constipation. Other popular approaches to constipation include prunes, flaxseed, bran and magnesium. When traveling, sugarless gum, like a bag of almonds, is also easy to carry and will often solve a constipation problem.
You can learn more about these home remedies and get recipes for power pudding and pumpkin-bran muffins in our Guide to Constipation.
You may also wish to listen to our interview with Dr. Robynne Chutkan in Show 1115: How You Can Conquer Constipation.