Mandalari, G., T. Gervasi, D.W. Rosenberg, K.G. Lapsley, D.J. Baer, 2023. Effect of nuts on gastrointestinal health. Nutrients. 15(7):1733. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu15071733
Nuts are high nutrient-dense foods containing healthy lipids, dietary fiber, and bioactive phytochemicals, including vitamins and minerals. Although the beneficial effect of nut consumption on different chronic diseases has been well documented, especially in relation to their cardiometabolic benefits, less scientific evidence is available on their possible beneficial effects on gastrointestinal health. In this narrative review, we summarize the most important findings and new research perspectives in relation to the importance of nut consumption on gastrointestinal health. The integrity of the cell wall structure, cell size and particle size after mastication are known to play a crucial role in energy, nutrient and bioactive release from nuts during digestion, therefore affecting bioaccessibility. Other mechanisms, such as cell wall composition, thickness and porosity, as well as stability of the membranes surrounding the oil bodies within the cell, are also important for energy extraction. As the undigested nutrients and phytochemicals are delivered to the colon, effects on gut microbiota composition are predicted. Although the overall effect of nut consumption on microbial alpha- and beta-diversity has been inconsistent, some scientific evidence suggests an increase in fecal butyrate after almond consumption, and a beneficial role of walnuts on the prevention of ulcerative colitis and protection against the development of gastric mucosal lesions.