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Ema Stanovská
December 14, 2022, 6:00pm
Reading time: 1:59

Scientists Advise: Add These 3 Ingredients To Your Meals If You Want To Maintain Weight And Have Healthy Digestion

Researchers conducted two studies to find out which ingredients support healthy gut microflora and regulate appetite.

Ema Stanovská
December 14, 2022, 6:00pm
Reading time: 1:59
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Our digestive microflora is like a miniature zoo inhabited by a huge number of good and bad bacteria. The good ones feed exclusively on plant-based food - vegetables, fruits, legumes or seeds. On the contrary, we kill them with unhealthy foods with a high content of salt, fat or sugar.

Scientists recently investigated the effect of regular consumption of peanuts, herbs and spices on our intestines. They conducted two researches that were published in journals The Journal of Nutrition and Clinical Nutrition.

Cinnamon and herbs regulates appetite

54 adults with an average age of 45 years participated in the first research. All participants were obese or overweight and had at least one other factor increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, such as elevated glucose or fat levels.

In addition to their regular diet, they also consumed selected spices and herbs, either 0.5 g per day, 3.3 g per day, or 6.6 g per day. It included, for example, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, turmeric, rosemary, oregano, basil and thyme. The research lasted four weeks with a two-week break, with participants taking a stool sample at the beginning and end of each period.


The researchers found that consuming 3.3g or 6.6g of herbs or spices per day increased the levels of beneficial Ruminococcaceae bacteria. These can help regulate appetite as well as blood sugar levels. Those who consumed the most spices and herbs had the highest levels of these bacteria.

Herbs and spices contain chemicals that are also called polyphenolic compounds. In the intestines, they help create an environment that supports bacterial diversity and even help reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation. Polyphenols are also found, for example, in dark cocoa, wine, grapes or berries.


Peanuts can aid in weight loss

The peanut study involved 50 adults who had elevated glucose levels and were either overweight or obese. One group of participants consumed 28 grams of peanuts each evening, while the other group ate crackers and cheese.

All participants tried both diets for six weeks, with a four-week break in between. In this experiment too, scientists compared stool samples.

At the end of the study, they found that those who ate peanuts had higher levels of Ruminococcaceae bacteria in their stool samples than those who ate crackers and cheese, and also higher levels of Roseburia bacteria. The second mentioned bacterium is associated with weight loss and better glucose tolerance.

"In addition to being a source of protein and healthy fats, peanuts are also a source of fiber. Bacteria in the intestines feed on fiber. If there is more fiber in the diet, more diverse bacteria can develop in the gut," said Lona Sandon, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Nutrition in the Faculty of Health Sciences at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center.

Researchers hypothesize that by adding a small amount of peanuts, herbs or spices to the diet, we can achieve a healthier and more diverse gut microflora. But beware of roasted and salted peanuts, which contain too much salt and fat.

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Thumbnail: Flickr/Marco Verch
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