Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Avocados could be good for guts


Avocados could be good for guts

New research shows avocados may be good for gut health, which would be another previously unknown benefit.

Scientist Gunaranjan Paturi says avocados contain compounds that are already known to support cardiovascular health, blood glucose regulation and have anti-inflammatory effects. As avocados are high in ‘good fats’ and dietary fibre, Plant & Food Research’s Dr Paturi and colleagues Dr Christine Butts and Dr Kerry Bentley-Hewitt decided to see what impact they might have on gut health.

Their study, funded as part of MBIE’s Food for Health programme and published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, is the first to examine the direct effect of avocados on gut health.

Macronutrients in food such as dietary fibre are known to alter gut microbiota composition and metabolic activity, so the team fed rats different diets that included 5, 10 or 15% avocado for six weeks. Dr Paturi says they were surprised to find the avocado had no noticeable effect on bacterial populations in the rats’ guts compared with the control. But their study did find other beneficial health effects.

The gut bacteria metabolised the dietary fibre in the avocado to produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) as a result of fermentation. SCFAs are associated with a number of health benefits including the stimulation of cells to produce antimicrobial peptides called defensins, which play an important role in immune protection. The research showed higher concentrations of defensins in the gut tissues of the avocado-fed rats. Dr Paturi says this is not solid proof of beneficial activity in the body itself but higher levels are probably better for gut health.

Another change to the gut lining has more straightforward benefits. SCFAs are also the fuel for goblet cells. Goblet cells produce mucus in a healthy gut that protect gut tissue. The team found significantly more goblet cells in the gut wall in rats on the 15% avocado diet. Dr Paturi says this finding implies avocado also positively influences gut mucus secretion.

As this trial was working with a known safe and beneficial food, Dr Paturi says the next step could be a move straight into testing with humans.

“This is exciting research,” says New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular. “It potentially opens the door to a whole new area of benefit we hadn’t seen before.

“It would be great to see this research followed up to find out if it translates into real benefits for human gut health,” Ms Scoular says.

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Fuel Leak: Refinery Prepares To Repair Damaged Pipeline

Refining NZ has confirmed that it is to start repairs on a section of its multi-product fuel pipeline which was shut down following a jet fuel leak last Thursday. More>>uption.htm">More>>

ALSO:

StatsNZ: Economy Grows 0.8% In June Quarter

“Strong export and domestic demand underpinned growth this quarter,” national accounts senior manager Gary Dunnet said. “Demand for exports has resulted in strong production growth in manufacturing and service industries.” More>>

ALSO:

Stats NZ: Annual Net Migration Remains High

Annual net migration was 72,100 in the August 2017 year... Migrant arrivals reached 132,200, a new annual record, and migrant departures were 60,100 in the year ended August 2017. More>>

ALSO:

Expert Reaction: Cassini's Grand Saturn Finale

After a 20 year mission, NASA's spacecraft Cassini will meet its demise this week by plunging into Saturn's atmosphere and burning up. More>>

ALSO:

Jurisdiction: Court Rejects Cathay Unit's Retirement Age Of 55 For Pilots

The Supreme Court has backed two Auckland-based Cathay Pacific pilots who claimed local law meant they couldn't be forced to retire at 55. More>>

ALSO:

Supreme Court: AFFCO Loses Lockout Appeal

The essential question in the appeal was whether those who presented themselves for work at the beginning of the 2015/2016 season were at that time “employees” for the purposes of the lockout provision... This Court has unanimously dismissed the appeal. More>>