Dr. Ravinder Nagpal, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology, was awarded a $177,000 research grant from the Almond Board of California through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The award will fund research on the effect of almonds on gut health in people who are classified as overweight or obese.
Almonds are known to promote cardiometabolic health, but our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the benefits is incomplete. Nagpal believes the health benefits of almonds may be mediated, at least in part, via an improved microbiome composition.
The project is a collaboration with Dr. Claire Berryman, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology. Additionally, Dr. Bahram Arjmandi, professor of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology at FSU, and Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the Pennsylvania State University, are senior collaborators on the project.
“It is our great pleasure and honor receiving this grant,” said Nagpal. “We are highly appreciative to the ABC and the USDA for believing in our science and we are excited about this timely project that aims to shed new light pertaining to the role of almonds in human health.”
Almonds are a rich source of fiber, unsaturated fat, phytosterols, vitamins and minerals, and other bioactive components, all nutrients that also foster a healthier microbiome. However, little is known about how almond intake regulates gut microbiome and intestinal permeability in subjects who are overweight or have obesity.
This is particularly important because people who are overweight are more predisposed to suffer from a disbalanced microbiome diversity. Previous studies by Berryman and Kris-Etherton have shown that almond snacking may improve cardiometabolic health by improving cardiovascular lipid profiles and reducing central adiposity in individuals who are overweight.
As an extension to these studies, the current project builds upon these findings and aims to examine if and how cardiometabolic improvements may be associated with positive modulation of the gut bacterial and fungal microbiomes, and microbial metabolites.