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According to new Penn State research, including an oz of peanuts or around a teaspoon of spices and herbs in your diet, each day may change the composition of gut bacteria, which is a sign of your overall health. Researchers investigating the impact of minor adjustments to the typical American diet conducted two trials and discovered benefits in the gut flora.

More gut bacteria leads to better health. 

The multitudes of bacteria inhabit the intestinal system make up the human intestinal microbiota. Nearly every bodily system, including metabolic and the development and maintenance of the immune response, can be impacted by the bacteria there.

Evan Pugh University Professor of Nutrition Sciences, Penn State’s Penny M Kris-Etherton said that research has shown that individuals with a lot of gut bacteria have better health and diet than those with limited bacterial diversity. 

For the peanut study, researchers compared the effects of eating 28 grams of peanuts daily relative to a high carbs snack like cheese and crackers. After six weeks, subjects that ate peanut snacks demonstrated an enhanced abundance of Ruminococcacea. Ruminococcacea is a group of bacteria associated with immune function and healthier liver metabolism. 

A mix of spices and herbs can help reduce sodium in food

On the other hand, in the spices and herbs study, researchers evaluate the impact of adding a mix of spices and herbs such as cumin, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano and cumin to controlled diets of individuals at risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers examined three doses of around 1/8, more than ¾ and around 1½ teaspoon per day. After four weeks, subjects had an increase in Ruminococcacea in medium to high doses of spices and herbs. 

Kris-Etherton said that it is such a simple thing that individuals can do. Surprisingly an average diet of an American is far from perfect, and adding more spices and herbs could be beneficial. Spices and herbs can help reduce sodium in the diet but flavouring foods and making them palatable. One of the main factors influencing people’s dietary choices is taste.