Subject: Prebiotics · Gut microbiota · Obesity
Obesity is a global epidemic chronic condition and is progressing at a rapid rate. This review focuses on the potential prebiotic properties of nuts and edible seeds and the plausible mechanisms that their consumption may help the prevention and the management of overweight and obesity. The literature review was performed by searching papers about the topic in MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases. The healthy attributes of nuts and edible seeds, especially dietary fibers and polyphenols contents, indicate that their mechanism of weight gain prevention may occur through interaction with the gut microbiota, by means of prebiotic effects. Among the etiological factors associated with obesity, the gut microbiota seems to play a significant role. Dysbiosis causes an imbalance in energy homeostasis that contributes to obesity. Three mechanisms are proposed in this review to explain the potential role of nut and edible seed consumption on intestinal homeostasis and body weight control: maintenance of the enteric barrier integrity, improvement of anti-inflammatory status and enhancement of butyrate synthesis. Further high-quality clinical trials should explore the interaction between oilseed consumption, microbiota, and body adiposity control, particularly investigating the microbiota metabolites and their relation to the prevention and management of obesity.