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Distinct Effects of two Almond Cultivars on Agreeability and Gastrointestinal Motility in Healthy Subjects: more than mere Nutraceuticals

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Giusy Diella1*, Agostino Di Ciaula2*, Michele Pio Lorusso3, Carmine Summo4, Giuseppina Caggiano1, Francesco Caponio4, Maria Teresa Montagna1, Piero Portincasa3

1) Section of Hygiene, Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, University of Bari Medical School, Bari;
2) Division of Internal Medicine, Hospital of Bisceglie, ASL BAT;
3) Clinica Medica “A. Murri”, Department of Biomedical Sciences & Human Oncology, University of Bari Medical School, Bari;
4) Department of Soil, Plant and Food Sciences, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15403/jgld.2014.1121.271.dll

Almonds are healthy nutraceuticals, which vary across different cultivars. We compared the composition, agreeability and gastrointestinal effects of two almond cultivars from different areas.
Methods: Californian Carmel (CAcv) and local Apulian Filippo Cea (FCcv) cultivars were compared for the chemical composition and sensory evaluation according to visual analogue and semiquantitative scales in 60 volunteers. Gallbladder/gastric motility (ultrasonography) and orocecal transit time (H2-breath test) were studied in another 24 subjects by comparing the effects of a standard liquid test meal with isovolumetric almond test meals (24 g of CAcv or FCcv almonds).
Results: Proteins prevailed in CAcv, while FCcv contained more lipids and 10-times more total phenol content than CAcv. For agreeability, CAcv scored higher than FCcv for smell, texture and appearance, although different perceptions existed in lean (scores for smell, taste, texture, appearance higher for CAcv than FCcv), obese (CAcv better than FCcv only for appearance) and elderly subjects (CAcv better than FCcv only for texture). Gallbladder emptying was stronger with FCcv than CAcv. Antral dilatation after ingestion of both cultivars was greater than the dilatation observed after the test meal. Gastric emptying, however, was similar after FCcv, CAcv and the test meal. The orocecal transit time in response to both cultivars was shorter than after the test meal.
Conclusions: Differences in composition and effects of FCcv and CAcv cultivars support their potential use as valuable nutraceutical tools, to be confirmed in further clinical studies.
Key words: breath test − Mediterranean diet − monounsaturated fatty acids − nuts − orocecal transit time − ultrasonography.
Abbreviations: AUC: area under curve; BMI: body mass index; CAcv; Carmel cultivar; FCcv: Filippo Cea cultivar; MUFA: monounsaturated fatty acids; OCTT: orocecal transit time; VAS: visual analogue scale