This study investigated the impact of diets containing various levels of avocado (5, 10 and 15%) on gut health in rats fed for six weeks. Avocado-fed rats had significantly higher food intakes while their body weights remained similar to the control diet-fed rats. No significant changes in intestinal bacterial populations (ileum, cecum and colon) were found in rats fed avocado diets compared to the control diet. Ileum and colon tissues of rats fed avocado diets showed significantly higher expression of genes (β-defensin 1, mucin 3 or mucin 4) and a greater number of mucin-producing goblet cells in the colon. The percentage of avocado in the diet had varying effects in altering the biomarkers, whereby diet containing 15% avocado was the more effective diet. This study delivers new knowledge on the role of avocado on gut health in rats.
Keywords: Gene expression; Goblet cells; Microbiota; Mucin; Plant-based foods; β-defensins.