can almonds help manage cholesterol?

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Published: 18th May 2020
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At a time when cardiovascular diseases are estimated to cause nearly 3 million deaths per annum in India, accounting for 25% of all mortality , the importance of consuming nuts on a daily basis cannot be understated.

High levels of cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases
• Consuming a cholesterol diet with high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol)can increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases

• Foods that are high in trans fats and saturated fats contribute towards the increase in the levels of bad cholesterol

However, there are some foods that can actually help lower blood cholesterol levels. Almonds are among this prized group.

Almonds lower risk for heart disease
• A recent research found that consuming almonds on a regular basis, lowers total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol while preserving HDL (good) cholesterol.

• Almonds are also a healthy option to incorporate in the diet chart for those with type-2 diabetes. It has been found that adding almonds to a healthy diabetes diet has beneficial effects on body fat, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, which may lower risk for heart disease in adults with type-2 diabetes.

• Another study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that a daily snack of 42 grams of almonds instead of a high carbohydrate muffin, consumed as part of an overall healthy diet, improved a number of heart disease risk factors in study participants . In addition to significantly improving LDL and total cholesterol, snacking on almonds instead of muffins also reduced central adiposity (belly fat), all well-established heart disease risk factors. Additionally, the study reveals that those consuming nuts such as almonds more frequently were found to be leaner, tending to exhibit more indicators of a healthy lifestyle than those who reported eating nuts less frequently. For example, they were less likely to smoke, more likely to exercise and more likely to eat fruits and vegetables.

• Another study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that participants who ate almonds as part of a heart-healthy diet significantly improved certain factors associated with heart disease risk. Researchers estimated that for every 30 grams increase (approximately 1 ounce) of almonds consumed daily during the study, study participants’ estimated 10-year coronary heart disease (CHD) risk score was reduced by 3.5%. The randomized, controlled clinical study, conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto, included 27 adult participants (mean age of 64 years) with elevated LDL cholesterol. Participants followed a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol that also included each of three dietary interventions for four weeks each in a crossover design.Previously published data on this same group of people showed that total cholesterol and LDL or bad cholesterol decreased, and HDL, or good cholesterol increased, in the almond group compared to the control group.

These studies join nearly two decades of research which shows that almonds can help maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels3, and provide new evidence showing that regularly eating almonds instead of a high-carbohydrate snack may have benefits on body composition. All these studies substantiate the positive role almonds play, in managing cholesterol levels and contributing towards a healthier life.

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