How Does Almond Consumption Affect Heart Health?
Researchers have now found that consuming almonds helps stimulate healthy cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), thereby improving heart health.
Penn Sate University researchers found that eating almonds helped HDL cholesterol in the body improve heart health. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Nutrition".
Why is HDL called healthy cholesterol?
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered the healthy form of cholesterol because it removes other forms of cholesterol from the bloodstream and arteries that are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. The researchers recently examined the levels of HDL cholesterol in people who consumed almonds as a snack in addition to their normal diet. For comparison, people were examined who consumed a muffin as a snack instead of almonds every day. The regular consumption of almonds therefore improves the HDL values and their functionality, explain the doctors.
Regular consumption of almonds lowers LDL cholesterol
There have been several studies that have shown that eating almonds regularly lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol). The LDL cholesterol is an important factor for heart diseases, the scientists explain. So far, however, it has not been known how almond consumption affects HDL cholesterol, which can lower the risk of heart disease. In their current study, the researchers investigated not only whether almonds increase the HDL value, but also their influence on the function of HDL cholesterol.
Subjects were divided into two groups
A total of 48 men and women with an elevated LDL cholesterol level were assigned to two different six-week diets during the study. Food intake was identical in both groups, with one exception for their daily snack. People from the so-called almond group received 43 grams of almonds every day, which corresponds to about a handful of almonds. The control group was given a banana muffin instead.
HDL function is improved by the consumption of almonds by 6.4 percent
A diet that is rich in almonds increased the a-1 HDL (larger HDL molecules) by 19 percent. HDL molecules get bigger when they remove the unhealthy cholesterol from cells and tissues, the experts continue. In addition, eating almonds improved the HDL function by 6.4 percent among participants with a normal weight.
What is the function of the HDL?
In response to almond consumption, larger particles of HDL develop compared to no almond consumption, the researchers say. These particles pull cholesterol out of the tissues, increasing in size and then transporting the cholesterol to the liver so that it can be removed from the body.
Almonds are a tasty snack with health benefits
Almonds do not eliminate the risk of heart disease, but they are a good choice for a healthy snack, explains study author Prof. Penny Kris-Etherton. Almonds, for example, also contain healthy fats and vitamin E. When people include almonds in their diet, they can expect several benefits, including an improvement in heart health, the expert adds. (as)