Almonds are an easy, tasty snack that is filling and healthy. A study found that almonds can increase good cholesterol if you eat them every day.
Almonds Can Increase Good Cholesterol
Almonds contain healthy fats and cholesterols, but researchers haven’t studied a lot on their effect on heart health. HDL levels increased after eating 48g of almonds–about a handful–each day for over 6 weeks.
They compared the results to 6 weeks of eating banana muffins and their HDL levels declined after eating muffins. HDL cholesterol also improved, meaning that it can better fight off LDL (bad) cholesterol.
HDL cholesterol is good cholesterol that can help to lower LDL cholesterol. This is the type of cholesterol that builds up in blood vessels and arteries and causes high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
A professor of nutrition at Penn State University, Penny Kris-Etherton, said, “HDL is very small when it gets released into circulation… It’s like a garbage bag that slowly gets bigger and more spherical as it gathers cholesterol from cells and tissues before depositing them in the liver to be broken down.”
HDL cholesterol contains 5 “subpopulations” from a small preβ-1 to a bit larger α-1, which are also more mature. The researchers wanted to see if eating almonds would increase the α-1 particles.
When compared to the controlled diet, the almond diet boosted the α-1 amount by 19%. The diet also increased HDL function of people with normal weight by 6.4%.
Professor Kris-Etherton stated, “We were able to show that there were more larger particles in response to consuming the almonds compared to not consuming almonds… That would translate to the smaller particles doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re going to tissues and pulling out cholesterol, getting bigger, and taking that cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body.”
Other Almond Benefits
Good Amount of Nutrients
Besides being one of the most popular nuts, almonds are high in nutrients.
Almonds are very rich in fiber, protein, healthy monounsaturated fats, and multiple other nutrients.
Full of Antioxidants
Besides fiber, protein, and other nutrients, almonds are full of antioxidants.
These antioxidants can help fight oxidative damage, which is one of the major causes of disease and aging.
High in Vitamin E
Vitamin E has been linked with lower rates of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.
Fortunately, almonds are one of the best sources of vitamin E, which means you can easily partake of these benefits.
Improves Blood Pressure
Almonds contain a good amount of magnesium, which can help improve blood pressure levels.
People who experience magnesium deficiencies also experience high blood pressure, so almonds may help lower your levels.
Helps with Weight Loss
Eating almonds may help lower appetite, which can lead to lower calorie intake and weight loss.
Almonds are high in protein and fiber and low in carbs, factors that can lead to feeling full and eating less.
Almonds lower LDL cholesterol, but this study shows that almonds can increase good cholesterol as well. Almonds are easy to come by, inexpensive, and tasty. Be sure to eat unsalted almonds so you don’t undo the positive effects by adding too much sodium.