Almonds have cholesterol benefit

A handful of almonds could significantly lower your ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, say doctors in Canada. Previous research suggests that nuts can lower the risk of heart disease. Now a study points to the striking health benefits of almonds. A group of 27 men and women with high cholesterol followed three different one-month diets, in rotation. The first included a large helping of almonds – 74 grams – making up a quarter of the day’s calorie intake. The second had half the amount of almonds – about a handful. In the third diet, a low-saturated fat, wholewheat muffin replaced the almonds. Those on the high almond content diet had a reduction in LDL (low density lipoprotein or ‘bad’) cholesterol of 9.4 per cent compared to a reduction of 4.4 per cent for those on the low dose. No reduction in LDL cholesterol was seen on the muffin diet. What is more, the ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL (high density lipoprotein or ‘good’) cholesterol fell. In the high almond group it went down by 12 per cent and in the low almond group by 7.8 per cent. This ration is considered significant in assessing the risk of heart disease – the lower it is, the better. Almonds are, however, high in calories and fat (though not saturated fat), so they are best as a replacement for other foods – rather than an addition – if you are watching your weight. It’s also a good idea to avoid nuts with added oil or salt. Source: Fresh Plaza

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