Much evidence has come to light revealing that adding almonds to daily diet is beneficial for human health. A new study has found that the incredible properties of this nut has the potential to boost levels of your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.
According to the study, eating about a handful of almonds daily may not only help boost good cholesterol in the body but may also improve its functionality.
In addition, munching almonds daily could also remove low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol from the body, researchers from Penn State found.
“There’s a lot of research out there that shows a diet that includes almonds lowers low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease,” said principal author of the study, Penny Kris-Etherton, who is professor at the Pennsylvania State University. “But not as much was known about how almonds affect HDL cholesterol, which is considered good cholesterol and helps lower your risk of heart disease.”
In order to investigate the effects of almond on cholesterol levels in the body, the research team compared the levels and function of HDL cholesterol in people who ate 43 grams – about a handful almonds daily, to the HDL levels and function of the same group of participants when they ate a banana muffin instead.
The researchers found that while the study participants were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and functionality significantly improved. More precisely, munching almonds daily increased a-1 HDL by 19 percent as well as improved HDL function by 6.4 percent. This increased level of HDL indicates a decrease in the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
“We were able to show that there were more larger particles in response to consuming the almonds compared to not consuming almonds,” Kris-Etherton said. “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.”
Almonds contain several essential nutrients and a good amount of healthy fats, known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats not only keep hunger at bay but improve dietary intake of vitamin E and ‘good’ fat without increasing body weight. The humble tidbit nuts even help to fight against chronic heart-related ailments.
The study paper is published in the Journal of Nutrition.