A recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating almonds on a regular basis may boost the levels of HDL cholesterol at the same time it also helps in removing cholesterol from the body. The study was conducted by observing people who eat almonds everyday and compared the levels and function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) to the same people when they chose to have a muffin instead.
The researchers found that when this set of people were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and functionality was better. This study was meant to build up on previous research that studied the effect of almonds on cholesterol-lowering diets. “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. 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,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State to Science Daily.
In this particular study, the researchers wanted to observe if the almonds could improve the function of HDL cholesterol other than increasing its levels. This function works by gathering cholesterol from the tissues such as the arteries and flush it out of the body. “HDL is very small when it gets released into circulation,” said Kris-Etherton. “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.”
She also added that almonds may not completely eliminate the risk of heart disease, they are a healthy snack and full of good fats, vitamin E and fiber. “If people incorporate almonds into their diet, they should expect multiple benefits, including ones that can improve heart health,” Kris-Etherton told Science Daily. “They’re not a cure-all, but when eaten in moderation — and especially when eaten instead of a food of lower nutritional value — they’re a great addition to an already healthy diet.”