Americans looking to maintain a heart healthy diet should incorporate almonds into their diet. A new study, published in the American Heart Association's publication Circulation, reconfirms a growing body of research that almonds may lower "bad" cholesterol levels and help reduce risk of heart disease.
A clinical trial conducted at the University of Toronto, found that women and men who ate about one ounce (or a handful) of almonds each day lowered their LDL cholesterol by 4.4 percent from baseline. The study showed an even greater decrease of 9.4 percent in LDL cholesterol in those who ate about two handfuls of almonds a day, indicating that almonds' effect increases with increased consumption. The study also found that all of the people in the study, both those who ate only ounce servings and those who ate more, maintained their weight.
"We found that almonds reduce coronary heart disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner and may be used as healthy snacks without weight gain," said Dr. David Jenkins, who conducted the analysis. According to Dr. Jenkins, almonds are a good source of vegetable protein, "and the combination of monounsaturates with some polyunsaturates in nuts is an ideal combination of fats, all of which may have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol".