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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Go Nuts!!! Eat Almonds for a Healthy Heart

Almonds are rich in fats, especially health-promoting fats like monounsaturated fats found in olive oil. A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of almonds reportedly contains a total of 160 calories with 6 grams of plant-based protein, 4 grams of filling dietary fiber, 13 grams of unsaturated fats ("good" fats), essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin E (50% DV), magnesium (20% DV) and potassium (6% DV). A recent systematic review and meta-analysis, conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA), demonstrates that eating almonds cause a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol or "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides, however, has no effect on HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol or"good" cholesterol levels. It also reveals that almonds could cause a substantial improvement in lipid levels at a dose of 45g/day. 
Lead study author, Dr. Kathy Musa-Veloso, who is a Director of Health Claims and Clinical Trials at Intertek Scientific & Regulatory Consultancy, and her associates analyzed 18 published randomized controlled trials, which had a total of 837 participants across all the studies. The results of this study are published in the Journal of Nutritional Science. 


Total cholesterol 
Results from all studies revealed the reduction in total cholesterol to be 0.153 mmol/L (5.92 mg/dL). However, when the dose of almonds consumed was at least 45 g/day (~1.5 oz/day), the reduction in total cholesterol was found to be 0.212 mmol/L (8.20 mg/dL). Thus the effect of almond on total cholesterol was found to be dose-dependent, the larger the intake of almond, the greater was the reduction in total cholesterol.
When studies were analyzed in which patients had elevated total cholesterol levels (at baseline), the reduction in total cholesterol was found to be 0.271 mmol/L (10.48 mg/dL), suggesting that the effects of almonds on total cholesterol levels were quite significant in these subjects.

When data from all of the studies were pooled, the reduction in LDL-C was reported to be 0.124 mmol/L (4.80 mg/dL).When the studies in which the total dose of almonds consumed were at least 45 g (~1.5 oz), the LDL-C reductions were reported to be 0.132 mmol/L (5.10 mg/dL).However, the analysis of studies in which the subjects had elevated LDL-C levels at baseline, the reduction was reported to be 0.158 mmol/L (6.11 mg/dL).
Other Observations 

  • The authors noted that three studies demonstrated significant reductions in body weight in almond intervention group as compared to the control group.One such study is a 6 weeks trial by Berryman et al, which revealed a significant reduction in body weight, waist circumference and body composition (including abdominal fat mass) for patients on almond diet when compared to patients on a control diet.Another study conducted by Novotny et al. in 2012, showed that not all of the energy in almonds is actually metabolizable and it is important to maintain a healthy weight, along with consumption of a healthy diet to help promote heart health.
Dr. Kathy Musa-Veloso commented, "These results strengthen decades of research about how the regular consumption of almonds can favorably impact blood lipid levels and have a positive effect on heart health. The consumption of almonds as part of a healthy diet should be encouraged in order to improve blood lipid levels and reduce the risk of heart disease."
Source:Journal of Nutritional Science. 

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