Nuts are high in fat, so it seems counter intuitive that eating a handful of roasted almonds could lead to lower cholesterol levels, but according to a study authored by Dr. David J.A. Jenkins at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, eating almonds daily positively affects the lipid levels in your blood and can reduce your cholesterol levels by up to 10%. Dr. Jenkins’ study isn’t the only one to show the heart healthy benefits of almonds; studies conducted by medical communities across the globe, from the WHO to the Physicians Health Study recommend eating more almonds to maintain safe cholesterol levels. This is welcome news for those who are either at risk for heart disease or just want to keep heart healthy and relish the opportunity to indulge in nutty treats.
Almonds are a seed from the almond tree and they are native to the Middle East. They are one of the healthiest nuts to eat and are high in good mono-saturated fats; they are also rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which promote cardiovascular functioning. The health benefits of almonds have been lauded since ancient times, and they have been used in both traditional and modern homeopathic medicine to treat eczema, reduce inflammation, and aid colon and digestive health. They are also, conveniently, a great snack that can be salty or sweet, so as a medicine, almonds are not hard to swallow.
Researchers who proclaim the health benefits of almonds recommend that eating anywhere from 1 to 6 handfuls of almonds a day will help you maintain safe cholesterol levels and lower your risk for heart disease. In addition to lowering cholesterol, almonds can also help protect against diabetes because they can help keep after-meal blood sugar levels regulated since they are such an easy snack. Blood sugar levels that fluctuate rapidly as a result of long distances between meals or snacks can contribute to diabetes, so take the time to pop a few almonds in your mouth between meals. However, just because something has almonds in it, does not make it automatically healthy.
Indulging in an ice cream sundae topped with almonds is not going to get you on the fast track to cardiovascular health-it is setting you up for an increased heart attack risk. It is like smoking a pack of cigarettes a day but then feeling safe because you eat foods that promote lung functioning. In the world of physical health, negative substances always cancel out the positive. If you are going to eat almonds for health purposes, eat them lightly salted, honey roasted, or in a low-fat salad, just don’t just sprinkle them on top of a dessert buffet.