New York, August 12
Munching on a handful of almonds daily may boost the levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in the body while simultaneously improving the way it functions, a study claims.
Researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US compared the levels and function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol in people who ate cakes daily, to the HDL levels and function of the same group of individuals when they ate a muffin instead.
They found that while participants were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and performance improved.
Almonds function by gathering cholesterol from tissues, such as the arteries, and assisting transport it from the body.
“HDL is extremely small when it gets released into circulation. It is similar to 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,” said Kris-Etherton, professor at Penn State.
Depending on how much cholesterol it’s accumulated, HDL cholesterol is categorised into five “sub-populations,” which range from the very small pre-beta-1 into the larger, more mature a-1.
Researchers fed 48 people with elevated LDL cholesterol that engaged in two six-week diet intervals.
In both, their diets were identical except for the snack. On the almond diet, participants received 43 grammes — roughly a few – of almonds per day. During the control period, they obtained a banana muffin.
At the conclusion of every diet period, the researchers measured the levels and function of each participant’s HDL cholesterol.
Then they compared the results to the participants’ baseline measurements taken at the beginning of the study|the study’s start.
The researchers found that compared to the control diet, the almond diet increased a-1 HDL – if the particles are at their largest size and most adult stage – by 19 percent.
Additionally, the almond diet improved HDL function by 6.4 per cent, in participants of normal weight.
“While almonds won’t eliminate the risk of cardiovascular disease, they might be a smart selection for a healthy snack. Along with their heart-healthy advantages, almonds also provide a dose of good fats, vitamin E and fiber,” said Etherton.
“They aren’t a cure-all, but when consumed in moderation — and particularly when eaten instead of a food of lower nutritional value – they are a great addition to an already healthy diet,” she added.
The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition. — PTI
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