While the allure of a snack isn’t lost on many, reaching for chips or popcorn isn’t a very healthy option for a number of reasons. Many health professionals have touted the benefits of almonds and other nuts as a great substitute for the more problematic crunchy food options. A recent study has shown exactly how almonds help to boost positive cholesterol, otherwise known as HDL, and simultaneously lowers bad cholesterol. Regular consumption of almonds was shown to functionally improve their cholesterol levels.
A notable and accomplished professor from Penn State, Penny Kris-Etherton, explained that much of the research revolving around almonds shows amazing things in conjunction with cholesterol. It helps to lower the low density lipoprotein, otherwise known as LDL, which is the bad type of cholesterol. High cholesterol is one of the leading causes of diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Implementing certain eating habits that can naturally curb that risk is always a good idea. The type of clogging of the arteries that happens as a result of an unhealthy diet can be potentially disastrous if not taken seriously and corrected.
In the study, a sample of 48 men and women who had elevated LDL cholesterol levels participated in two six-week programs where one ate a handful of almonds per day while the other had a banana muffin instead. After that amount of time had elapsed, it was shown that the positive HDL cholesterol levels had increased by 19 percent. What’s more is that the other group, who were offered the muffin, showed no real improvement in their cholesterol levels. This isn’t surprising considering many foods high in refined sugar and carbs don’t provide any type of health benefit. Instead, they can raise blood sugar, and excessive consumption of these foods often leads to a major health concern that is diabetes.
Kris-Etherton explains that the data gathered from this study was meaningful because any increase in the HDL subpopulation is good news for cardiovascular health. In fact, the particles’ primary function is to decrease the overall risk of heart disease. As one of the leading causes of death in this country, it is imperative that we start to take our health seriously as a society. This is obviously easier said than done when we have such a ubiquitous access to such unhealthy foods. It’s also difficult when we realize that life is so stressful and many people find such comfort in foods that are unhealthy because of the additives and processing that they go through. Keeping this in mind is crucial to being able to make important and lasting diet changes.
Almonds are an amazing substitute, not only because of their heart healthy benefits but also because they have good fats, are high in fiber and vitamin E. Fats are not the enemy here as we’ve been told. Good fats, such as those that come from avocado, almonds, and fish, are essential. Fiber helps to keep the digestive system on track and prevents unnecessary clogging and stomach disturbances. Vitamin E is great for a many number of things but one of the most commonly stated benefits is that it is wonderful at helping skin. There are so many benefits associated with incorporating this tasty nut into your regular diet.