A new study from Penn State University revealed that regular consumption of Almonds could reduce the amount of the so-called “bad” cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, in the body, potentially reducing the risk heart disease.

The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, showed that eating almonds on a daily basis could increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein or HDL. While LDL has been considered as a major risk factor for Heart Disease, it has been proven that HDL helps reduce that risk.

Eating almonds improves the levels and function of HDL cholesterol

For the study, the researchers enrolled 48 men and women with elevated levels of LDL. The participants were fed an identical diet for two six-week diet period. For the first period, the participants were given unsalted whole almond with skin intact for their snack. On the second period, the participants received a banana muffin for their snack.

Each participant’s HDL cholesterol was measured at the end of each period. The researchers then compared these measurements to the participants’ baseline measurements taken at the beginning of the study.

The researchers observed that the levels and function of HDL cholesterol were better during the almond period, compared to the control period.

Improved function of HDL cholesterol could reduce the risk of heart disease.

High-density lipoprotein works by gathering cholesterol from tissues and transporting it to the liver to be broken down. HDL can be categorized into five subpopulations depending on how much cholesterol it collected.

Starting as a very small preβ-1, HDL cholesterol grows bigger as it collects cholesterol from different tissue. When the good cholesterol gathered ample amount of cholesterol and grew to its largest size, it matures into α-1.

Eating almonds every day increased the levels of α-1 HDL by 19 percent. Furthermore, participants with normal weight experienced a 6.4 percent improved HDL function during the almond period.

An increase in α-1 HDL suggests that the HDL in the body is doing a great job in collecting bad cholesterols from tissues. Additionally, increased levels of the largest and most mature subpopulation of HDL have been previously linked to decreasing overall risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Aside from its positive effects on HDL cholesterol, almonds also contain good fats, vitamin E and fiber.

Don't miss our page on Facebook!