What almonds do to your cholesterol

Your body needs cholesterol.

It uses it to make hormones, make vitamin D and help you digest your food… not to mention the fact that it’s essentially brain food.

That’s why statins have so many side effects (like muscle damage, liver damage, blood sugar issues and neurological problems). They prevent your body from making the cholesterol it needs to stay healthy.

But once your body has enough cholesterol to do what it needs to do, the rest is just superfluous. And the most recent research has revealed it’s the small, dense LDL cholesterol particles that cause problems in your arteries. That’s where HDL cholesterol (also known as “good” cholesterol) comes in…

HDL cholesterol is like the cholesterol garbage man. It travels around your body collecting excess cholesterol from your cells and tissues and brings it back to your liver for disposal.

So when you have high HDL cholesterol levels, it’s good because it means you have a lot of little garbage men clearing out the waste. In fact, having more of these cholesterol garbage men also means having a lower risk for stroke and heart attack.

So the question is, how do you get more cholesterol garbage men on patrol in your body?

Easy… eat more almonds.

These tasty nuts not only increase the amount of HDL cholesterol in your body, but they also help HDL perform it’s garbage-collecting duties better than ever…

The healthy way to boost HDL

A recent study from researchers at Penn State University found that adding more almonds to your diet could improve your HDL levels and help these little cholesterol collectors work more efficiently in your body.

The study included 48 men and women who had high LDL cholesterol levels. Over the course of 12 weeks, all study participants tried two different diets. Everyone tried a diet where they had a daily snack of almonds for six weeks. And for another six weeks, everyone tried a diet where they had a banana muffin daily.

After each six-week diet was over, researchers measured cholesterol levels to see if switching up these snacks had an impact on HDL. And it most certainly did…

Related: The sweet snack that slays cholesterol

The six-week period spent eating almonds paid off. Not only did participants have more HDL cholesterol, but they also had bigger HDL particles. Now, when it comes to HDL particles, the bigger the better because it means they’ve collected more excess cholesterol from your body.

“We were able to show that there were more larger particles in response to consuming the almonds compared to not consuming almonds,” said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State and study researcher. “That would translate to the smaller particles doing what they’re supposed to be doing. They’re going to tissues and pulling out cholesterol, getting bigger, and taking that cholesterol to the liver for removal from the body.”

The answer is almonds…

So, if you don’t eat almonds already, it’s time to start. Participants in the study ate 43 grams of almonds per day, which is about a handful.

Besides lending you a helping hand in the HDL department, almonds also contain a hefty dose of vitamin E and fiber, and they’ve been shown to help battle belly fat, give you the calcium you need for healthy bones and help you get a good night’s sleep.

Editor’s note: Learn how statin drugs and a lack of cholesterol led the family of Dr. Duane Graveline  — a Johns Hopkins-trained M.D. and former astronaut — to believe he had dementia! Click here to find out!

Sources:

  1. Almonds may help boost cholesterol clean-up crew.” — MedicalXpress. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  2. Statin side effects: Weigh the benefits and risks.” — Mayo Clinic. Retrieved August 11, 2017.

 

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.