Eating Almonds With Chocolate May Lower Cholesterol
By Lisa Rapaport, Reuters Health
4 Min Read
– Overweight and obese people who eat almonds and chocolate every day may have lower cholesterol than their counterparts who dont consume these foods, a recent experiment suggests.
Consumed separately, almonds and chocolate have each been linked to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and hunger levels in previous studies. All of these things are risk factors for heart disease.
For the current study, researchers tested cholesterol levels in 31 overweight and obese people. For four weeks, all of them followed a typical American diet. Every day for another four weeks, they all added almost one-third of a cup of almonds to the typical diet. In another four-week period, participants added almost one-quarter cup of dark chocolate and about 2.5 tablespoons of cocoa powder per day. Everyone also had a four-week period of adding both the nuts and the dark chocolate with cocoa to their diet.
Adding just the almonds reduced participants levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – the bad kind that can build up in blood vessels and lead to clots and heart attacks – by 7 percent, the study found.
Combining almonds with dark chocolate and cocoa also reduced small, dense LDL particles that are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, researchers report in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The results dont mean its wise for people to eat almonds and chocolate by the pound, however.
Do You Have High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is a natural and essential part of all cells in your body. It helps produce hormones, make vitamin D, provide cells with structure, and plays a role in the process of digesting fats. The liver creates all of the cholesterol that your body needs, so it is not required that you get it from foods. Foods that come from animals such as meat, cheese, and eggs all provide dietary cholesterol to the body.
There are two types of cholesterol: high-density lipoproteins and low-density lipoproteins . HDL is thought of as the good type of cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from your blood to your liver to be removed. This is helpful to the heart. LDL is the bad type of cholesterol: It causes a buildup of cholesterol in the blood, which leads to furring up of the arteries. This is called atherosclerosis and is a direct cause of heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease.
Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood. They are separate to and different from cholesterol, but they are nearly always included in the cholesterol lab panel since they have a similar effect on your heart and overall health. Triglycerides come from eating too many calories .;These extra calories are stored in the blood as triglycerides. High triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease and problems in your pancreas and liver, including fatty liver disease.
Here are the normal ranges for cholesterol and triglyceride levels in adults :
The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Summarized
Heres a summary of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
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What Nuts Contain Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that has been discovered as recently as 1926.
However, since then, it has been connected to various health conditions and health levels.
The primary responsibilities of vitamin B12 are to protect the nervous system, keep the blood cells healthy, and create DNA.
When adequately consumed, Vitamin B12 can prevent anemia and combat fatigue.
Vitamin B12 is primarily produced by animals thanks to interactions with certain bacteria.
Since the human body lacks this important bacteria, we cannot produce vitamin B12, and we have to take it from food.
You can find out more about vitamin B12 in the video below:
Animals produce the best B12 quality and quantity, and the best sources of B12 are considered to be fish, eggs, poultry, meat, and dairy.
While some studies look for the presence of B12 in plant-based foods, more research is needed to understand what foods might provide this critical compound.
Nuts, being a minimally-processed, plant-based food, dont contain B12.
However, you might be able to find breakfast foods such as granola and cereals that have been fortified with B12 and include nuts.
Vegans might not like this next point, but the bioavailability of B12 from plant foods and fortified foods is minimal and does not provide the same quality of B12 that animal foods do.
However, some seaweed like chlorella and spirulina can provide a similar quality of B12 that animals do.
Can You Eat Too Many Nuts
The answer is yes, absolutely. The best approach to eating nuts is moderation.
Nuts are very good sources of energy, and if you eat too much you can gain weight and offset the heart benefits. I like to recommend adding nuts to an already heart-healthy diet or as an alternative healthy snack. If you change your snacks alone to unsalted nuts you will be surprised how effective that choice is in helping with weight loss and cholesterol management.
One thing to keep in mind is that some people can experience dangerous allergic reactions to nuts. If you have a potential allergy or a family history of nut allergies, dont consider using nuts until you talk with your doctor.
Finally, there are data regarding contamination of some nuts with mycotoxins.; Consider reading about these toxins as I dont have enough room to cover them here. The one that has the most data behind it is cases of contamination of peanuts with aflatoxin.
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Varieties Of Nuts You Should Be Eating For Your Health
The varieties of nuts you can find at most supermarkets are quite large, which means there is sure to be one or two youâll love. Eating nuts is great for you because they contain lots of nutrients that benefit your health in many ways. Look for them in bulk so you can buy just how much you need or keep a canister in your pantry for a quick snack or cooking ingredient anytime the mood strikes. Check out these varieties of nuts to get yourself started.
Health Benefits Of Eating Nuts
In general, nuts are good sources of fat, fiber and protein.
Most of the fat in nuts is monounsaturated fat, as well as omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fat. However, they do contain some saturated fat.
Nuts also pack a number of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium and vitamin E.
Many studies have investigated the health benefits of increased nut intake.
One meta-analysis of 33 studies found that diets high in nuts do not significantly affect weight gain or weight loss .
Yet, despite having little effect on weight, many studies have shown that people who eat nuts live longer than those who dont. This may be due to their ability to help prevent a number of chronic diseases .
For example, nuts may reduce risk factors for metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels .
In fact, one study in over 1,200 people found that eating a Mediterranean diet plus 30 grams of nuts per day decreased the prevalence of metabolic syndrome more than a low-fat diet or a Mediterranean diet with olive oil .
Furthermore, nuts may reduce your risk of other chronic diseases. For example, eating nuts may improve blood sugar levels and lower your risk of certain cancers (
Eating nuts may help reduce risk factors for many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.
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Almonds Can Lower Cholesterol Levels
High levels of LDL lipoproteins in your blood also known as bad cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease.
Your diet can have major effects on LDL levels. Some studies have shown almonds to effectively lower LDL.
A 16-week study in 65 people with prediabetes found that a diet providing 20% of calories from almonds lowered LDL cholesterol levels by an average of 12.4 mg/dL .
Another study found that eating 1.5 ounces of almonds per day lowered LDL cholesterol by 5.3 mg/dL while maintaining good HDL cholesterol. Participants also lost belly fat .
Summary Eating one or two handfuls of almonds per day can lead to mild reductions in bad LDL cholesterol, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease.
Top 10 Cholesterol Lowering Foods
Cholesterol is a steroid lipid present in the blood, necessary for the proper functioning of cell membranes and the production of vitamin D and certain hormones.
High cholesterol levels are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Cholesterol-lowering foods are therefore a great addition to anyones diet for optimal health and as a preventative measure.
Cholesterol-lowering foods include oat bran, flax seeds, garlic, almonds, walnuts, whole barley, and green tea. Below is a detailed list of foods which lower bad LDL cholesterol, while leaving the good HDL cholesterol largely unaffected.
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Which Nuts Are Bad For Cholesterol
Which Nuts are Bad for Cholesterol :;Elevated cholesterol is a key contributor to heart disease, which causes people to die three times more than breast cancer and twice as many as lung cancer. But whats important is that lowering blood cholesterol is the biggest benefit a person can do to reduce their risk.
Given the dangers of cholesterol, reading this helps you to know the proper nutrition. So join us in answering this question Which nuts are bad for cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance, a type of fat found in the blood and all tissues of the body. Cholesterol is involved in the building of cell membranes, some hormones, and so it is essential for the health of the body.
The results of a study show that consuming as many nuts as possible reduces the amount of cholesterol and other fats that can be harmful to the heart in the blood.
Researchers say consuming two and three-tenths of an ounce of nuts a day can raise your bodys total cholesterol level by five and one-tenth of a percent, and LDL bad cholesterol by seven. And reduce four-tenths of a percent.
According to researchers at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in California, using this amount of nuts per day will also increase the HDL to good cholesterol ratio by eight and three-tenths of a percent; it also causes the level of triglyceride to decrease by 10% to 10% among people with high levels of this fat.
Almonds Prevent Harmful Oxidation Of Ldl Cholesterol
Almonds do more than just lower LDL levels in your blood.
They also protect LDL from oxidation, which is a crucial step in the development of heart disease.
Almond skin is rich in polyphenol antioxidants, which prevent oxidation of cholesterol in test-tubes and animal studies .
The effect may be even stronger when combined with other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
One human study showed that snacking on almonds for one month lowered oxidized LDL cholesterol levels by 14% .
This should lead to a reduced risk of heart disease over time.
Summary Bad LDL cholesterol can become oxidized, which is a crucial step in the development of heart disease. Snacking on almonds has been shown to significantly reduce oxidized LDL.
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Foods Rich In Unsaturated Fats
- vegetable oils such as olive, sunflower, corn, rapeseed, nut and seed oils
- avocado, nuts and seeds
- a medium sized vegetable; such as a turnip, parsnip, sweet potato, leek, tomato or carrot
- a medium sized fruit; for example, an apple, orange or banana
- 2 small fruits; such as plums or satsumas
- a handful of berries or grapes; and other small fruits like strawberries and prunes
- a good-sized slice of a larger fruit; such as a melon, mango or pineapple
- a tablespoon of dried fruit
- a 150ml glass of fruit juice
- a bowl of salad
Fruits and vegetables can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried. They all count. If you choose tinned, choose options in juice or water, without added sugar or salt.
Potatoes, yams, cassava and plantains are exceptions. They dont count because they count as a starchy food, like rice or pasta.
Unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies count too, but only one portion. More than one doesnt count because the loose sugar and acid in them can damage your teeth.
Pistachios Help Lower Blood Pressure Under Stress
Adding pistachios to your diet also has potential heart benefits. Previously, I discussed how our body and heart responds adversely to stress and how we respond to it with increased blood pressure. A study of people who ate approximately 1.5 0z of pistachios a day and were then exposed to mental stress found they had lower blood pressure rises than those who did not eat pistachios. In people with diabetes, eating pistachios lowers total and LDL cholesterol and can reduce the risk of diabetes-related disease in the arteries. In a four-week trial published in 2014;of;patients who had diabetes, a diet rich in pistachios improved heart rate response to stress, 24-hour blood pressure measurements, and heart function and output. Total cholesterol also decreased for those who ate pistachios.
If you are looking to lower your blood pressure, improve your response to stress, and lower your cholesterol, consider adding pistachios to your diet.
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The Truth About Peanuts
In my grocery store experiment, peanuts took a beating. However, many studies show eating peanuts, including peanut butter, can reduce heart risk. In the Nurses Health Study, those women who consumed peanuts and peanut butter lowered their risk of heart disease by 34 percent. The greatest benefit was in those who ate peanuts multiple times a week. In a study of 6,309 women with diabetes, eating one serving of peanuts five times a week or more lowered risk of heart disease by 44 percent.
Eating peanuts and peanut butter has also been shown to lower risk of diabetes in both lean and overweight women. Finally, like many other nuts, peanuts as an alternative food source for your protein needs can lower your cholesterol, particularly when added to other healthy diet choices.
If you are like the people in my study, perhaps you are asking: Are peanuts better than the others I have mentioned?
Putting Together A Low Cholesterol Diet
When it comes to investing money, experts recommend creating a portfolio of diverse investments instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. The same holds true for eating your way to lower cholesterol. Adding several foods to lower cholesterol in different ways should work better than focusing on one or two.
A largely vegetarian “dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods” substantially lowers LDL, triglycerides, and blood pressure. The key dietary components are plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains instead of highly refined ones, and protein mostly from plants. Add margarine enriched with plant sterols; oats, barley, psyllium, okra, and eggplant, all rich in soluble fiber; soy protein; and whole almonds.
Of course, shifting to a cholesterol-lowering diet takes more attention than popping a daily statin. It means expanding the variety of foods you usually put in your shopping cart and getting used to new textures and flavors. But it’s a “natural” way to lower cholesterol, and it avoids the risk of muscle problems and other side effects that plague some people who take statins.
Just as important, a diet that is heavy on fruits, vegetables, beans, and nuts is good for the body in ways beyond lowering cholesterol. It keeps blood pressure in check. It helps arteries stay flexible and responsive. It’s good for bones and digestive health, for vision and mental health.
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What Nuts Are Highest In Protein
Proteins are the essential building blocks of our body and are crucial for the bodys proper development and functions.
However, there has been confusion regarding how much protein to consume for a healthy lifestyle as an increasing number of people resort to protein shakes and high-protein foods to ensure they consume the proper intake.
Nonetheless, studies have found that the right amount of protein is around 0.7 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.
In particular, nuts are foods that are high in protein and essential minerals, and vitamins.
They are easy to add to your diet, versatile, and extremely healthy.
In the list below, you can find the nuts with the most significant amount of protein for one serving :
- Almonds: 7g
Eating Almonds Regularly May Help Improve Hdl Cholesterol Levels Functionality
- Penn State
- Eating almonds on a regular basis may help boost levels of HDL cholesterol while simultaneously improving the way it removes cholesterol from the body, according to researchers.
Eating almonds on a regular basis may help boost levels of HDL cholesterol while simultaneously improving the way it removes cholesterol from the body, according to researchers.
In a study, researchers compared the levels and function of high-density lipoprotein in people who ate almonds every day, to the HDL levels and function of the same group of people when they ate a muffin instead. The researchers found that while participants were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and functionality improved.
Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State, said the study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, builds on previous research on the effects of almonds on cholesterol-lowering diets.
“There’s a lot of research out there that shows a diet that includes almonds lowers low-density lipoprotein, or LDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease,” Kris-Etherton said. “But not as much was known about how almonds affect HDL cholesterol, which is considered good cholesterol and helps lower your risk of heart disease.”
An increase in this particular HDL subpopulation is meaningful, Kris-Etherton explained, because the particles have been shown to decrease overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
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