Could Almonds Help You Combat Heart Problems? Doctors Answer
Almonds reduce the level of bad cholestrol in the body, while increasing that of the good kind, suggests a study.
Wondering if there is any truth to the age-old habit of eating almonds daily? Were our grandparents right in stuffing our faces with them every winter morning?
Well, a new study seems to agree. Published in the journal Nutrition, the study suggests that including almonds in your daily diet is a good measure against cardiovascular problems.
In simple terms, the body has both good and bad kinds of fats. Daily intake of almonds reduces dyslipidemia, which can roughly be called the bad kind of cholesterol or fat.
According to this study, almonds become more significant for Indians. Cardiovascular diseases account for 28 percent of all deaths in India.
Too caught up to read? Listen to the story here:
Speaking with FIT, Dr Soumik Kalita, who led the study says:
Indians are more likely to fall prey to heart disease because of their genetic makeup. In lay man’s terms, their bodies are more inclined to store fat than their Caucasian counterparts. This, in turn, is capable of causing several cardiovascular problems.
Not All Cholesterol is Bad
Dr Kalita further points out that not all kinds of cholesterol is bad. HDL is one of its kinds that has protective properties.
If there is a 10-point increase in a kind of HDL, specifically HDL-C, there will be a fall in the risk of heart disease by half, according to the Indian Heart Association.
The bad kind of cholesterol on the other hand includes LDL.
If medication is taken to reduce one kind of cholesterol, it might affect the other kind. Medication would also come with its own set of side-effects and limitations. This study, however, concludes, that almonds not only reduce the LDL levels in the body, but also maintain or even increase the HDL-C levels.
Heart problems are a result of several factors and one of them happens to be dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is marked by high levels of bad cholesterol and low levels of the good kind.
Commenting on dyslipidemia, Dr Kalita says:
Daily consumption of 45 grams of almonds can help reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular diseases in the Indian population...A recent systematic review... showed that eating almonds results in significant reductions in total cholesterol and harmful LDL-cholesterol levels, while having no impact on beneficial HDL-cholesterol levels.
The study also touched upon abdominal fat and abdominal obesity and how almonds help address that. Fat around the waist is one of the causes of cardiovascular problems.
But How Beneficial Are Almonds Really?
We reached out to few more doctors to answer this question for us. Are almonds really as healthy as we are making them out to be? Dr Vaibhav Mishra, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiac Surgery, Fortis Hospital Noida, agreed with the research.
Almonds are full of monosaturated fats (mono- and poly-unsaturated fats are good fats). Hence they increase the good cholesterol and fibre content, and reduce LDL or bad cholesterol. Plus, it has Vitamin E which is beneficial for skin and hair. So, next time you are hungry between meals, choose a handful ( 15-20 ) of almonds over junk food.Dr Vaibhav Mishra
According to Dr Huda Shaikh, nutritionist and clinical dietitian, almonds are a rich source of magnesium – a mineral which most of the diabetics lack – which can help in lowering the blood sugar levels. Magnesium present in almonds also improves the functioning of insulin.
Now that the jury is out on almonds, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to include them in your diet.
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