A handful of almonds daily may boost your good cholesterol
New York Aug 12 (IANS) Munching about a handful of almonds daily may help boost the level of good cholesterol in the body as well as improve its functionality new research suggests.
The findings showed that the almonds not just increased the levels of good cholesterol -- high-density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol) but also helps remove the bad cholesterol -- low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol) -- from the body.
Almonds works by gathering cholesterol from tissues like the arteries and helping to transport it out of the body.
"HDL is very small when it gets released into circulation. It s like a garbage bag that slowly gets bigger and more spherical as it gathers cholesterol from cells and tissues before depositing them in the liver to be broken down " said Penny Kris-Etherton professor at the Pennsylvania State University.
Depending on how much cholesterol it has collected HDL cholesterol is categorised into five "subpopulations" which range from the very small pre-beta-1 to the larger more mature a-1.
In the study in the paper published in the Journal of Nutrition the team in two six-week experiment analysed a group of people who ate 43 grams -- about a handful -- of almonds every day and the same group when they ate a banana muffin.
The results showed that eating almonds resulted in increased a-1 HDL by 19 per cent as well as improved HDL function by 6.4 per cent -- indicating a decrease in the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
While almonds will not totally eliminate the risk of heart disease they may be a smart choice for a healthy snack as they also provide a dose of good fats vitamin E and fibre the research said.
"Almonds not a cure-all but when eaten in moderation -- and especially when eaten instead of a food of lower nutritional value -- they re a great addition to an already healthy diet " Kris-Etherton said.