Snacking on almonds regularly found to boost good cholesterol levels
05/24/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Snacking on almonds regularly found to boost good cholesterol levels

Almonds are a great snack because they’re savory and crunchy. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, snacking on almonds regularly may also be good for your HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or good cholesterol, levels.

Researchers found that eating almonds regularly can help boost good cholesterol while also improving the way it removes cholesterol from your body.

In the study, the researchers compared the levels and function of HDL cholesterol in volunteers who ate almonds every day and in people who consumed a muffin instead. They reported that while the volunteers were on the almond diet, their HDL levels and functionality improved.

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Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State, said the study builds on earlier studies that examined the effects of almonds on cholesterol-lowering diets.

Other studies have shown that a diet that includes almonds helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), or “bad” cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. She added that not much was known about how almonds affect HDL cholesterol, which helps lower the risk of heart disease by helping transport cholesterol out of the body.

Kris-Etherton explained that while HDL is very small when it gets released into circulation, it’s like a garbage bag that eventually gets bigger and more spherical as it gathers cholesterol from tissues. The cholesterol is then deposited in the liver where it is broken down.

Almonds and HDL cholesterol

Depending on how much cholesterol it has collected, HDL cholesterol is categorized into five “subpopulations” ranging from the very small pre-beta-1 to the larger, more mature alpha-1.

In the controlled-feeding study, 48 male and female volunteers with elevated LDL cholesterol participated in two six-week diet periods. In both instances, their diets were similar except for the daily snack.

Those on the almond diet received 43 grams or a handful of almonds a day. During the control period, they consumed a banana muffin instead.

The researchers found that the almond diet increased the volunteers’ alpha-1 HDL levels by at least 19 percent, which they took as a sign of improved HDL function. The almond diet also improved HDL function by 6.4 percent among volunteers with normal weight.

An increase in this alpha-1 is important since the particles have been shown to decrease the overall risk of cardiovascular disease, explained Kris-Etherton.

She noted that while almonds won’t completely eliminate the risk of heart disease, they may be a smart choice for a nutritious snack. After all, almonds offer heart benefits and are full of good fats, dietary fiber and vitamin E.

Recipes for incorporating almonds into your regular diet

Almonds are a great snack. If you want to eat more than a handful of almonds, here are some tasty almond recipes to try for your next meal.

Almond cashew crackers

Try this recipe if you want a light snack with homemade crackers and crunchy almonds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Seeds for toppings (chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven at 375 F.
  2. In a food processor or blender, mix the almonds and cashews until you have a course flour.
  3. Pour the nut flour into a bowl and add the egg, water and kosher salt. Use less salt if you’re using salted nuts. Stir until the mixture forms a stiff dough, then separate the dough into two equal parts.
  4. Place a sheet of parchment paper the size of a standard baking sheet on a flat surface and top it with half of the dough and another sheet of parchment paper. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough until it is very thin or about 0.1 inch and covers most of the paper.
  5. Peel off the top parchment paper, then slide the paper with the dough onto a baking sheet.
  6. Use a sharp knife to carefully cut the dough into squares. Mist the squares finely with a bit of water to help the toppings adhere, then top with a few handfuls of your preferred seeds.
  7. Roll out, cut and top the remaining half of the dough with seeds.
  8. Bake the crackers for about 10 minutes. Check them every now and then so they don’t burn.
  9. Remove the crackers from the oven and set aside to cool. Once done, break into crackers and store in a resealable container.

Almond tomato dip with grilled bread

This recipe for almond tomato dip with grilled bread will be a hit with your guests.

Ingredients for 8 servings:

For the tomato dip:

  • 15-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the grilled bread:

  • 1 baguette
  • Olive oil

Preparation:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the roasted almonds, fire roasted tomatoes, garlic and kosher salt. Process until the nuts are finely ground.
  2. Scrape down the bowl.
  3. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream until you have a thick mixture. Leftovers can be refrigerated for one week.
  4. To make the grilled bread, slice the baguette into slices.
  5. Brush olive oil onto each side of the bread. In a grill pan or on a grill, toast each bread slice over medium high heat until browned or for a few minutes per side.

Honey sesame roasted almonds

This recipe is perfect for when you’re craving a sweet but healthy almond snack.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon water

Preparation:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  3. In a medium pan, stir together all of the ingredients until the almonds are coated with honey and sesame seeds over medium heat for two to three minutes.
  4. Spoon the nuts into a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Remove and place the baking sheet on a cooling rack. The nuts will crisp as they cool.
  6. When cool, break the nuts apart. Store in a tightly covered container.

Superfood granola bars

This recipe for chewy no-bake granola bars makes for a quick, nutritious snack.

Ingredients:

  • 225 g (2 cups) porridge oats
  • 150 g (5.3oz) runny honey
  • 100 g (3.5oz) coconut oil (or butter)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) light brown soft sugar
  • 85 g (1/2 cup) chopped dried apricots
  • 75 g (2.65oz) dark chocolate, chopped
  • 75 g (1/2 cup) whole raw almonds
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) dried cranberries
  • 70 g (1/2 cup) pepitas or pumpkin seeds
  • 60 g (2 cups) puffed brown rice cereal
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) chia seeds
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) golden linseeds
  • 30 g (1/4 cup) goji berries
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F).
  2. Spread the oats, pumpkin seeds and golden linseeds out in a roasting tray and toast them in the oven for eight to 10 minutes until they are just starting to turn golden and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool when done.
  3.  Line a 26 cm (10-inch) square tin with baking parchment but leave some overhanging on either side.
  4. Pour the cooled oats and seeds into a large bowl together with the puffed rice cereal, almonds, apricots, chia seeds, dried cranberries and goji berries. Mix everything together.
  5.  Place the coconut oil, sugar and honey in a pan. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a boil and let it bubble for a minute.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the cinnamon and salt, then pour over the oat mixture. Stir until everything is well combined. Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes or until the mixture is barely warm, then stir through the chopped chocolate.
  7. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and spread it out into an even layer. Pack it down very firmly. Use the base of a glass if you need help pressing it down. Refrigerate the tin for about an hour until completely cold.
  8. Use the overhanging parchment to lift the slab out of the tin. Cut it into twelve slices using a very sharp serrated knife: Slice it into quarters and cut each quarter into three strips.
  9. Wrap each bar individually in clingfilm and store at room temperature for a couple of weeks. The bars will last for one month in the fridge.

Follow a balanced diet and snack on almonds regularly to improve your heart health.

Sources:

ScienceDaily.com

NDTV.com

ACoupleCooks.com 1

ACoupleCooks.com 2

LiveBest.info

DomesticGothess.com

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