Almonds: Cholesterol lowering, heart-healthy snack

September 17, 2002

MODESTO, Calif.--Americans looking to maintain a heart healthy diet should incorporate almonds into their diet. A new study, published in the American Heart Association's publication Circulation, reconfirms a growing body of research that almonds may lower "bad" cholesterol levels and help reduce risk of heart disease.

A clinical trial conducted at the University of Toronto, found that women and men who ate about one ounce (or a handful) of almonds each day lowered their LDL cholesterol by 4.4 percent from baseline. The study showed an even greater decrease of 9.4 percent in LDL cholesterol in those who ate about two handfuls of almonds a day, indicating that almonds' effect increases with increased consumption. The study also found that all of the people in the study, both those who ate only ounce servings and those who ate more, maintained their weight.

"We found that almonds reduce coronary heart disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner and may be used as healthy snacks without weight gain," said Dr. David Jenkins, who conducted the analysis. According to Dr. Jenkins, almonds are a good source of vegetable protein, "and the combination of monounsaturates with some polyunsaturates in nuts is an ideal combination of fats, all of which may have a beneficial effect on blood cholesterol".

SUMMARY OF PUBLISHED STUDY

Published:Circulation, September 10, 2002
Research Organization: University of Toronto
Study Title: Dose Response of Almonds on Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors: Blood Lipids, Oxidized Low-Density Lipoproteins, Lipoprotein(a), Homocysteine, and Pulmonary Nitric Oxide
Authors: David J.A. Jenkins, MD; Cyril W.C. Kendall, PhD; Augustine Marchie, BSc; Tina L. Parker, RD; Philip W. Connelly, PhD; Wei Qian, PhD; James S. Haight, MD; Dorothea Faulkner, RD; Edward Vidgen, BSc; Karen G. Lapsley, DSc; Gene A. Spiller, PhD
Objective: To examine the dose-response effect of almonds compared to low-fat muffins in the therapeutic diets of hyperlipidemic subjects.
Subjects: 27 hyperlipidemic men and women.
Study Description: Randomized, controlled crossover study. Subjects consumed three iso-energetic (mean 423 kcal/ d) supplements in one-month phases. The supplements provided 22.2% of energy and consisted of full-dose almonds (50-100g/ d), half-dose almonds with half-dose muffins. Fasting blood, blood pressure and body weight were obtained at weeks 0, 2 and 4.
RESULTS: Almonds used as snacks in the diets of hyperlipidemic subjects significantly reduce coronary heart disease risk factors, probably in part because of the nonfat (protein and fiber) and monounsaturated fatty acid components of the nut.
-end-
Editor's Note - Available:
· Infograph
· Expert Interviews:
· Dr. David Jenkins, St. Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto
· Almond photographs

So, when looking for a heart-healthy snack, why not consider the following quick recipe developed by famed chef Graham Kerr:

Almond and Fruit Mix

1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup each:
Combine all the ingredients and store refrigerated in an airtight jar for up to one month. Can be used to garnish low fat ice cream or yogurt, in cold cereal or all by itself as a snack. Makes two cups.

Per Serving (2 tablespoons): 88 calories; 6 g. fat; 1 g. saturated fat; 6 g. carbohydrates; 2 mg. sodium; 2 g. dietary fiber

Porter Novelli

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