Go nutty. That’s the message for people with high cholesterol, according to a study by Prof. David Jenkins and research scientist Cyril Kendall of nutritional sciences. Published in the journal Circulation, the study found that almonds significantly lower levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Previous research has suggested that nut consumption reduces the risk of coronary heart disease, but since nuts are high in calories, they are generally not recommended for people on calorie-reduced diets.
“We were quite impressed,” Jenkins says of the reduction in the ratio of “bad” to “good” cholesterol generated by the almonds. “That ratio is very important in assessing cardiovascular risk.” Patients can eat almonds as part of a healthy, balanced diet as long as they are natural or dry-roasted, without added oils or salts, adds Jenkins, director of the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. While nuts and seeds tend to be high in fat and calories, most of the fat is polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. The combination of fats in nuts – monounsaturates with some polyunsaturates – is ideal.
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2 Responses to “ Almonds Fight Cholesterol ”
I was very pleased with U of T Magazine’s report of our almond study (“Almonds Fight Cholesterol,” Leading Edge, Winter 2003). You may also be interested in our Portfolio study, published in Metabolism last December. In this study, we fed hypercholesterolemic subjects a number of cholesterol-lowering foods – soy foods, viscous fibre foods (oats and barley) and plant sterol-enriched margarine. Their combined action achieved the same lowering of cholesterol as is seen with drug therapy. Basically, this study shows the value of combining cholesterol-lowering foods and showcases the value of foods such as almonds as part of a heart-healthy diet.
(BSc 1985 New College, MSc 1987, PhD 1992)
Department of Nutritional Sciences
University of Toronto
I believe that fruits and vegetables that are nutrient rich and have anti-oxidant properties such as phytochemicals and lycopines are important for boosting the immune system.