Almond Blossoms

There seems to be a lot of headlines lately about almonds because of their effectiveness in lowering cholesterol.  This is old news.  In general, nuts are beneficial for cholesterol, weight management and heart health.  Nuts are high in fat and thus contrary to the rage in low fat diets over the last few decades to avoid fatty blood.  Many research groups are finding not only are fats such as that found in almonds in the diet helpful for lowering cholesterol, it also lowers blood fats and sugars.  In this study, they also showed that body weight increased because they gave their subjects 100 gm almonds to eat(about 400 calories extra a day).  This shows that calories count.

In an even bigger study covering over 13000 adults above the age of 19, it was found that consumption of tree nuts (only a 1/4 oz a day) improved cholesterol levels, had lower body weights, less abdominal fat, lower waist circumferences, and had better health parameters than those that did not consume nuts.  Here it was all tree nuts plus peanuts.

What this all shows is that fats clearly are not the culprit here.  Eating fats does not raise blood fats unless excess calories are taken in and they get converted to fat.  But even those subjects that gained weight in the test, the blood fat levels and cholesterol levels were down, which surprised the researchers.

Since the low fat diet promotion has started, we as a nation have gotten fatter.  Fat in our diets provides satiety and provides essential fatty acids.  It also slows down the digestion of food so our entire meal isn’t blasted into our bloodstream at once (this is called “low glycemic index”, i.e., a measure of the resultant blood sugar rise upon eating a food of the same number of calories).  To replace the calories in our diet (and flavor), food manufacturers have added sugar, which probably the reason that one third of us struggle with keeping our cholesterol levels and waistlines in check.  Yes, it is only 1/6th with high cholesterol, the rest are on some sort of lifestyle plan or medication.  (Almost thirty million statin users in the US in 2005.  Is probably a lot more now. )

Many studies have been done with almonds, but other tree nuts, such as walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts, have been shown to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels as well.

Nuts beneficial for cholesterol, weight management and heart health

Washington: Chomping on nuts leads to higher levels of good cholesterol (Hdl, high-density lipoprotein) and lower levels of C-reactive protein, which can trigger chronic diseases including heart disease, said a new study. “One of the more interesting

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Clearly, nuts are beneficial for cholesterol, weight management and heart health. Thus, contrary to what you might read all over the place about low fat diets and how they will help, it isn’t actually low fat diets. It’s picking the right fats. The wrong fats are trans fats and fats from nonorganic animals. Good fats are from nuts, fatty fish, grass fed beef, palm oil and coconut fat.