Consumption of nuts and seeds is considered healthy for your heart. And almonds are one of the most important nuts for heart health. According to a new review done by nutritionists and heart experts, including almonds in your diet can reduce symptoms of dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is known to be an important risk factor of cardiovascular diseases in Indians. The condition is marked by high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglyceride levels in the body.
Dyslipidemia can increase chances of clogged arteries in the body. People who have dyslipidemia are more prone to risks of heart attacks, stroke and other circulatory concerns. Smokers are at higher risk of dyslipidemia. Risk factors that increase chances of dyslipidemia in children include unhealthy diet, obesity and lack of exercise.
The review, funded by Almond Board of California, states that consuming 45 gms of almonds daily can reduce symptoms of dyslipidemia. Introducing dietary changes in the lifestyle can help in reducing harmful LDL cholesterol levels by reducing saturated fat. But it also reduces levels of HDL cholesterol, which is beneficial for the body. However, this is not the case with almonds.
Studies on almonds and lipid levels show that eating almonds can lower LDL and triglyceride levels, while not affecting the beneficial HDL cholesterol levels. There are numerous studies that say that almonds are helpful in improving blood cholesterol levels significantly.
It is because of the fat profile of almonds that they are considered so healthy. Almonds contain both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are considered as good fats. Other nutrients present in almonds include Vitamin E and dietary fibre.
In India, a large number of people are found with low HDL levels. Consumption of almonds can have a positive effect on increase HDL levels. They can either maintain HDL levels or increase them significantly.
According to Delhi-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra, almonds can help in regulating blood pressure as well. “Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. Many studies suggest that almonds lower LDL cholesterol and also prevent oxidation of LDL, which is crucial to preventing heart disease. Some studies suggest that almonds help to lower blood pressure. Almonds contain high levels of bio active molecules such as fibre, polyphenol, minerals and vitamins – many of which have antioxidant properties. They are rich in Vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant,” says Pooja.
Ask her about the number of almonds you should have in a day and she says, “Eating 8-10 soaked almonds in a day goes a long way in adding valuable nutrients to your daily diet.”
Almonds: Health benefits you must know
Thus, only a handful of almonds can be beneficial for the heart. Unsaturated fats in almonds help in improving serotonin levels in the day, which helps in improving sleep quality at night.
Almonds are rich in Vitamin E, which help in keeping infections at bay. Regular consumption of almonds can help in boosting immunity.
They are good source of fibre. Eating almonds can help you feel full for longer. This means that almonds can successfully be included in weight loss regime. Fibre content in almonds is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. They help in maintaining a stable blood sugar levels and improve flow of blood.
It is to be kept in mind that almonds have calories and hence should be consumed in controlled quantities. Excess consumption of almonds can be bad for heart as well as your body weight.
Additionally, almonds are also good for the health of your bones and teeth. They are rich in calcium, a mineral which works with Vitamin D in the body to build bones and improve strength of teeth.
How to add almonds in your diet
You can add almond to your diet by having almond milk. It is especially helpful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerance.
You should eat soaked almonds in order to improve intake of nutrients. Soaking almonds help in reducing phytic acids in the outer layer of almonds. The outer layer of bran of almonds can block calcium absorption and also affect the amount of magnesium, iron, copper and zinc which we consume. Soaking almonds neutralises enzyme inhibitors, thus aiding digestion. Soaked almonds have higher B Vitamins. They help in breakdown of gluten which neutralises toxins in colons and makes proteins more available for absorption.
You can also have blanched almonds, which are almonds without their skin. Blanched almonds are available in gourmet and speciality food stores. Or, you can also blanch almonds at home by adding them in boiling water for 2 months. After that, drain almonds and rinse them with cold water. Give them the time to cool before you peel off the skin.