Handful of Almonds a Day

A handful of almonds a day keeps the cholesterol at bay? It seems that those heart-healthy almonds really do the body some additional good when it comes to helping with cholesterol according to new research.

Good news for all the nut lovers out there! It may not be “new” news that almonds are heart healthy, but it is good news for those with high cholesterol levels and those seeking to not have high cholesterol in the first place.

So instead of noshing on crackers, pretzels or chips head for the almonds next time hunger pangs strike you -- do your heart some good, according to researchers at Penn State University.

Eating almonds on a regular basis could help boost a person’s high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol, which is often called the “good cholesterol,” as well as improve the way low-density lipoprotein or LDL cholesterol (also called “bad” cholesterol) is removed from the body.

Researchers said although there’s a great deal of research out there that shows a diet including almonds lowers LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease. However, there was not as much information about how almonds affect HDL cholesterol, which is considered good cholesterol and helps lower risk of heart disease.

Almonds not only boost HDL cholesterol and lower LDL cholesterol, but also provide good fats, vitamin E and fiber as well. The study was published in The Journal of Nutrition.

While almonds have been shown to be a heart-healthy snack of choice and good for cholesterol levels, it is important to use moderation with portions. Nuts are high in calories and consuming too many can be counterproductive and sabotage your diet. Almonds can be purchased salted, unsalted, raw or roasted. Be sure to check out the added-sodium in those you choose to eat, because some can be quite high in sodium while others are relatively low or have no added sodium at all.