Almonds Attack Heart Disease
Earlier this week I wrote about our number one killer; heart disease. Atherosclerosis is the underlying cause of most cardiovascular disease. For most older Americans it develops over years and eventually leads to coronary heart disease, heart attack, and/or stroke. But as I noted earlier this week, many people don't realize that atherosclerosis and heart disease are preventable. And reversible.
Five key lifestyle factors are crucial:
- maintaining a healthy body weight
- not smoking
- drinking only small to moderate amounts of alcohol
When it comes to diet, almonds are among the best foods you can eat to fight atherosclerosis. Plenty of experts have reported this before, but a new study looked at the specific effects that almonds have on heart disease risk factors. Investigators at Ashton University in Birmingham, UK, reported recently that almonds raise the amount of antioxidants circulating in the bloodstream, lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow. The researchers speculate that almonds may be one reason that the Mediterranean diet is so good at preventing heart disease. Nuts are an integral component of the Mediterranean diet.
Helen Griffiths is a professor in Biomedical Sciences at Ashton University. In a press release, she said, "Our study confirms that almonds are a superfood. Previous studies have shown that they keep your heart healthy, but our research proves that it isn't too late to introduce them into your diet - adding even a handful (about 1.8 ounces) every day for a short period can help. Researchers believe the combination of natural antioxidants, healthy mono- and poly-unsaturated fats, and fiber all contribute to almonds' beneficial effects on heart disease risk factors. "...Add them to your regular meals like porridge or muesli to help reduce your risk of heart problems," said Griffiths.