In a recent published study, there is more to say about almonds. In this months HERBALGRAM sponsored by the American Botanical Council.

RE: Almond Intake Protects against HDL Decreases in Normal-Weight Subjects on a Cholesterol-lowering Diet

Berryman CE, Fleming JA, Kris-Etherton PM. Inclusion of almonds in a cholesterollowering diet improves plasma HDL subspecies and cholesterol efflux to serum in normal-weight individuals with elevated LDL cholesterol. J Nutr. August 2017;147(8):1517-1523. 
Reduced saturated fat intake is associated with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events, but this dietary change may also cause lower levels of "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. A previous study, the 2005 OmniHeart Trial, found that a diet with higher unsaturated fat intake prevented decreases in HDL cholesterol compared to diets with higher carbohydrate or protein intake levels even though all diets reduced LDL cholesterol. 

According to the authors, this is the first study to evaluate the effects of almond consumption on HDL subspecies and HDL function. The authors conclude that including almonds in a traditional low-fat diet to reduce blood cholesterol levels produced fewer decreases in the treatment normal-weight group, but not overweight or obese subjects, compared to the controls. There is previous clinical evidence that α-1 HDL is a better predictor of ischemic heart disease than total HDL cholesterol. Furthermore, high concentrations of α-1 HDL and low concentrations of pre-β-HDL have been shown to decrease the risk of CVD.2 This sub-group analysis showed that in normal-weight subjects, almond consumption improves HDL subpopulation distribution and nonABCA1–mediated cholesterol efflux, compared to the control diet. The authors point to the need to standardize HDL subclasses in order to adequately study HDL biology and function, and the subsequent effects of dietary interventions. The study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

For further reading, see the recent review by Kalita and associates, entitled, "Almonds and cardiovascular health: A review" (Nutrients. April 2018;10(4):pii:E468. doi: 10.3390/nu1004046

Published in HerbalGram

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