are a Powerful Cure for Bad Cholesterol, Obesity and More
by Barbara Minton
TBYIL articles by Barbara Minton
Does eating to regain your
health have to involve the latest discovery from the Amazon or the deserts
of South America? Absolutely not. What you need is right on your grocer's
shelf. For example, you can go a long way toward getting your cholesterol
numbers looking good and yourself feeling great simply by adding almonds to
a nutritious diet. This is because almonds normalize cholesterol levels and
the ratio between LDL and HDL cholesterol. And it does it without the deadly
side effects of statin drugs.
But that's just the beginning. Eating almonds provides super-strength
protection against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even weight
gain and obesity.
Almonds are stars of cholesterol research
In a four week study reported in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, 46 healthy human subjects were divided into three groups. The
control group ate a low saturated fat diet based on milled whole-wheat
cereals and low-fat dairy foods. The second group ate the same diet and also
took the statin drug Lovastatin. The third group ate a diet high in almonds
plus plant sterols, non-meat protein, and fiber. LDL cholesterol decreased
by 8% in the control group, 30% in the statin group, and an almost
equivalent 28% in the almond group.
Another study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition,
found that heart disease risk correlates not only with cholesterol levels,
but also with inflammation of blood vessels. Following a diet that includes
almonds normalizes cholesterol levels and also C-reactive protein levels, a
key marker of inflammation. Inflammation is hard on the heart because it
increases the development of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and causes
the heart to have to pump faster and harder to get its job done. In this
study, the C-reactive protein levels of the almond eaters fell 24% from
baseline, an amount similar to the reduction achieved by taking a statin
drug, only without the life draining side effects.
Five large human epidemiological studies, including the Nurses Health Study,
all found that nut consumption is linked to lower risk for heart disease.
Researchers studying data from the Nurses study found that substituting nuts
for an equivalent amount of carbohydrates in an average diet resulted in a
30% reduction in heart disease risk.
Almonds protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Almonds' ability to reduce heart disease risk may also be due to the huge
amounts of the antioxidant Vitamin E found in these nuts, and the LDL
lowering effect of the monounsaturated fats they contain. When almonds are
substituted for more traditional fats in human feeding trials, LDL
cholesterol is reduced by a range of 8 to 12%.
A quarter cup of almonds contains 99mg of magnesium and 257mg of potassium.
Magnesium is a natural channel blocker. When magnesium levels are high,
veins and arteries relax, lessening resistance and allowing increased flow
of oxygen and nutrient rich blood. Potassium is involved in nerve
transmission and contraction of all muscles, including the heart. It is
another mineral essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart
function. Almonds also help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent insulin
The Journal of Nutrition recently reported a study of 15 healthy people who
each ate 5 meals with comparable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
The meals were designed to promote blood sugar spikes. Two meals consisted
of bread only, and three meals consisted of bread, parboiled rice, and
instant mashed potatoes, with the addition of almonds. Blood samples taken
after each meal showed levels of blood sugar and insulin were lower
following the almond meal, and levels of protective antioxidants increased.
This study demonstrates the powerful anti-aging effect of almonds as well as
their ability to ward off diabetes.
The more almonds eaten as part of a meal, the lower will be the glycemic
index of that meal, and the smaller the rise in blood sugar levels produced
by that meal.
fats in almonds promote in weight loss
Nuts contain lots of fat, and many people still operate under the idea that
eating fat makes people fat, so nuts are often shunned. However review of
the data from the Nurses’ Health Study shows that frequent nut eaters are
thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts.
One reason nuts help with weight loss is their nutrient density. A body that
is well nourished no longer craves food. The traditional American diet is so
depleted of nutrients that the body continues to send hunger signals even
after eating a large meal. In response to these signals, more nutrient
deficient food is usually eaten and more hunger signals are sent. It is a
vicious circle that leads to steady weight gain as the years go by. Eating
nutrient rich almonds and other nuts breaks this vicious circle and allows
for feelings of fullness and satiety to set in.
In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related
Metabolic Disorders, researchers found that adding almonds to a low calorie
diet can help overweight individuals drop pounds more effectively than a low
calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates. Of 65 overweight participants,
those who ate the almond enriched low calorie diet consumed 39% of their
calories in the form of fat. Participants who ate the low calorie diet high
in complex carbohydrates consumed only 18% of their calories from fat. Both
diets supplied the same number of calories and equivalent amounts of
After six months, those on the diet that included almonds had greater
reductions in weight, body fat, total body water, and systolic blood
pressure. Those eating almonds had a whopping 62% greater reduction in body
mass index score, 50% greater reduction in waist circumference, and 56%
greater reduction in body fat compared to those on the low calorie complex
carbohydrate diet. Among those with diabetes, medication reductions were
sustained or further reduced in 96% in those on the almond-added diet.
A study reported in World's Healthiest Foods involving 8865 adults found
that those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to
gain weight than were those who never or seldom ate them.
The British Journal of Nutrition reported a study of 43 men and 38 women
whose normal eating patterns were observed for 6 months. They were then told
to eat about 2 ounces or one-quarter cup of almonds daily with no other
instructions, and they were then followed for another 6 months. At the end
of that time, researchers found the participants intake of monounsaturated
fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vegetable protein, Vitamin
E, copper and magnesium had significantly increased. Their intake of trans
fatty acids, animal protein, sodium, cholesterol and sugars significantly
decreased. Apparently the eating of almonds can bring on a nutritional
Almonds are a good source of cancer preventing laetrile
The 1990’s Adventist Health Study of a large population of California
Seventh Day Adventists found that eating nuts was one of the four top
factors for extending longevity. These beneficial effects were found for
men, women, vegetarians, meat-eaters, fatter people, thinner people, the
old, the young, those who exercised and those who did not.
One of the likely reasons behind this finding is the high levels of laetrile
contained in almonds. Laetrile, also known as Vitamin B-17, is a cancer
solution that corruption has prevented from reaching the U.S. market. In
other countries, commercial preparations of laetrile are obtained from the
kernels of apricots, peaches and almonds. Laetrile's active ingredient,
amygdaline, comes from the Greek word for almond. Laetrile has persisted as
a known cancer fighter since the 2nd century A.D.
Almonds have prebiotic properties
Recently published work by the Institute of Food Research has identified
prebiotic properties of almonds that could help improve digestive health by
encouraging gut bacteria to flourish. A healthy and abundant population of
friendly bacteria in the gut form part of the body’s defense against harmful
bacteria, and are the basis of the body’s immune system. Prebiotics are
non-digestible parts of foods that are able to get through the upper part of
the intestine without being digested or absorbed.
The California Almond Board sponsored a study to subject almonds to the same
conditions experienced in the stomach and small intestine. They then added
the digested almonds in vitro to mimic the bacterial fermentation in the
large intestine, and monitored its effect on the population of intestinal
bacteria. The study, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology,
found that finely ground almonds significantly increased the levels of
beneficial bacteria. This effect was not seen when the fat content was
removed from the almond preparation, suggesting that the beneficial bacteria
used the almond lipids for growth, thus making them the basis of the
prebiotic effect of almonds.
Almonds have even more nutrients and benefits
Almonds are high in trace minerals that are essential co-factors for
production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body’s endogenous
antioxidants. SOD works in the mitochondria, the cellular furnace, to keep
down free radicals that interfere with cellular energy production. Almonds
are also good sources of the B vitamins necessary for recycling of another
endogenous antioxidant, glutathione.
Studies have shown that eating nuts can lower the risk of developing
gallstones by 25% and help prevent dementia, advanced macular degeneration,
Getting maximum nutrition from almonds
Almonds right off the store shelf are much better than no almonds at all,
but they can be difficult to digest, and eating too many may stress your
pancreas. Almonds, like all nuts, contain phytate, nature’s way of making
sure the nut survives the winter to sprout in the spring. To gain maximum
nutrition and digestibility from almonds, it’s best to soak them before they
are eaten. Almonds are one of only a few nuts that will actually sprout when
soaked. Soaking neutralizes the phytate and other inhibitors and allows the
nutrients from the nut to be released.
Start with fresh, completely unprocessed almonds and soak them in water with
a pinch of sea salt for about 12 hours. Then dry them at a temperature not
exceeding 105 degrees F. Be sure they are completely dried before putting
them away. There are several good sources online for buying nuts suitable
for sprouting. Delicious almonds already sprouted and ready to eat can be
ordered online too.
The decision was made in 2007 to require all almonds grown in California,
including raw almonds, to be pasteurized prior to being sold in North
America. For those wishing to get the most from their almonds, unpasteurized
imported almonds are the better choice.
Go nuts with almonds
Almonds make a great snack for adults and kids. Use almond butter as a
breakfast spread on warm toast, or a nourishing lunchbox centerpiece stuffed
into celery ribs. Kids love almond butter and fruit sandwiches. Almonds are
crispy and crunchy, making them a super addition to salads, casseroles,
pasta, vegetables, and meat dishes. Include almonds in Chinese dishes and
rice. Add cinnamon or other herbs and spices to almonds to turn up their
nutritional value even higher. Coat them with honey or shoyu and roll in
herbs, spices or cocoa. Use your imagination.
Don't let concerns over extra
calories prevent you from enjoying the many health
benefits of wholesome nuts
brief discussion of the high cholesterol myth and the
dangers of statin drugs
The Truth About Lowering
Prominent heart doctor exposes the
myths about cholesterol, statins and low fat diets
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