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Today’s topic is nuts…..almonds, that is (sorry). Study after study has been published recently demonstrating the benefits of this common nut, so common that I’ve been able to get them at several places in the Charlotte airport, where I’ve spent the past couple of days (not by choice, rather by some Cosmic Design).

One group of researchers from the University of Toronto actually got people to eat 20% of their calories as almonds for 16 weeks. They lowered their LDL (bad cholesterol) by 9% and raised their HDL (good cholesterol) as well. A more reasonable study is the Portfolio Eating Plan, which has followed people eating “heart-healthy” foods such as soy and almonds for the past 3 years. These people (who have been remarkably compliant with their diet, suggesting that it’s a very manageable program) have lowered their LDL by a highly-significant 24%

Several studies have demonstrated that almonds lower insulin levels and blood sugar, both important factors in preventing diabetes. And, a study in London showed that adding almonds to a diet lowers triglycerides (bad fats), probably by slowly releasing the good oils contained in the nuts.

Previous research has shown almonds to help prevent prostate cancer. But a surprising added benefit of regularly eating almonds is their effect on digestive function. Research at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich looked at different forms of almonds and the gut, and published information on the benefit of all forms (except heavily processed, “defatted, blanched” almonds) on intestinal bacteria. In fact, almonds act as prebiotics, foods that promote the health of the intestinal lining and the growth of good, beneficial organisms in the gut (acidophilus, bifidus, etc).

A serving of almonds is considered to be a handful or about 23 almonds. Anything less might be…….OK, here it comes………..nuts (ba-dum).

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One Response to “Nuts to your health (Almonds actually)”

  1. on 20 May 2009 at 5:14 pm Sally

    Eat them, love them (almonds that is). Have a very very sensitive stomach, but the one thing I can always count on eating is almonds. Btw, my ldl/hdl ratio is very good. Much improved since eating more almonds and no gains, and no sugar.

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