Almonds can help keep heart healthy, according to a new study.
Researchers from Aston University in UK found that eating almonds daily helped improve amount of antioxidants in the blood stream, lowered blood pressure and increased blood flow.
For the study, Professor Helen Griffiths and colleagues looked at three groups of men- healthy middle-aged, healthy young and young men at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. During the one month study, participants consumed 50 g of almonds daily. For comparison, researchers used a control group consuming normal diet.
Regular consumption of almonds was associated with improved levels of antioxidants (alpha-tocopherol) in blood stream. Participants in the almond group also achieved considerable reduction in blood pressure and an improved blood flow.
Almonds are rich with vitamin E, healthy fats, fibre and flavonoids. These nutrients in the nut help provide a sense of fullness and work together to keep heart healthy, researchers while explaining the mechanism, 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 (around 50g) every day for a short period can help," professor Griffiths, said in a news release. "You could replace a daytime snack with a bag of almonds or add them to your regular meals like porridge or muesli to help reduce your risk of heart problems."
Findings of the study also served to explain why Mediterranean diet is considered healthy for the heart, the researchers said. Mediterranean diet is a nutritional concept that promotes healthy eating by encouraging consumption of more fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, healthy fats, supplemented with olive oil. The diet also encourages moderate consumption of wine.
The study appeared in Free Radical Research.
Regular consumption of nuts has been known to have unlimited health benefits. It is for the same reason, health experts encourage people to include more nuts into their daily diet. Nuts are rich in many nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and vitamin E. All these nutrients have been scientifically proved to help remain healthy. While omega-3 fatty acids help manage irregular heart rhythms, fibre lower bad cholesterol and vitamin E helps prevent development of plaques in arteries and provide protection against heart attack.
Following are some other health benefits of eating almonds:
- Helps keep bones and teeth strong and healthy
- Helps keep blood pressure under control
- Helps shed excess fat
- Prevents hair fall
- Helps manage blood sugar
- Protects against deadly diseases including cancer
- Improves memory and concentration
- Helps ward off birth defect in children
- Helps solve constipation associated with pregnancy
- Helps manage cholesterol