Most importantly, the almond-based diet helped reduce abdominal fat mass or central adiposity, a heart disease risk factor.jules/Flickr

Almonds can help burn belly fat and stay away from heart diseases, a new study says.

Eating at least 1.5 ounces (42 g) of almonds every day also improved LDL (low-density lipoproteins) or the bad cholesterol, the total cholesterol; reduced waist circumference and leg fat in participants.

The Penn State University study included 52 middle-aged people. The participants were overweight and suffered from high total and LDL cholesterol.  Participants were given a cholesterol- lowering diet, along with either a banana muffin or whole natural almonds equivalent in calories.

People who were snacking on almonds achieved a considerable decline in total, LDL and HDL or good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein) and remnant lipoproteins (RLPs). High levels of RLPs have been known to increase risk of stroke.  

Most importantly, the almond-based diet helped reduce abdominal fat mass or central adiposity, a heart disease risk factor.

"Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat," lead researcher of the study Dr Claire Berryman, said in a news release. "Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases."

The research has been published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Power of almonds in keeping the heart healthy is well-known. A study from the Aston University in UK reported last June that including almonds to the daily diet improved levels of antioxidants alpha-tocopherol in blood stream, lowered blood pressure and increased blood flow and helped keep the heart healthy.

Almonds- What makes it a Superfood?

Almonds are packed with several nutrients including vitamins, fiber and minerals, which make it eligible to be titled as one of the healthiest foods in the world.

The nuts are rich sources of B-vitamin biotin and folic acid. Folic acid is a vital nutrient needed for cell growth and development.

Biotin is known to help fight hair loss and weight gain; lower cholesterol, blood sugar and improve skin health, according to website Chatelaine.

Another important nutrient found in almonds is vitamin E, which is known to protect against sunstroke and heart disease. It can also help maintain a healthy skin and hair.  

Unsaturated fatty acids like oleic, and palmitoleic acids found in almonds help lower bad cholesterol and improve good cholesterol, according to nutrition –  

Almonds, also, are gluten-free and also contain important minerals like potassium, manganese, calcium, zinc, selenium and iron.