Most of us know that almonds are good for memory. But a new study review shows that it is also good for your heart health, especially for Indians, who are more prone to heart disorders than their European counterparts.
The review of over 1,500 studies published in the journal Nutrients, suggests that daily inclusion of almonds as part of a healthy diet can reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Indians.
Dyslipidemia is a condition marked by high LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and low HDL cholesterol levels. “Daily consumption of 45 grammes of almonds in any form (crushed, wholesome, or in snacks) can help reduce dyslipidemia,” said Soumik Kalita, the lead author of the study. “Typically, dietary strategies to reduce harmful LDL-cholesterol, such as decreasing saturated fat, also reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol, but that is not the case with almonds,” said Kalita, founder of Gurgaon-based FamPhy, a network of home visiting doctors.
Almonds can also reduce abdominal fat which can cause heart disease.
The review also included a study conducted in India that showed the inclusion of almonds in daily diets contributed towards reduced abdominal fat which is known to be a major factor in metabolic syndrome and ischemic heart disease (IHD).
Cardiovascular diseases account for 28%of all deaths in India, more than any other cause. Due to their genetic make-up, Southeast Asians (especially Indians) have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, characterised by elevated levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
What causes heart disease
Lack of physical activity, poor dietary habits such as diets rich in sugar, salt and saturated fats are responsible for several conditions such as abdominal obesity and insulin resistance which are now more common among Indians. Coupled with these lifestyle factors and conditions, genetic propensity makes Indians much more prone to heart disease than their Caucasian counterparts, according to the review by researchers, including Shweta Khandelwal from Public Health Foundation of India in Gurgaon and Jagmeet Madan from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai.
Numerous studies worldwide have shown that almonds have the potential to help improve blood cholesterol levels. The health benefits of almonds are thought to be due to their fat profile (predominantly mono- and poly-unsaturated fats ie good fats), antioxidant vitamin E, dietary fibre, and other important nutrients.
Other nuts to incude in your diet
Here are 5 other nuts that you must include in your diet:
Cashews are rich in vitamins E and B6.
Cashews are a rich source of vitamins E and B6. They can also be used to bring a rich texture and flavour to various dishes. Studies have also shown that people who regularly snack on them may face a lower risk of heart disease than people who don’t.
Walnuts can help you lose weight.
Eating walnuts along with other nuts like hazelnuts and almonds can help you reduce weight. Walnuts are also loaded with vital Omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibres, proteins, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This superfood also activates an area in your brain which decreases hunger.A study shows that half a cup of walnuts may help protect your digestive system by increasing the amount of probiotic bacteria in the gut and ward off risks of heart and brain disease as well as cancer.
Pistachios can reduce risk of cancer and heart disease.
Research found that eating a handful of pistachios could cut the risk of coronary heart disease by nearly 30 % while also reducing the risk of cancer by 15 %. Another study found that pistachios could help fight colon cancer by detoxifying the body against cancer-causing elements. And if you sugar levels are high, eating pistachios could reduce vascular response to stress in type 2 diabetes as well.
Peanuts are good for key brain functions.
Along with pistachios, peanuts can strengthen brainwave frequencies associated with cognition, healing, learning, memory and other key brain functions. A 2017 study showed that eating about three ounces of peanuts with a high-fat meal is good for your heart. And another study showed that eating peanuts while breastfeeding may protect newborns from developing allergies later in life.
Macadamia nuts are rich in selenium and zinc.
These nuts should be part of a well-balanced diet. It is rich in selenium and zinc and boosts hair growth and reduces dandruff. It can also destroy fungus from the scalp.
(With inputs from PTI)
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