Almonds were the focus of this particular study, and scientists observed that when subjects consumed them daily they significantly increased blood antioxidant levels, lowered blood pressure and improved blood flow. These findings support the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have sizable health benefits.
The study participants, healthy middle-aged and young men, and young men with two or more CV risk factors consumed 50 g of almonds/day for 4 weeks while a control group maintained their usual diets over the same period. The results were impressive- plasma α-tocopherol/cholesterol ratios increased, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) improved and systolic blood pressure reduced significantly in the almond eating group after only four weeks.
The scientists postulate that multiple beneficial substances in almonds, such as vitamin E and healthy fats, fiber which increases the sense of fullness, and flavonoids which may have antioxidant properties are the reason for their favorable effects The research team believes it is likely the combination of all these nutrients working together to create the overall health benefits rather than just one particular nutrient by itself
This study was led by Professor Helen Griffiths, Professor in Biomedical Sciences and Executive Dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. And Professor Griffiths notes "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) "
So reap the benefits of almonds by incorporating them into your diet today! Grab some for a snack, add chopped almonds to cereals, muffins, salads and on cooked veggies. Spread some almond butter on toast or blend it up in a smoothie. Or try my almond rich recipes like my Protein Bars, Banana Almond Chai Smoothie, Almond Cranberry Rice, or Arugula Apricot and Almond Salad!