Because oxidized LDL is even more likely to gunk-up your arteries than the unoxidized kind, recent study results on almonds and LDL oxidation helped secure the nut's position in a heart-healthy diet. When older adults with high cholesterol ate a daily handful of almonds as part of a 4-week cholesterol-friendly diet, not only did the nut eaters suffer less bad-for-the-arteries LDL oxidation, but their LDL levels took a nosedive as well. Pass the almonds, please!(Could your cholesterol be hurting your heart? Use this online screener to find out.)
Other good news for the almond eaters: The study subjects' healthy (HDL) cholesterol rose. How do almonds do it? Researchers suspect that the vast array of flavonoids and phenols in the skins play a role -- so be sure to buy whole almonds with the skins on. Those skin-based nutrients may react synergistically with other antioxidants in your body to produce the cholesterol-controlling effects. Shield your heart and arteries with these other disease-busting strategies, too:
- See the humor. A little laughter can do a whole lot for your heart and arteries.
- Enjoy the quiet. A bit of silence now and then may help keep your blood pressure in check.
- Go fishing. Regular fish eaters may be less likely to experience heart arrhythmias.