HDL cholesterol is considered beneficial, and people with high levels of this good fraction of cholesterol are less prone to heart disease. But people have a difficult time raising their HDL levels. Could almonds help?

Almonds to Energize HDL:

Substituting a handful of almonds for a high-carb low-fat snack may improve the function of good HDL cholesterol. Scientists came to that conclusion from a study they conducted at the Pennsylvania State University.

Almonds vs. Banana Muffins:

The investigators recruited 48 people with high LDL cholesterol to follow a low-fat diet for 12 weeks. During half of this time, they were given a low-fat banana muffin as a snack. During the other six weeks they were provided with 43 grams of almonds to munch. That’s roughly a handful of almonds. The researchers made sure there were about the same number of calories in each day’s meals.

The Envelope?

Blood fats were measured at the beginning of the study and after each six-week period. The results showed that normal weight people who ate almonds improved the quality of their HDL. According to the scientists’ calculations, this would reduce the risk of heart disease.

Berryman, Fleming & Kris-Etherton, Journal of Nutrition, August 2017

Any Caveats?

We are not aware of any troublesome side effects due to eating almonds. On the contrary, many readers report that a small number of almonds after a meal can ward off heartburn.  We should note, though, that the overweight and obese volunteers in the Penn State study did not experience any HDL benefits during the almond phase of the experiment. Apparently, this type of snack makes a difference only if a person’s metabolism is functioning as it should.

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  1. Royce

    Almonds have been around well before any time we can think about, so there must be something good about them, same as olives. Wife and I take some each morning, so far no bad side affects.

  2. JP
    Houston, TX

    I’ve read several articles about the benefits of eating almonds, but none of them ever said how many to eat, how often to eat them (once a day, twice a day, etc.) or frequency (once a week, twice a week, etc.) before meals, with meals, after meals, etc. Any illumination about these issues?????

  3. Jesse

    As for eating almonds, beware. A professional beekeeper told me he stopped eating almonds (they are pollinated by bees) because almonds are heavily and dangerously contaminated with toxic pesticides and herbicides such as Round Up. Pollinating almonds also contaminates and damages bees. It is very difficult to find organic almonds that are not contaminated with dangerous chemicals. I can’t find any.

  4. Ann

    Almonds along with kale are one of the current superfoods. The problem with almonds is they knock out the effects of thyroid medication. In America, millions of people have thyroid disease and are taking Synthroid, one of the top selling drugs in America. We don’t hear much about the issue, except for people like me who checks in on the no-no list of foods for those with hypothyroidism. Not only almonds, but also uncooked kale and a bazillion other foods. It’s well worth getting the list Cheers

  5. Capri

    On low carb diets almond meal/flour is used in a lot of recipes. Are the benefits to health offered in that form too?

  6. Jay

    Chop up the almonds and put them in the banana muffins!

  7. Jaffer

    Need help for COPD I am suffering

  8. Shanthini J

    Do we need to soak the almonds over night and remove skin to eat them?

  9. Elizabeth G
    NSW Australia Gosford

    I love almonds. I eat oven roasted almonds and my teeth feel stronger /harder when I do do I know I must be getting bone nutrition too.I used to take Cslcium tablets but feel better now that I’m not!Almonds are more natural and tasty.

    • Jesse

      Good Grief! Where did you get that notion that almonds make your teeth stronger????

    • KMC

      I read roasted almonds don’t have benefits of raw, look it to up. Changes the molecular?

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