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Almonds help lower cholesterol { July 23 2003 }

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Almonds Help Lower Cholesterol

(Ivanhoe Newswire) July 23, 2003 -- If you're looking to lower your cholesterol, eating a handful of almonds might do the trick. New research shows a diet that consists of healthy foods, including almonds, may be as effective in lowering cholesterol as certain drugs.

Researchers from Toronto studied a group of people with high cholesterol levels to determine whether following a specific diet can reduce those levels. The participants were divided into three groups. The first group followed a low-fat diet that included whole-wheat cereals and dairy foods. The second group followed the same diet and also took a 20-milligram cholesterol-lowering pill each day. The third group followed the "Portfolio" eating plan, which includes a diet high in soy, fiber and almonds.

Results of the study show those who followed the Portfolio diet plan lowered their LDL or "bad" cholesterol by more than 30 percent. Researchers say the diet was as effective in managing cholesterol as taking a starting dose of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Previous studies have also shown the Portfolio plan has consistently displayed a "drug-like" effect in improving cholesterol levels.

Patients on the Portfolio diet ate a handful of almonds each day. Researchers say the almonds, which are high in vitamin E, may have been a factor in lowering the participants' C-reactive protein levels. High levels of C-reactive proteins are an indication of inflamed arteries and a risk factor for heart disease.

Researchers say incorporating almonds into one's diet might help to moderately lower cholesterol levels. "The easiest substitutions to try might include a snack of almonds instead of popcorn, pretzels or potato chips," says David Jenkins, M.D., from the University of Toronto.

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SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003;290:531-533


Last updated 7/23/2003.

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