Next time you’re headed to the office vending machine, skip the chips and instead grab yourself a bag of almonds. Your heart will sing.
Besides offering an abundance of fiber, magnesium, polyphenols, and good-for-you monounsaturated fats (MUFAs), almonds may wrestle two known heart disease risks to the ground: insulin resistance and bad-for-you LDL cholesterol.
At least, that’s what happened to people with prediabetes in a recent study. Eating just 2 ounces of almonds a day for 2 weeks helped lower their LDL cholesterol and improve their insulin resistance — two healthy changes that could help halt the progression of prediabetes and protect the heart from the ravages of high cholesterol. But you don’t have to have high blood sugar to gain heart-protective benefits from almonds. Plenty of related findings suggest the nuts also help lower inflammation and LDL cholesterol in folks with normal blood sugar levels.
Trade Bad Fat for Good
But here’s the catch: Many findings suggest you’ll get the most heart benefits from almonds and other nuts if you eat them in lieu of foods high in saturated fat, such as chips, fried fare, high-fat dairy, and red meat.
Nuts are terrific snacks, and you can work them into meals, as well. Whip up one or two of these tantalizing nut recipes from EatingWell:
- A tart and crunchy entree. Almond & Lemon-Crusted Fish with Spinach.
- A nutty, spicy soup. Paprika & Red Pepper Soup with Pistachio Puree.
- An antioxidant-packed side salad. Warm Green Bean Salad with Toasted Walnuts.