Gimme Almonds, Gitme Healthy

Almonds Surpass Peanuts in PopularityThe Almond Board of California is doing a pretty good job of positioning almonds as a superfood, the ticket to good health. Just keep eating them and you’ll keep the Almond Board happy. Almonds are riding a wave of popularity, fueled by their growing, glowing healthy halo. Peanuts are so passé.

Yet another study — this one a randomized controlled trial — has just been published in the British Journal of Nutrition. It shows that daily snacks of almonds (50-100 grams, one-half to one cup per day) improves the profile of fatty acids circulating in a person’s blood and thus reduces their risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), compared to snacks of two to four muffins made with whole wheat. The investigators varied the dose of muffins and almonds and found that more almonds (up to 100 grams per day) led to lower CHD risk.

The Almond Board of California paid for this study, but the quality of the data is good. And it adds to a growing evidence base for the health benefits of incorporating almonds into your diet.

But applying good sense is always a good idea. Almonds are not some sort of chewable heart health medicine. Like other nuts, they fit well with a Mediterranean diet that offers some well-documented health benefits. What matters is not how much of one particular food you eat, but the totality of what you eat.

“All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much.” — George Harrison

Click here to read the study, here to read more in the Examiner, and here to read more in the Washington Post.

Almonds, photograph by Toshiyuki IMAI, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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