Previous research has associated consumption of nuts with a reduced risk of heart disease. Although it is known that nut consumption can lower serum cholesterol, it has been hypothesized that nut consumption can have additional beneficial effects on health. In order to investigate this hypothesis, researchers recruited older men and women (mean age 64 years) with hyperlipemia (elevated levels of lipid in the bloodstream) who were otherwise healthy, to participate in an investigation in which they were asked to consume 73 grams of almonds (~ 2/3 cup), a whole wheat muffin, or 37 grams of almonds (~1/3 cup) each for a 4 week period (1). Body weight, blood, and blood pressure measurements were taken at baseline, midway (2 weeks), and at the end (4 weeks) of each treatment phase. After four weeks of consuming 73 grams of almonds daily, study participants had lower levels of two measures of lipid oxidation (malondialdehyde and urinary isoprostanes), compared to when they consumed the muffin. In the body, oxidized lipids can lead to cardiovascular disease. The findings from this investigation support current recommendations to consume small amounts of nuts as part of a heart healthy diet.
Jenkins, DJA, Kendall, CWC, Marchie, A, Josse, AR, Nguyen, TH, Faulkner, DA, Lapsley, KG, and Blumberg, J. Almonds reduce biomarkers of lipid peroxidation in older hyperlipidemic subjects. Journal of Nutrition. 138: 908-913, 2008.