Go nuts for almonds

Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from the damage caused by free radicals. A new study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association confirms that eating almonds significantly increases vitamin E levels and lowers cholesterol levels. Researchers compared the effects on healthy men and women of consuming three different diets; a control diet with no almonds, a low-almond diet and a high-almond diet. The low-almond and high-almond diets included one to two handfuls of almonds a day respectively, representing 10 and 20 per cent of the total calorie intake. Changes in vitamin E and cholesterol levels were measured after each diet had been followed for four weeks. The researchers found that when people ate 10 per cent of their calories from almonds, they increased their vitamin E levels by 13.7 per cent. Participants consuming 20 percent of their calories from almonds increased their vitamin E levels by 18.7 per cent. In addition participants consuming the high-almond diet reduced their total cholesterol levels by five per cent and lowered their LDL (or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels by nearly seven per cent. So eating a handful of almonds a day could be great way to obtain vitamin E while keeping down your cholesterol.

Jambazian PR, Haddad E, Rajaram S, Tanzman J, Sabate J. 2005. Almonds in the diet simultaneously improve plasma alpha-tocopherol concentrations and reduce plasma lipids. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 105 (3) 449-54.