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Scientific Review Shows Almonds Help Maintain and Even Improve HDL, while Lowering LDL

Almond Board
The Simple Nutritional Strategy of Including Almonds in the Diet May Help Improve Heart Disease Risk Factors for Indian Adults


New Delhi, India (April 25, 2018) – A new review by a panel of Indian experts in the field of nutrition and cardiovasculardisease (CVD) , published in the journal Nutrients, suggests that daily inclusion of almonds as part of a healthy diet – long an Indian dietary tradition - may help reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease among Indians. Dyslipidemia is a condition marked by high LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels and low HDL cholesterol levels. The review was funded by the Almond Board of California.

Cardiovascular diseases account for 28 percent of  all deaths in India, more than any other cause. Due to their genetic makeup Southeast Asians especially Indians have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, characterized by elevated levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and lower levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol. Lack of physical activity, poor dietary habits such as diets rich in sugar, salt and saturated fats are responsible for several conditions such as abdominal obesity and  insulin resistance which are now more common among Indians. Coupled with these lifestyle factors and conditions, genetic propensity makes Indians much more prone to heart disease than their Caucasian counterparts. It is a concern not for only those living in India, but also for Indians who live in other countries around the globe.

“Daily consumption of ~45 grams of almonds can help reduce dyslipidemia, one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease in the Indian population. Typically, dietary strategies to reduce harmful LDL-cholesterol, such as decreasing saturated fat, also reduce beneficial HDL cholesterol, but that is not the case with almonds. A recent systematic review that examined the breadth of studies on almonds and blood lipid levels showed that eating almonds results in significant reductions in total cholesterol and harmful LDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while having no impact on beneficial HDL-cholesterol levels,” said lead author, Dr. Soumik Kalita.

Among others, the review paper is co-authored by Dr. B. Sesikeran and Dr. Kamala Krishnaswamy, both of whom have served as former directors of the National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad. Dr Shweta Khandelwal, a trained public health nutritionist at the Public Health Foundation of India, Dr. Jagmeet Madan, Principal & professor on food, nutrition & dietrics at the Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Science, SNDT Unversity and Dr. Himanshu Pandya, professor of medicine and medical education at the Pramukhswami Medical College, Gujarat form the rest of the esteemed author panel on the review paper.

Numerous studies worldwide, have shown that almonds have the potential to help improve blood cholesterol levels. The health benefits of almonds are thought to be due to their fat profile (predominantly mono- and poly-unsaturated fats i.e. good fats), antioxidant vitamin E, dietary fiber, and other important nutrients.

“To put it into perspective, cholesterol is not all bad. HDL, infact, has protective properties and reduces the risk of heart disease. A large multicenter study done in India estimated that nearly 72% of Indians have low HDL-C levels. According to the Indian Heart Associaton, every 10-point increase in HDL-C may reduce the risk of heart disease by half. Many clinical studies, including those in the review and several among Indian populations specifically, have shown the role of almonds in lowering LDL-cholesterol levels.  Studies have also looked at the effect of almonds on beneficial HDL cholesterol, with results showing that consumption of almonds can help maintain or even increase levels.” said Dr. Kalita.

Adding whole almonds to the diet is a practical nutritional strategy that can help manage dyslipidemia, and in turn, improve the cardiovascular health of Indians.

In addition to other nutrition studies, the review also included a study conducted in India that showed the inclusion of almonds in daily diets contributed towards reduced abdominal fat which is known to be a major factor in metabolic syndrome and ischemic heart disease (IHD).

About the Almond Board of California

Almond Board of California in India
India has a rich and long standing tradition of almond consumption. The Almond Board of California celebrates this tradition and looks at the county as a market of great potential and importance. This is a reason for the board to continue to invest resources to run and support an active marketing, trade and market access programme in the country.

By the means of this programme, the board aims to build awareness around the multiple nutritional benefits of consuming almonds every day post validating them through learnings obtained from various nutrition researches.

To achieve this and as a part of the India programme, Almond Board of California engages with consumers, health care professionals, importers, food companies, government and regulatory agencies within the country.