The Mediterranean diet is rich in monounsaturated fats, one type of healthy fat. Nuts, particularly almonds, are rich in these monounsaturated fats. Research shows that just one serving (1 ounce) of nuts is associated with lower total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.
Almonds contain a lot of dietary fiber, in fact the highest amount of dietary fiber of all the tree nuts. High fiber diets are associated with lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Almonds contain powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidation, a precursor to plaque buildup in our arteries. These antioxidants (flavonoids and vitamin E) may be the key to almonds’ ability to protect LDL cholesterol and prevent death from cardiovascular disease.
Almonds relax our arteries so they open up, which lowers our blood pressure. Almonds also reduce the ability of our blood to clot, therefore reducing the risk of a heart attack.
Almonds are calorie dense, so they should be consumed in moderation. No more than one to two ounces a day. An ounce is about a handful. Click here to read this post for ideas on how to use almonds.
Finally it is best to store almonds in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This is because they are high in fat, so they are prone to spoilage.