Whole Almonds (with Skins) Provide Most Heart Healthy Benefits

almond-21502_1280New research on almonds adds to the growing evidence that eating whole foods is the best way to promote optimal health.

The flavonoids found in almond skins team up with the vitamin E found in their meat to more than double the antioxidant punch either delivers when administered separately, shows a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Twenty potent antioxidant flavonoids were identified in almond skins in this study, some of which are well known as major contributors to the health benefits derived from other foods, such as the catechins found in green tea, and naringenin, which is found in grapefruit. In some cultures and recipes where almonds are soaked overnight, they lose these wonderful health qualities because of soaking.

Almond skins significantly increases both flavonoids and vitamin E in the body. This could have significant health implications, especially as people age.

Two other studies have recently confirmed the heart-healthy benefits offered by whole almonds:

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that, as part of a diet rich in heart healthy foods such as soy, viscous fiber and plant sterols, almonds can reduce cholesterol levels as much as first generation statin drugs.

And a second study by the same research team, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and found that, as part of the same heart healthy eating plan, almonds can reduce C-reactive protein, a marker of artery-damaging inflammation, as much as statin drugs. Need more reasons to make almonds a staple in your healthy way of eating? Ounce for ounce, almonds are the one of the most nutritionally dense nuts. As well as providing an array of powerful flavonoids, almonds are among the richest sources of vitamin E in the diet.

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