New research suggests Almonds help prevent heart attacks and may help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Almonds have been with us since 4,000 BC. The trees are native to the Middle East and South Asia. Were cultivated in southern Europe and have made their way to the U.S. Almonds have been revered by cultures for years and research has proven why by unraveling a long list of health benefits including;
- Lowering LDL cholesterol
- Helps prevent heart attacks
- Supports Brain Health
- Improves skin health
- Helps control blood sugar
- Helps us maintain ideal weight
- Improves digestion and absorption
- Fights inflammation and cancer
- Improves bone and dental health
New research is zeroing in on Almonds phytosterols and their role in our health adding to the long list of health benefits from Almonds.
So what is a phytosterol? The word “phyto” means plant, of course. But what does “sterol” mean? Sterols are a family of molecules with a specific shape and structure. Phytosterols are sterols found in plants. The sterols you find in animals are called zoosterols and the best-known of these is cholesterol. And here’s where the link between phytosterols and heart disease comes into play.
Phytosterols and cholesterol are similar enough in structure that they are absorbed through the same mechanisms—and only so many molecules are going to get through the gate. When your diet is high in phytosterols, you absorb less cholesterol. This can lead to lower LDL or (“bad”) cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Even better, research suggests that phytosterols may also help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. One phytosterol in particular, called stigmasterol, appears to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid protein that builds up in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s. The research is still preliminary; we have to see if it works as well in people as it does in animals. But if stigmasterol can help protect our brains as well as our hearts, that will be a welcome bonus.