A new research has found how a handful of almonds daily may boost the levels of good cholesterol in the body while simultaneously improving the way it functions.
The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University in the US compared the levels and function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol in people who ate almonds every day, to the HDL levels and function of the same group of people when they ate a muffin instead.
Almonds work by gathering cholesterol from tissues, like the arteries, and helping transport it out of the body.
During the study researchers fed 48 men and women with elevated LDL cholesterol who participated in two six-week diet periods.
In both, their diets were identical except for the daily snack. On the almond diet, participants received 43 grammes - about a handful - of almonds a day. During the control period, they received a banana muffin instead.
At the end of each diet period, the researchers measured the levels and function of each participant's HDL cholesterol.
They then compared the results to the participants' baseline measurements taken at the beginning of the study.
The researchers found that compared to the control diet, the almond diet increased a-1 HDL - when the particles are at their largest size and most mature stage - by 19 per cent.
Additionally, the almond diet improved HDL function by 6.4 percent, in participants of normal weight.