How Much Do Almonds Lower Cholesterol?
Numerous studies report up to a 10% reduction of bad Cholesterol (LDLs) for study particpants consuming almonds versus those who don't. This reduction occurs without harming levels of good cholesterol (HDLs).1-4 The results show you simply have to consume almonds without making any other changes to your diet. However, cutting all animal fats and many other high cholesterol foods will certainly help lower your LDL cholesterol numbers further.
How Many Almonds Should I Eat?
In order to achieve a 10% reduction in LDL cholesterol aim to eat around 73 grams of almonds per day. That is about half a cup of almonds, and around 400 calories from almonds alone. One dose-response study of almonds showed a 5% reduction in LDL cholesterol per 1/4 cup of almonds, and 10% for a 1/2 cup.2 Studies have not been done if you eat a full cup of almonds. However, since almonds are high in calories, it is not recommended that you eat more than a cup a day. Below is a graph representing how almonds might affect your cholesterol numbers. It assumes your current cholesterol level is 200 (mg/dL).
The Bottom Line with Almonds and Cholesterol
With several studies1-4 reporting a 10% decline in LDL cholesterol from eating almonds, it is recommended that you eat almonds as part of your plan to lower your cholesterol numbers. As always, consider buying a home cholesterol test kit so you can keep track of your own numbers, without expensive doctor bills and long waits, to see what foods work for you. Come back and comment on this article if you experience the same 10% reduction from eating almonds! Also, be sure to read the article on cholesterol lowering foods.
- Abbey M., Noakes M., Belling G.B., Nestel, P. Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1994;59:995-9.
- David J.A. Jenkins, MD; Cyril W.C. Kendall, PhD; Augustine Marchie, BSc; Tina L. Parker, RD; Philip W. Connelly, PhD; Wei Qian, PhD; James S. Haight, MD; Dorothea Faulkner, RD; Edward Vidgen, BSc; Karen G. Lapsley, DSc; Gene A. Spiller, PhD Dose Response of Almonds on Coronary Heart Disease Risk Factors: Blood Lipids, Oxidized Low-Density Lipoproteins, Lipoprotein(a), Homocysteine, and Pulmonary Nitric Oxide. The American Heart Assoiciation, 2002;106:1327.
- Gene A. Spiller, PhD, DSc, FACN, David A. J. Jenkins, MD, PhD, FACN, Ottavio Bosello, MD, Joan E. Gates, RD, MPH, Liz N. Cragen, RD and Bonnie Bruce, DrPH, RD, FACN Nuts and Plasma Lipids: An Almond-Based Diet Lowers LDL-C while Preserving HDL-C. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 17, No. 3, 285-290 (1998).
- David JA Jenkins, Cyril WC Kendall, Augustine Marchie, Dorothea A Faulkner, Julia MW Wong, Russell de Souza, Azadeh Emam, Tina L Parker, Edward Vidgen, Elke A Trautwein, Karen G Lapsley, Robert G Josse, Lawrence A Leiter, William Singer and Philip W Connelly Direct comparison of a dietary portfolio of cholesterol-lowering foods with a statin in hypercholesterolemic participants. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, February 2005, vol. 81, no. 2, 380-387.