Heart Health

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Heart Health

Heart health

Taking Health to Heart

  • Of all the things to love about almonds, this one should really get your heart pumping: just a handful (~30 grams) of almonds a day provides several key nutrients that can help support a healthy heart. And that's good news for just about everyone as cardiovascular disease holds its spot as the leading cause of death among men and women in Europe.
  • Almonds provide several key nutrients, including oleic acid1 (a “good” monounsaturated fat), the essential fatty acid linoleic acid2, and plant sterols/stanols3 which help maintain healthy blood cholesterol levels. 
  • Almonds are a natural source of thiamine, which contributes to the proper function of the heart4.
  • Almonds are naturally sodium-free. Reducing the consumption of sodium contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.
  • Nearly two decades of research support the role of almonds in helping to maintain a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol levels. You can read all about the studies here.
 

1) Replacing saturated fats in the diet with unsaturated fats contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Oleic acid is an unsaturated fat.  Given that almonds are high in unsaturated fat, almonds qualify for the aforementioned claim.  Oleic acid claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.

2) The beneficial effects of linoleic acid (LA) on blood cholesterol levels are attained with a daily intake of 10 g of LA. A handful of almonds (approximately 30 g) contains 3.6 g of LA. Almonds provide 12 g of LA per 100 g. Given that almonds provide more than 1.5 g of LA per 100 g and per 100 kcal, almonds qualify for the claim related to linoleic acid and the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels. Linoleic acid claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD.

3) The beneficial effects of plant sterols/stanols on blood cholesterol levels are obtained with a daily intake of at least 0.8 g of plant sterols/stanols.  A handful of almonds (approximately 30 g) contains 40 mg of beta-sitosterol. Almonds provide 132 mg of beta-sitosterol per 100 g. The conditions of use for the claim are not specified in the EU Register on nutrition and health claims.  Almonds are assumed to qualify for the claim related to plant sterols/stanols and the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels, given that 132 mg per 100 g serving exceeds 15% of 800 mg per 100 g serving (i.e., 120 mg). Plant sterols/stanols claim: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001:0040:en:PD..
 
4) Commission Regulation EU) No 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 establishing a list of permitted health claims made on foods, other than those referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development and health.  Available at:  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2012:136:0001...