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Heart Smart: How Almonds Can Improve Our Cardiovascular Health

Over 25 years of research shows that almonds can help support heart health to maintain a healthier heart. Here, you can learn their secrets for yourself…


By Kayleigh Giles

Senior Copywriter at Immediate Media


When it comes to protecting your heart, your diet is one of the most effective places to start. After all, high cholesterol and being overweight are two of the leading causes of heart problems – and both can be managed by what you eat.

But rest assured, being more heart-smart doesn’t have to mean cutting back on delicious food or extreme restrictions. On the contrary, it’s simply about making more mindful decisions that your body will thank you for.

So, want to find out more about the heart-loving changes you can make, and how almonds can help? Then keep reading…

Take it to Heart

Reducing your intake of saturated fats and instead opting for more unsaturated fats is vital for maintaining your cardiovascular health as it can help to lower your cholesterol. UK health guidelines recommend that the average man aged between 19 and 64 years should eat no more than 30g of saturated fat each day – a figure that drops to just 20g per day for women in the same age bracket.

It’s important to understand that there are two types of cholesterol: ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. HDL cholesterol works to remove cholesterol from the blood, while LDL cholesterol can build up over time, subsequently narrowing your arteries and increasing your risk of heart attack.

Introducing almonds into your diet is a heart-smart, quick and easy way to arm yourself with more vitamins and nutrients. This is because almonds contain fatty acid linoleic acid which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels1. Also, along with protein, vitamin E, potassium and magnesium, they’re a high source of fibre and unsaturated fats – the kind of fat your body does appreciate. What’s more, they don’t need cooking, you can simply grab a packet out of the cupboard and start snacking!

The Proof is in the Science

Did you know that a recent systematic review found that eating almonds results in significant reductions in total cholesterol, ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides, while having no significant impact on ‘good’ HDL-cholesterol levels2?

The Healthier Choice

You probably already know that a lack of exercise and a bad diet will increase your chances of being overweight, which raises your risk of heart disease. Whole foods are ideal for weight management as they’re often lower in sugar and saturated fat – healthy changes can be as simple as swapping biscuits or crisps for a handful of almonds.

Indeed, research shows that replacing a high-carbohydrate snack with 42g of almonds can help to reduce belly fat and significantly improve your cholesterol levels, despite being equal in calories3A separate research study has also found that almond consumers in the UK have lower waist circumference and lower BMI- both modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular diseases- and they have better diet quality compared with people who do not consume almonds4.

See what BBC Good Food has to say about almonds.

1. *The beneficial effect is achieved with a daily intake of 10 g of linoleic acid.  Almonds provide 12 g of linoleic acid per 100 g.


2. Musa-Veloso K, Paulionis L, Poon T, Lee HL. The effects of almond consumption on fasting blood lipid levels: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Journal of Nutritional Science 2016; 5(e34):1-15


3. Berryman CE, West SG, Fleming JA, Bordi PL, Kris-Etherton PM. Effects of Daily Almond Consumption on Cardiometabolic Risk and Abdominal Adiposity in Healthy Adults with Elevated LDL-Cholesterol: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Jour of the Amer Heart Assn 2014; 4:e000993, 2015.


4. Dikariyanto, V., Berry, S.E., Francis, L. et al. Whole almond consumption is associated with better diet quality and cardiovascular disease risk factors in the UK adult population: National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS) 2008–2017. Eur J Nutr (2020).