I am wrinting a new article on how to lower ldl levels and came across this wonderful article by Barbara Minton of Natuaral News. Now she refers to the portfolio eating plan in her article and I have included that also for your research and enjoyment. I find this way of eating to be wonderful. Barbara goes into detail on how to soak the natural almonds to help with your digestion. You will need to eat 23 almonds a day, yummy.
First you must soak them and then dry them at a very low heat. The entire article is quite extensive and quite worth the read. The eating plan recommends soya protein which I disagree with, so opt for a protein other than this one.
by Barbara L. Minton
See all articles by this author
Email this author
(NaturalNews) If you want to steer clear of the devastating side effects of statin drugs and still get your cholesterol numbers looking good, eating almonds may be just the right choice. Studies have shown that eating a nutritious diet that includes almonds sends LDL numbers plummeting. And there's more. Eating almonds provides super strength protection against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and even weight gain and obesity.
Almonds are stars of cholesterol research
In a four week study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 46 healthy human subjects were divided into three groups. The control group ate a low saturated fat diet based on milled whole-wheat cereals and low-fat dairy foods. The second group ate the same diet and also took the statin drug lovastatin. The third group ate a diet high in almonds plus plant sterols, non-meat protein and fiber. LDL cholesterol decreased by 8 percent in the control group, 30 percent in the statin group, and 28 percent in the almond group.
Another study, published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that heart disease risk correlates not only with cholesterol levels, but also with inflammation of blood vessels. Following a diet that includes almonds effectively lowers not only LDL cholesterol levels but also C-reactive protein levels, a key marker of inflammation. Inflammation is hard on the heart because it increases the development of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and causes the heart to have to pump faster and harder to get its job done.
In this study, 34 people followed a dietary plan, called the Portfolio Eating Plan, which included almonds. In this group, C-reactive protein levels fell 24 percent from baseline, an amount similar to the reduction achieved by taking a statin drug, only without the life draining side effects of taking the drug.
Another study examining this same group and reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when directly compared to first-generation statin drugs, the Portfolio Eating Plan diet with its emphasis on almonds is just as effective in lowering LDL cholesterol below the recommended range for heart disease prevention.
Five large human epidemiological studies, including the Nurses Health Study, all found that nut consumption is linked to lower risk for heart disease. Researchers studying data from the Nurses study found that substituting nuts for an equivalent amount of carbohydrate in an average diet resulted in a 30 percent reduction in heart disease risk. They found a 45 percent reduction when fat from nuts was substituted for saturated fats.
Almonds protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes
Almond's ability to reduce heart disease risk may also be due to the huge amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E found in these nuts, and the LDL lowering effect of the monounsaturated fats they contain. When almonds are substituted for more traditional fats in human feeding trials, LDL cholesterol is reduced from 8 to 12 percent.
A quarter cup of almonds contains 99 mg of magnesium and 257 mg of potassium. Magnesium is a natural channel blocker. When magnesium levels are high, veins and arteries relax, lessening resistance and allowing increased flow of oxygen and nutrient rich blood. Potassium is involved in nerve transmission and contraction of all muscles including the heart. It is another mineral essential for maintaining normal blood pressure and heart function. Almonds help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent free radical producing insulin spikes.
The Journal of Nutrition reports a study of 15 healthy people who ate 5 meals with comparable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Two meals consisted of bread only. Three meals consisted of almonds, bread, parboiled rice, and instant mashed potatoes. Blood samples taken after each meal showed levels of blood sugar and insulin were lower following the almond meal, and levels of protective antioxidants increased. This study demonstrates the powerful anti-aging effect of almonds as well as their ability to ward off diabetes.
The more almonds eaten as part of a meal, the lower will be the glycemic index of that meal, and the smaller the rise in blood sugar levels produced by that meal. The benefit of eating almonds is dose dependent.
Healthy fats in almonds aid in weight loss
Nuts contain lots of fat, and many people still operate under the idea that fat makes you fat, so nuts are often sunned. However, review of the data from the Nurses' Health Study shows that frequent nut eaters are thinner on average than those who almost never consume nuts.
One reason nuts help with weight loss is their nutrient density. A body that is well nourished no longer craves food. The traditional American diet is so depleted of the nutrients needed by the body that the body continues to send hunger signals. In response to these signals, more nutrient deficient food is eaten and more hunger signals are sent. It is a vicious circle that leads to steady weight gain as the years go by. Eating nutrient rich almonds and other nuts breaks this vicious circle allowing for the feelings of fullness and satiety to set in.
In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, researchers found that adding almonds to a low calorie diet can help overweight individuals drop pounds more effectively than a low calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates. Of 65 overweight participants, those that ate the almond enriched low calorie diet consumed 39% of their calories in the form of fat. Participants that ate the low calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates consumed only 18% of their calories from fat. Both diets supplied the same number of calories and equivalent amounts of protein.
After six months, those on the almond added diet had greater reductions in weight, body fat, total body water, and systolic blood pressure. Those eating almonds had a 62 percent greater reduction in body mass index score, 50 percent greater reduction in waist circumference, and 56 percent greater reduction in body fat compared to those on the low calorie complex carbohydrate diet. Among those with diabetes, medication reductions were sustained or further reduced in 96% of those on the almond added diet.
A study reported in an WHFood's article on almonds, involving 8865 adults found that those who ate nuts at least two times per week were 31% less likely to gain weight than were those who never or seldom at them.
The British Journal of Nutrition reports a study of 43 men and 38 women whose normal eating patterns were observed for 6 months. They were then told to eat about 2 ounces or one-quarter cup of almonds daily with no other instructions. They were then followed for another 6 months at the end of which researchers found their intake of monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, fiber, vegetable protein, vitamin E, copper and magnesium significantly increased. Their intake of trans fatty acids, animal protein, sodium, cholesterol and sugars significantly decreased.
Almonds are a good source of cancer preventing laetrile
The 1990's Adventist Health Study of a large population of California Seven Day Adventists found that eating nuts was one of the four top factors for extending longevity. These beneficial effects were found for men, women, vegetarians, meat-eaters, fatter, people, thinner people, the old, the young, and those who exercised and those who did not.
One of the likely reasons behind this finding is the high levels of laetrile contained in almonds. Laetrile, otherwise known as vitamin B-17, is a cancer cure that corruption has prevented from reaching the U.S. market. Commercial preparations of laetrile are obtained from the kernels of apricots, peaches and almonds. Its active ingredient, amygdaline, comes from the Greek word for almond. Laetrile has persisted as a known cancer fighter since the 2nd century A.D.
Almonds have prebiotic properties
Recently published work by the Institute of Food Research has identified potential prebiotic properties of almonds that could help improve digestive health by encouraging gut bacteria to flourish. A healthy and abundant population of friendly bacteria in the gut form part of the body's defense against harmful bacteria and are part of the body's immune system. Prebiotics are non-digestible parts of foods that are able to get through the upper part of the intestine without being digested or absorbed.
The California Almond Board sponsored a study to subject almonds to the same conditions experienced in the stomach and small intestine. They then added the digested almonds in vitro to mimic the bacterial fermentation in the large intestine and monitored its effect on the population of intestinal bacteria. The study, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, found that finely ground almonds significantly increased the levels of beneficial bacteria. This effect was not seen when the fat content was removed from the almond preparation, suggesting that the beneficial bacteria used the almond lipids for growth, thus making it the basis of the prebiotic effect of almonds.
Almonds have even more nutrients and benefits
Almonds are high in trace minerals that are essential cofactors for production of superoxide dismutase (SOD), one of the body's endogenous antioxidants. SOD works in the mitochondria, the cellular furnace, to keep down free radicals that interfere with cellular energy production. Almonds are also good sources of the B vitamins necessary for recycling of another endogenous antioxidant, glutathione.
Studies have shown that eating nuts can lower the risk of developing gallstones by 25 percent. It helps prevent dementia, advanced macular degeneration, and stroke.
Getting maximum nutrition from almonds
Almonds right off the store shelf are better than no almonds, but they can be difficult to digest and eating too many may stress your pancreas. Almonds like all nuts contain phytate, nature's way of making sure the nut survives the winter to sprout in the spring. To gain maximum nutrition and digestibility from almonds, it's best to soak them before they are eaten. Almonds are one of only a few nuts that will actually sprout when soaked. Soaking neutralizes the phytate and allows the nutrients from the nut to be released.
Start with fresh, completely unprocessed almonds and soak them in water with a pinch of sea salt for about 12 hours. Then dry them at a temperature that does not exceed 105 degrees F. Be sure they are completely dried before putting them away. There are several good sources online for buying nuts suitable for sprouting.
Go nuts with almonds
Almonds make a great snack for adults and kids. Almond butter makes a delicious breakfast spread on warm toast, or a nourishing lunchbox centerpiece stuffed into celery ribs. Kids love almond butter and fruit sandwiches. Sprouted almonds are crispy and crunchy, making them a super addition to salads, casseroles, pasta, vegetables, and meats. Add cinnamon or other herbs and spices to sprouted almonds to turn up their nutritional level even higher. Add almonds to Chinese dishes and rice. Coat them with honey, or shoyu and roll in herbs, spices or raw cacao. Use your imagination.
Press Release, Almond Board of California.
Diet May Lower Cholesterol As Much As Statins, Medscape.
Mary Larado, The Laetrile Saga, Part 1, naturalnews.com.
Prebiotic Potential of Almonds, ScienceDaily.
About the author
Barbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
Portfolio Eating Plan
To address this, Dr David Jenkins and his team of researchers at the University of Toronto undertook to assess the combined effect of eating four different types of healthy plant-based foods on blood lipids in hyperlipidaemic subjects who were already consuming a low-saturated fat, low cholesterol diet before starting the study. The conclusion of their study was that a “portfolio” approach had the following effects after one month:
• The diet lowered serum cholesterol levels as effectively as a low dose statin
• Blood sugars were regulated because of the high fibre content of the foods
• The level of C-reactive protein, which is linked to the inflammation of arteries, was reduced.
Consequently these intriguing results gave birth to the “Portfolio Diet”.
Following the Portfolio Eating Plan
What to eat as part of a 2000 kcal diet:
ALMONDS: 30 g (about 23 almonds) daily. They are a good source of vegetable protein, fibre, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Almonds may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels, according to clinical trials.
These could be eaten as snacks between meals, sprinkled on cereal, yoghurt or salad.
SOYA PROTEIN: 50g a day seemed to be effective in reducing cholesterol levels in clinical studies. Soya is a good source of vegetable protein, low in saturated fat and high in fibre. Soya protein may help prevent heart disease. It may also decrease cholesterol production in the liver and increase the rate at which the liver removes LDL-cholesterol from the blood.
Soya products include soya milk, soya mince, soyabeans, soya yoghurt, soya burgers, tofu and tempeh.
Soya milk can be substituted wherever you use milk, replace some of your meat dishes with soya beans/mince/burger/tofu etc.
SOLUBLE FIBRE: 20g daily. Even eating less than one ounce of soluble fibre per day seemed to have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. It works to reduce total blood cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) by binding with some of the fat in the diet.
It is found in natural foods such as oats/oatmeal/oat bran, barley, psyllium, beans, pulses and fruits.
Aim to eat two good portions daily such as porridge oats for breakfast and beans in your salads/casseroles/soups etc.
PLANT STEROLS: 2g daily. They are naturally found in plant foods such as soyabean, corn, squash, vegetable oils and grains. They are also added to spreads, juices, yoghurts and milk. For maximum effect, functional foods containing plant stanols and sterols should be eaten with other foods.
They work by blocking cholesterol absorption in the gut.
The Portfolio Eating Plan adheres to the American Heart Association recommendations for less than 7% of calories coming from saturated fat and less than 200mg cholesterol.
A dietary approach should not be substituted for but should be taken as an adjunct to doctor-prescribed statins. Statins have been proven to reduce the risk of heart attacks and deaths, whereas the Portfolio approach, while proven to lower LDL-cholesterol, has not been put to that test as yet.
Baldeesh Rai, Dietitian, H·E∙A∙R∙T UK
© Copyright H·E·A·R·T UK Ltd