High Cholesterol: Dark Chocolate and Almonds Can Lower ‘Bad’ Cholesterol in ‘Weeks’

Because high cholesterol can increase your risk of serious health problems ranging from heart disease to stroke, keeping your levels in check is critical. While eating chocolate to reduce the greasy substance may sound too good to be true, a study suggests it just might work.

Characterized by its rich taste, dark chocolate offers great taste and promising health effects.

Combining this treat with some almonds can even help lower your cholesterol levels within four weeks.

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association strongly advocates enjoying this snack.

The crunchy nuts combined with the rich chocolate type were able to significantly lower LDL cholesterol, otherwise known as ‘bad’.

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While cholesterol isn’t all harmful, the type that’s labeled bad can clog your arteries and increase your risk of cardiovascular problems.

Looking at 48 overweight and obese individuals between the ages of 30 and 70, the researchers looked for the effects of dark chocolate, cocoa and almonds on markers of coronary heart disease risk.

During the first month of the trial, the participants did not eat any of the foods in the study.

Over the next four weeks, they enjoyed just 42.5 grams of almonds daily.

The study’s lead author, Penny Kris-Etherton, said: “It’s important to put this into context.

“The message is not that people should eat a lot of chocolate and almonds to lower their LDL.

“People are allowed to have about 270 discretionary calories per day, and when foods such as almonds, dark chocolate, and cocoa are consumed together as discretionary foods, they provide health benefits as opposed to other discretionary foods such as frosted donuts.”

If you’re tempted to ditch the almonds and reach for chocolate alone, Kris-Etherton warned against this choice.

The study found that eating dark chocolate and cocoa alone did not appear to have a major effect on heart health.

“Chocolate doesn’t raise cholesterol, but it doesn’t lower cholesterol either,” she added.

So combining the sweet treat with almonds is crucial if you want to break your levels.

However, cocoa beans appear to be potent as Heart UK explains that they contain plant chemicals called flavanols, which are types of antioxidants.

Research on these goodies, especially those called epicatechin, has linked flavanols to heart health benefits, such as making your arteries more elastic and lowering your blood pressure.

Unfortunately, the best way to get enough of flavanols is not through cocoa, as plant foods such as berries and nuts only contain enough.

High Cholesterol: Dark Chocolate and Almonds Can Lower ‘Bad’ Cholesterol in ‘Weeks’

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