How Much Do Almonds Lower Cholesterol?

Almonds are a MyFoodData Superfood, a good source of vitamin E and calcium, and also have the potential to lower your 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.

What Percent of Americans Eat Their Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruit and Vegetable consumption in the United States is surprisingly low, and only getting lower. No State or territory in the U.S. has over 50% of the population consuming fruit more than twice a day, and vegetables 3 times a day.

Here are the statistics from 2000 to 2009.

Percent of U.S. Population Eating 2 or More Fruits per Day34.4%32.5%
Percent of U.S. Population Eating 3 or More Vegetables per Day26.7%26.3% State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults United States, 2000-2009

Here are the breakouts by state: State-Specific Trends in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults ? United States, 2000?2009

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) aims to have at least 75% of the U.S. population consuming two or more portions of fruits daily. And 50% consuming 3 or more servings of vegetables. This is of course, a great goal. Even if you are already meeting these targets there is nothing wrong with aiming to consume 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Browse the list of fruits and vegetables at MyFoodData, or browse The Fruit and Vegetable Mosaic.

How Much Does Green Tea Lower My Cholesterol?

A hot cup of green tea imparts a grassy flavor, gives your body a warm feeling, relaxes you, provides anti-oxidants to prevent damage from free radicals, and now, can even lower your cholesterol.

Research shows that drinking up to 10 cups of green tea a day has a significant impact on your blood cholesterol levels.1 Green tea lowers your bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol) while leaving your good cholesterol (HDL) untouched. But by how much will green tea lower your cholesterol? How much protection does green tea offer from heart disease?

For every glass of green tea you drink you can expect a reduction of 0.015 milli-mols per liter (mmol/L), or 0.58 milli-grams per deciliter (mg/dL).2 That can be a little hard to grasp, so here is a graph to represent green tea's effect on your blood cholesterol levels:

This chart looks pretty impressive, however, looking at the bigger picture, green tea actually just makes a dent in our cholesterol numbers, and is in no way "a magic bullet". This graph shows the difference green tea makes in relation to risky cholesterol ranges set by the American Heart Association.3

The Bottom Line with Green Tea and Cholesterol

While green tea can help lower your cholesterol, it will not so greatly affect your numbers as to quickly pull you out of the high risk zones. Different foods will have a different affect on everyone. The best way to test if green tea works for you is to buy a cholesterol test kit, then test your cholesterol numbers before and after 1 month of drinking green tea every day.

If you are looking to lower your cholesterol, you should drink green tea in combination with avoiding high cholesterol foods, and also, adopting some form of daily exercise. For further reading see the article on foods which lower cholesterol.

Understanding How Your Immune System Works (A Cartoon Story)

Ever wonder how your immune system works and how to improve its functioning? Here is a basic outline told in cartoon superhero style.

The immune centers of your body are located in the tonsils, thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

From these centers your immune cells circulate around your body, looking for the "bad guys", foreign bodies, or antigens which can appear in the form of viruses, bacteria, and even pollen.

When a disease is found by your immune cells their response depends both on the disease and on the particular immune cell.

Phagocytes (a type of white blood cell) actually engulf, absorb, or eat pathogens. Phagocytes also consume "dead cells" in our body, and play an important roll in allowing wounds to heal.

Lymphocytes attack antigens by creating antibodies, or toxic granules.

Lymphocytes also destroy cells which have been infected by a virus, and tag antigens to be attacked later.

After defeating a particular disease lymphocytes will keep a profile and remember the disease throughout your life. Should it appear again, they will quickly eliminate it.

This memory effect of immune cells led to the idea of a vaccine: weakened antigens which could be injected into your body.

Your immune system can then "practice" on this weakened form of a disease.

The next time a disease enters your body, your immune system draws upon its memory to quickly defeat it.

Common vaccines include the measles, mumps, chicken pox, and, Tetanus.

What foods boost my immune system?