In a newly published study*, snacking on almonds improved key indicator of vascular health known as the endothelial function and therefore lowered the participants’ chance of experiencing a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack. As a bonus, consuming almonds (instead of a less nutrient dense snack) lowered “bad” LDL-cholesterol. 

A link to the study can be found here

*The study was funded by the Almond Board of California.

More information about the study below:

In this a 6-week trial at Kings College in London, 107 British adults between the ages of 30 and 70, all with above average cardiovascular disease risk, consumed almonds or a calorie-matched control snack providing 20 percent of each participants’ estimated daily energy needs. The research team then compared cardiometabolic health markers between the two groups. They found that the almond group, compared to the control group, experienced a 4% unit increase in endothelium-dependent vasodilation. Endothelial function—assessed by measuring flow-mediated dilation (FMD)—is a key factor in the development and progression of atherosclerosis. Improved FMD means that arteries can dilate more easily in response to increased blood flow, which is a strong indicator of cardiovascular health. 

Based on existing data on risk of cardiovascular disease and using the 4 percent unit increase as a benchmark, the researchers predicted that replacing typical snacks with almonds in the long term would result in a 30 percent reduction in the adjusted relative risk of a cardiovascular event. Adjusted relative risk is the probability of an event happening to a person compared to another person who does not take a step in disease prevention, such as making a diet change. 

In addition to these novel FMD findings, the study showed that LDL-cholesterol levels decreased in the almond group relative to the control group.  There was no difference between the two groups in liver fat and several other measures (triglycerides, HDL-cholesterol, glucose, insulin and others).