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Friday, December 26, 2008

To Lower Cholesterol and Lose Weight, Go Macadamia Nuts

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To Lower Cholesterol and Lose Weight, Go Macadamia Nuts

No food is a better source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) than macadamia nuts. Every 100 g of macadamias contains 60 g of MUFAs. These beneficial fats are known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels without reducing HDL cholesterol levels, and to reduce the body's need for antioxidants. Macadamias also contain a little more than 0.1 percent plant sterols, the compounds added to "smart" margarines used to lower cholesterol.

For these reasons, eating macadamias lowers total cholesterol and LDL and raises HDL, even though they are a high-fat food. Australian researchers Manohar Garg, Robert Blake, and Ron Wills recruited seventeen middle-aged men with total cholesterol levels of 237 to 300 mg/dl. They instructed them to maintain their diet and lifestyle but also to eat 40 to 90 g (1-1/2 to about 3 oz) of macadamias every day, the men who ordinarily consumed the most calories given the most nuts. At the end of four weeks, the men's average total cholesterol had been lowered by 3.0 percent. LDL cholesterol was down 5.3 percent, and HDL cholesterol was up 7.9 percent.

Eating macadamias also slightly lowered concentrations of n-6 fatty acids (which the body uses to make hormones that raise blood pressure) and slightly raised concentrations of n-3 fatty acids (which the body uses to make hormones that lower blood pressure). Triglycerides and homocysteine were unaffected. Despite increasing their total daily food consumption by about 160 calories and increasing the percentage of fat in their diet from 31 percent to 37 percent, the men lost weight, an average of 0.54 kg (a little more than a pound), and their body mass indices (BMIs) also were reduced.

The Australian researchers explained these results by the unusual combination of beneficial nutrients in the nuts. Cholesterol-lowering margarines are made with 1000 times more sterols than occur naturally in macadamias, but the combination of MUFAs, sterols, and other fats in the nuts makes them as beneficial as artificial margarine-with the added benefit of lowering weight.

Read about Diet & High Cholesterol. Robert Rister is the author or co-author of nine books on natural health.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Robert_Rister

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