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Munching almonds can reduce belly fat!

January 25, 2015 07:39 AM
Almonds

Want to lose weight? Then go for almonds instead of muffin and other high-carb snacks.

According to Pennsylvania State researchers, including almonds in your daily diet can help reduce belly fat, which is a well-established heart disease risk factor. Researchers found that eating 1.5 ounces (42 gram) of almonds daily as part of an overall healthy diet reduced belly fat and improved a number of heart disease risk factors.

Participants ate cholesterol-lowering diets that were identical except that one group was given a daily snack of 42 gram of whole natural almonds, while the other group was given a banana muffin that provided the same number of calories. The results showed the diet containing the almond snack, compared to the muffin snack, decreased abdominal fat, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol non-HDL-cholesterol and other blood fats. 

“Our research found that substituting almonds for a high-carbohydrate snack improved numerous heart health risk factors, including the new finding that eating almonds reduced belly fat,” said lead researcher of the study Claire Berryman from Pennsylvania State University. “Choosing almonds as a snack may be a simple way to help fight the onset of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases,” Berryman added.

The twelve-week, randomised, controlled clinical study was conducted in 52 overweight, middle-aged adults who had high total and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) or “bad” cholesterol but were otherwise healthy. Participants ate cholesterol-lowering diets that were identical except that one group was given a daily snack of 42 gram of whole natural almonds, while the other group was given a banana muffin that provided the same number of calories. The results showed the diet containing the almond snack, compared to the muffin snack, decreased abdominal fat, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol non-HDL-cholesterol and other blood fats. In addition, the diet with the muffin snack reduced HDL (good) cholesterol more than the almond diet. The study appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Another study suggests that just a cup of blueberries every day could help reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness, both of which are associated with heart disease.

“Our findings suggest that regular consumption of blueberries could potentially delay the progression of pre-hypertension to hypertension, therefore reducing cardiovascular disease risk,” said Sarah Johnson from Florida State University. Over an eight-week period, 48 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned to receive either 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder the equivalent to one cup of fresh blueberries or 22 grams of a placebo powder.

Participants receiving the blueberry powder on average had a five percent decrease in systolic blood pressure, which is the top number in the blood pressure reading. They also saw a 6.3 percent reduction in diastolic blood pressure, or the bottom number measuring the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats. Additionally, participants in the blueberry-treated group had an average reduction of 6.5 percent in arterial stiffness. They also found that nitric oxide, a blood biomarker known to be involved in the widening of blood vessels, increased by 68.5 percent.
This rise in nitric oxide helps explain the reductions in blood pressure. “Our findings suggest that the addition of a single food, blueberries, to the diet may mitigate the negative cardiovascular effects that often occur as a result of menopause,” Johnson said. The study appeared in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

A new study has revealed that women who use a certain type of injectable birth control are at a higher risk of becoming infected with HIV than those who take the pill. A large meta-analysis of 12 studies in sub-Saharan Africa showed that the use of the contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), increases the risk of acquiring HIV by moderately 40% compared with women using non-hormonal methods and those not practicing birth control.

The increased risk was slightly lower, 31 percent, among women in the general population than those already at higher HIV risk. The contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, is sold under the brand name Depo-Provera, and it is administered as a shot every three months.

In addition to Depo-Provera, the studies also examined other commonly prescribed forms of hormonal contraception, such as the injectable norethisterone oenanthate (sold as NET-EN), combined oral contraceptives and progestin-only pills. 

 

 

 

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