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Dark chocolate and almonds are a heart-healthy better treat and a great addition to any homemade trail mix recipe.

We Heart Dark Chocolate & Almonds

Consider ripping open an Almond Joy

Do you ever fall into the trap of feeling like eating healthy requires you not to eat anything fun? We’re here to tell you that you can eat delicious foods and stay fit. New research suggests that one of the most delightful dessert combos can improve your heart health.

Research studies have pointed to a correlation between heart health, almonds, and dark chocolate for years. However, until now, there has not been a well-controlled diet study focused on the effects of almonds and dark chocolate. So, for this study, researchers gathered a group of middle-aged, overweight participants who agreed to eat the same research-provided foods. Then, researchers followed different health markers and the effects of eating a certain amount of almonds and dark chocolate.

Researchers wanted to know the answers to questions like: “Do almonds and dark chocolate impact heart health by themselves? And, what’s the impact when you combine them?”

But before we give you the results of this research, understanding the role of a few medical terms is essential! LIPIDS are fat molecules in your blood. Too many fat molecules can damage your arteries or blood vessels and create dangerous buildup. Doctors test the number of fat molecules or LIPIDS in our blood to better understand how at risk we are for things like heart attack, stroke, and other heart diseases.

RESULTS:

In this research study, investigators did a detailed analysis of the different lipids and how they responded when participants added a certain amount of dark chocolate and almonds to their diet. One lipid studied was a larger fat particle floating in the bloodstream. The other was a smaller but very dense particle.
When participants ate the dark chocolate alone, researchers did not see any significant changes in their lipid profile (# of lipids in the bloodstream). However, when participants added almonds to their diet, they decreased the number of larger, floating particles in their bloodstream. Similarly, when they included almonds and dark chocolate in their diet, they saw a similar but different result. Participants had fewer of the small dense particles in their bloodstream.

DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS:

Okay, so you may be thinking, “Why are we talking about tiny molecules? Will changing tiny molecules really make a difference in my health?” Our resounding answer is yes, your lipid profile matters! Reducing the number of fatty molecules in your bloodstream can play a major role in your heart health. This study does not mean you should ONLY eat dark chocolate and almonds. But it does mean that pairing this treat with a healthy diet and exercise could impact your heart health.

So, next time you reach for a sweet treat on a relaxing weekend or at that 3:00 p.m. sugar low, consider reaching for almonds and dark chocolate. Your heart will thank you!

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Resources

Effects of Dark Chocolate and Almonds on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Randomized Controlled-Feeding Trial

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