Almonds are more than just a great snack food. They contain unsaturated fatty acids and fiber, both good for lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol; omega-3 fatty acids, known to prevent unstable heart rhythms; and vitamin E, which keeps your arteries clear of dangerous plaque. There's even good news for people who have already had a heart attack. One study (from Harvard's School of Public Health) found that eating nuts at least twice a week reduced the risk of having a second heart attack by 25 percent.
Go Nutty, Not Completely Unhinged
Though the fat in almonds is the healthy kind, they still contain a lot of calories. The Food and Drug Administration suggests you eat a handful—about an ounce—a day of nuts to reduce your risk of heart disease. Keep in mind that just eating almonds without reducing saturated fats found in other foods (namely dairy and meat) won't help much. And steer clear of those that are covered in chocolate, salt or sugar.
What Nuts Are Best?
Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are the most heart healthy.