Taylor A. Behl1, Holly E. Clarke2, Neda S. Akhavan2, Saiful Singar2, Bahram H. Arjmandi2, Robert C. Hickner, FACSM2, David W. Eccles2, Jeong-Su Kim, FACSM2, Lynn B. Panton, FACSM2. 1Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL. 2Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

BACKGROUND: Arterial stiffening and endothelial dysfunction are two primary age-related vascular changes associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk. These changes partly result from increased oxidative stress, which is likely inevitable with aging; however, other age-related health problems (e.g., poor sleep) can exacerbate vascular health decline. Almonds are rich in antioxidant nutrients that may combat vascular health decline. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of almond consumption on vascular health and sleep. METHODS: Ten active (11,992±3,483 steps/day), older adults (56±4yrs) who were overweight or obese (body mass index 27.7±2.5 kg/m2) completed participation in an ongoing randomized, cross-over study. Participants consumed an almond (ALM) regimen (64 g/day: 384 kcal) or a granola bar isocaloric control (IC (84 g/day)) for 12 weeks, with a 4-week washout. Vascular health was assessed through flow-mediated dilation (FMD) to determine endothelial function, pulse-wave velocity (PWV) to determine arterial stiffness, and blood draws to determine total antioxidant capacity (TAC). Sleep parameters (sleep efficiency and wake after sleep onset) were determined through wrist worn ActiGraph accelerometry. A two-way repeated measures analysis of variance was used to assess the effects of intervention (ALM, IC), time (baseline, post), and their interaction on outcomes. RESULTS: Preliminary results show that there was a significant treatment x time interaction for FMD, F(1,9)=13.7, p=0.005, η2=0.60 (ALM baseline 7.38±2.14%, ALM post 9.05±2.87%; IC baseline 7.76±2.63%, IC post 6.61±2.04%). There were no significant interactions for PWV or TAC. There was a significant treatment x time interaction for sleep efficiency, F(1,7)=8.23, p=0.02, η2=0.54 (ALM baseline 90±4%, ALM post 92±2 %; IC baseline, 92±3, IC post 88±6%). There was a significant treatment x time interaction for wake after sleep onset, F(1,7)=7.33, p=0.030, η2=0.511 (ALM baseline 43±22 min, ALM post 37±13 min; IC baseline 30±9 min, IC post 56±32 min). CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate that ALM may improve endothelial function and sleep in active, older adults who are overweight or obese, both of which are important for cardiovascular health. FUNDING: Almond Board of California

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