Healthy Tips

Pistachio Nuts Significantly Lower Cholesterol Levels

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]A study has found that a diet containing nuts, including pistachios, significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol levels, in addition to triglycerides. The 600 subject, 25 clinical trial study, conducted in seven counties, is the most comprehensive study of its kind and further substantiates the evidence that nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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The report, authored by Dr. Joan Sabaté, set out to quantify the cholesterolreducing benefits of various nuts, such as pistachios, by analyzing previously published human clinical trials.

The authors reviewed the results of 25 human clinical trials published from 1992 through 2007. The analysis included data from 583 men and women, aged 19 to 86 years old. Among the studies, nut consumption ranged from less than one ounce to 4.75 ounces per day. The average daily intake for the meta-analysis was 67 grams per day or 2.4 ounces.

The results found that when 67 grams of nuts were consumed, triglycerides were reduced by 10.2 percent among those with high triglyceride levels at the onset of the study; and total and LDL-cholesterol were lowered by 5.1 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. Individuals with higher baseline LDL-cholesterol levels also experienced a greater reduction in total and LDL-cholesterol levels compared to those with normal baseline LDL levels. Subjects following a typical Western-diet also experienced a greater reduction in total and LDL-cholesterol levels (-7.4 percent and – 9.6 percent, respectively) compared to a low-fat (-4.1 percent and -6.0 percent, respectively) or a Mediterranean diet (-4.1 percent and -6.0 percent, respectively).

Another important finding was that greater cholesterol lowering benefits were seen in individuals with a lower BMI compared to those with a higher BMI. Additionally, cholesterol levels were reduced in a dose-dependent result, with benefits seen in as low as a one-ounce serving per day; the greatest benefits were seen when 20 percent of calories were consumed daily from nuts. For the typical 2,000-calorie diet, 20 percent equals 400 calories of nuts or 2.4 ounces (about 120) pistachios.

“Enjoying a handful or two of in-shell pistachios may provide significant heart health benefits,” said Martin Yadrick, immediate past-president of the American Dietetic Association. “They are known to also improve blood vessel function, blood sugar control, act as potent antioxidant and offer weight management benefits, all of which are important for improving heart health.”

With more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients, in-shell pistachios are a nutrient-rich snack. In fact, pistachios provide more potassium and phytosterols than any other nut and are the only nut to contain the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. They also have one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all nuts.


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News on Health & Science

Exercise Gives More Health Benefits to Women

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A long-term study of over 8,700 middle-aged men and women has shown that women experience greater health benefits than men as a result    of exercise.
The analysis of this large Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study was carried out by Keri Monda and colleagues at North Carolina University (NCU).

They found that over a 12-year period, all individuals who increased their exercise by about 180 metabolic units per week (equivalent to an additional hour of mild or 30 minutes of moderate activity per week) displayed decreased levels of triglycerides and increased levels of the “good” HDL cholesterol.

However, statistically significant decreases in the “bad” LDL cholesterol were only observed in women, with particularly strong effects in menopausal women and African-American women. And total cholesterol levels were only significantly decreased in African-American women, said an NCU release.

The authors speculate that these differences may arise from hormonal differences between the sexes, especially considering the extra effects seen post-menopause. The racial differences observed may stem from genetic variations that require further exploration.

Source: These findings appear in the August issue of Journal of Lipid Research.


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