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March 17, 2009 • Healthy Eating & Nutrition, Heart Health

A Prescription for Pistachios

Previous studies have repeatedly shown that nuts score a perfect 10 when it comes to cardiovascular risk reduction. Although scientific evidence is firmly established for almonds and walnuts, studies on pistachios have been lacking. Thanks to a clinical trial in the September issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pistachios can triumphantly join the ranks of their other nut cousins as virtual cardiac miracle pills.

In this 4 week study, scientists provided 1, 2, or no dose (1 dose = 1 small handful) daily of pistachios to 3 groups on equal calorie diets and measured its impact on cholesterol levels. Compared to the no pistachio control group, those consuming the 1 and 2 doses of pistachios a day had a 9% and 12% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, respectively. If this were a prescription drug that could so inexpensively and safely (zero side effects aside from taste bud orgasm) show these same results it would be destined for block-buster status.  Integrate pistachios into your diet as a snack that is delicious and healthy!
The study authors concluded it was pistachios’ unique “package” of nutrients and bioactive factors that were largely responsible for these amazing results. Pistachios are an excellent source of healthy fats and loads of powerful antioxidants, and compared with other nuts, are the very best source of phytosterols (nature’s cholesterol-lowering drug), potassium, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and lutien/zeaxathin. I bet you can’t eat just one!