Pistachio nuts are interesting for heart health research, because of their relatively high levels of antioxidants, good fats and plant sterols. These components can all help to keep your heart in top shape. Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University recently studied the effects of two pistachio diets on LDL-cholesterol (also called “bad” cholesterol) in the body, which is an important risk factor for developing heart diseases.
The study employed a randomized controlled crossover design, which means that all 28 participants were eating randomly all diets included in the study. The subjects with mildly elevated levels of cholesterol consumed three different diets for four weeks: one diet with one serving of pistachios (32-63 gram/day equal to 10% of total energy from pistachios), 2 servings of pistachios (63-126 gram/day equal to 20% of total energy from pistachios) and an average American diet to compare the effects. Between the study diets there was a two-week rest period.
After the study period both pistachio diets proved effective in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol. The participants had significantly less LDL-cholesterol in their blood when they ate one of the pistachio diets, compared to the period they were eating the average American diet. During the single-serving pistachio diet the LDL-cholesterol in the blood was 10% lower, and during the two-serving diet LDL-cholesterol was 13% lower.
Vitamin and mineral bombs
Pistachios are not only linked to heart health, they provide you with many nutrients. Pistachios are real vitamin and mineral bombs. They are especially rich in vitamin B1 (82% of the RDA*), copper (120% of the RDA*), magnesium (40% of the RDA*) and phosphorus (70% of the RDA*). Including pistachios in your diet is therefore a delicious way to help you meet your daily nutrient requirements.
*the percentages of the Recommended Daily Amounts (RDA) refer to 100 gram pistachios
Rajaram S., Haddad E.H., Mejia A., Sabaté J. Walnuts and fatty fish influence different serum lipid fractions in normal to mildly hyperlipidemic individuals: a randomized controlled study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 89 (5) : 1657S-1663S.