Pistachios may replace daily apple
Research shows big benefits for a handful of little nuts
Eating a handful of pistachios every day may help heart health, new research has found.
The study, published in The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, and conducted by James N. Cooper of George Mason University and Michael J. Sheridan of Inova Fairfax Hospital, looked at individuals with relatively high cholesterol who replaced high-fat snacks with pistachio nuts on a daily basis. When on a diet that involved getting 15 per cent of daily calorie intake from pistachios for four weeks — which means snacking on one to two handfuls a day — subjects were found to improve blood lipid levels.
“These results are exciting because the research indicates that adding pistachios to the daily diet can help protect the heart without a dramatic dietary lifestyle change,” Cooper said in a statement. “This research challenges the previously held belief that a low-fat diet is best for heart health.”
The majority of the fat in pistachios is considered a “good” fat, monounsaturated fat, the kind that lowers blood pressure.
“Studies now show that a diet with a moderate amount of healthful monounsaturated fat, like the kind found in pistachios, is a more effective way to prevent heart disease than reducing overall fat intake,” Cooper said.
Pistachios are also packed full of polyunsaturated fat, a fat known to low- er blood cholesterol when consumed in moderation.
The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting a regular intake of pistachios can help fight off cardiovascular disease and reduce cholesterol levels.
In the nut family, pistachios are thought to be one of the healthiest, packed with vitamins and nutrients such as thiamin, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, fiber, phosphorous and magnesium.
Good news for nut lovers — individuals on the pistachio regimen showed no signs of weight gain, supporting an advancing theory that pistachio nuts do not cause weight gain when added to an everyday diet.