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1 May 2007
Pistachios Fight Cholesterol, Rich In Antioxidants

Scientists say that pistachios appear to lower cholesterol and provide the antioxidants usually found in leafy green vegetables and brightly colored fruit. "Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and 3 ounces - one to two handfuls - reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL cholesterol levels and the higher dose significantly reduced lipoprotein ratios," said Penn State's Sarah K. Gebauer.

The results showed that a three-ounce pistachio diet decreased the ratios of total cholesterol to HDL, LDL to HDL and non-HDL to HDL, which are all measures of cardiovascular disease risk. "We were pleased to see a difference between the two doses of pistachios for the lipoprotein ratios because it would appear that pistachios are causing the effect and that they act in a dose dependent way," says Gebauer.

Additionally, the study found that pistachios were a good source of antioxidants. "We were trying to see if the increased levels of antioxidants provided by pistachios could reduce inflammation and oxidation," says Gebauer. Pistachios contain more lutein (normally found in dark leafy vegetables), beta carotene (a precursor to vitamin A) and gamma tocopherol (the major form of vitamin E) than other nuts.

"Our study has shown that pistachios, eaten with a heart healthy diet, may decrease a person's [cardiovascular disease] risk profile," says Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, primary investigator of the study.

Source: Penn State


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