Nuts Over Pistachios

Green—a theme of this holiday season—can benefit us even more when packaged in the form of pistachio nuts, say researchers at Penn State University. Pistachios, the researchers note, contain both beneficial plant sterols and fiber and an important enzyme involved in the body’s synthesis of fatty acids, especially cholesterol. They see the nuts as a valuable addition to any healthy diet aimed at reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease. 

In this new, first study considering the cholesterol lowering effects of the heart-healthy party favorite, participants ate a general cholesterol-lowering diet that included pistachios in meals and as snacks, as a substitute for other fats. The control group ate the cholesterol-lowering diet only, with the same fat content, but without the nuts. In comparison with the control group, the pistachio group lowered their LDL, or bad cholesterol, by about 12 percent.

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