Crack Open Pistachios for Health

New Study Reviews 61 Clinical Trials on Tree Nuts, Blood Lipids, Lipoproteins, and Blood Pressure, Published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

LOS ANGELES--()--In a study published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition1, researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials to investigate the effects of 8 different types of tree nuts, including pistachios and almonds, on blood lipids, lipoproteins, blood pressure and inflammation in adults (with a median age of 45 years old) without prevalent cardiovascular disease (CVD). Tree nut consumption was shown to lower total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and LDL’s primary apolipoprotein component, ApoB. The amount of nuts varied from 5 to 100 grams per day (median 56 grams per day or approximately 2 ounces).

Interestingly, stronger effects for ApoB were observed in populations with type-2 diabetes (-11.5mg/dL; 95% CI-16.2,-6.8) than among healthy populations (-2.5mg/dL; 95% CI-4.7,-0.3) (p-heterogeneity=0.015). However, further research is needed to examine the impact of tree nut consumption among diabetic populations. The new findings suggest that eating tree nuts, such as pistachios and almonds, may be important for cardiovascular health and those at risk of diabetes. This is important as there is a correlation between cardiovascular disease and diabetes.2

Pistachio Health Institute understands healthy food choices are an important part of the recommended lifestyle changes for diabetes and heart health, and is proud to acknowledge that November is American Diabetes Month, led by the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness of diabetes and prevention. The basics of healthy eating with these conditions are similar to healthy eating recommendations for just about anyone: eat regular, well-balanced meals and snacks, include a variety of healthy foods and keep an eye on portions.

“A simple small change to start with is to choose healthy snacks,” said Victoria Shanta Retelny, R.D.N., L.D.N., The Lifestyle Nutritionist™. She adds, “Nuts like heart-healthy pistachios make a good choice because they offer nutrients the body needs, are satisfying enough to bridge hunger between meals, can be incorporated into a weight management plan – and they taste good.”

Pistachios have a very low glycemic impact on their own, as measured by relative glycemic response (RGR), with values ranging from 4 to 9, where white bread is 100. Plus, a 49-kernel serving of pistachios provides a good source of protein, fiber, magnesium, and B-vitamins, and the left-over shells may serve as a visual cue about portions, potentially helping to curb overconsumption. "It's really the small changes, like choosing smart snacks, that can help make a big difference," says Shanta Retelny.

Snacking on pistachios sooner rather than later may be the smartest bet. While more research is needed, there are already plenty of nutritional reasons to include a simple snack of pistachios into the daily routine for most people. “The take-home message is that nuts, such as pistachios and almonds, can and should be a part of a healthy diet. Eating right is an important part of good health with or without concerns about heart health and diabetes,” concludes Shanta Retelny.

Funding: The International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research and Education Foundation provided funding but had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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PistachioHealthInstitute.org is the leading online source of information on the health and nutrition benefits of pistachios for both consumers and health professionals. It houses a comprehensive research library, with research updates and information from leading experts in the field of health and nutrition, including the Health Nut blog, Ask Our Expert section, and educational materials. The Institute is committed to research, and continues to invest and support research on the health benefits of pistachios. “Like” PistachioHealthInstitute on Facebook and follow @PistachioHealth on Twitter. For more information about the health benefits of pistachios, please visit www.PistachioHealthInstitute.org.

1 Del Gobbo LC, Falk MC, Feldman R, Lewis K, Mozaffarian D. Effects of tree nuts on blood lipids, apolioproteins, and blood pressure: systematic review, meta-analysis, and dose-response of 61 controlled intervention trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;102:1347-56.

2 American Heart Association. Accessed online 11/13/15: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Diabetes/WhyDiabetesMatters/Cardiovascular-Disease-Diabetes_UCM_313865_Article.jsp/#.VkaCxHarSUk

Contacts

Pistachio Health Institute
Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D.N.
310.966.8707
MMoon@PistachioHealthInstitute.org

Release Summary

New study reviews 61 clinical trials on tree nuts, blood lipids, lipoproteins, and blood pressure. Published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Contacts

Pistachio Health Institute
Maggie Moon, M.S., R.D.N.
310.966.8707
MMoon@PistachioHealthInstitute.org