Researchers have conducted an experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet. The participants began the study by eating a typical American diet -- consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat -- for two weeks. They then tested three diets for four weeks each with about a two-week break between each diet.
All three diets were variations on a cholesterol-lowering diet in general use. One diet included no pistachios, and the other two had 10 and 20 percent of the energy supplied by pistachio nuts, respectively. The participants ate half their pistachios as a snack and the rest incorporated into meals.
Inclusion of pistachios in the diets beneficially affected cardiovascular disease risk factors. Compared to the no pistachio diet, the 20 percent pistachio diet lowered LDL cholesterol -- bad cholesterol -- about 12 percent, and the 10 percent energy pistachio diet lowered LDL cholesterol by 9 percent. The reduction in LDL cholesterol observed was seven times greater than would be expected from only the fatty acid profile of pistachios. The effect may be the result of bioactive substances in pistachios, perhaps phytosterols and fiber.Read the original article here.