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Pistachios's Health Benefits

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Pistachios's Health Benefits
A close-up of pistachio nuts in a bowl on an outdoor table. Photo Credit YelenaYemchuk/iStock/Getty Images

After only three weeks of consuming pistachios as 20% of the calories in their diet, the volunteers in a double-blind study saw their LDL (or bad cholesterol) drop by about 14%; HDL (or good cholesterol) rose by 26%, with a 12% decrease in total cholesterol. That's very good news, but cholesterol levels are not the only important factor in reducing heart disease risk.

Recent studies show that the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels is often a more important marker for heart disease risk. Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, which fight inflammation. A Penn State study showed that even a moderate intake of pistachios increases blood levels of lutein, an antioxidant that protects against oxidized LDL, which is even worse than regular LDL in terms of heart disease.

After only three weeks of consuming pistachios as 20% of the calories in their diet, the volunteers in a double-blind study saw their LDL (or bad cholesterol) drop by about 14%; HDL (or good cholesterol) rose by 26%, with a 12% decrease in total cholesterol. That's very good news, but cholesterol levels are not the only important factor in reducing heart disease risk.

Recent studies show that the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels is often a more important marker for heart disease risk. Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, which fight inflammation. A Penn State study showed that even a moderate intake of pistachios increases blood levels of lutein, an antioxidant that protects against oxidized LDL, which is even worse than regular LDL in terms of heart disease.

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