Heart Healthy Pistachios May Benefit Diabetics

There is something so satisfying about cracking open a pistachio shell and enjoying the sweet and savory offering inside.

These delicious nuts, which originally hail from the mountains of Western Asia, have long been known to be healthy. Now, new research has found that they may provide some noteworthy benefits to individuals with diabetes.

A new study performed at Pennsylvania State University found that individuals with type 2 diabetes responded better to everyday stress when they ate pistachios every day.

During the study, a group of volunteers who had type 2 diabetes, but were in otherwise good health, were placed on a heart-healthy diet which contained two daily servings (about 3 ounces) of pistachios.

When results were assessed after a four-week period, the researchers found that the volunteers who had eaten the daily pistachios showed improvements in their blood pressure and stress responses.

Sheila G. West, Penn State professor of nutritional sciences and biobehavioral health, stated, “after the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests.”

Former biobehavioral health graduate student Katherine A. Sauder, who did the blood pressure measurements, added, “we found that systolic blood pressure during sleep was particularly affected by pistachios. Average sleep blood pressure was reduced by about 4 points and this would be expected to lower workload on the heart.”

West further summarized, “although nuts are high in fat, they contain good fats, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Given the high risk of heart disease in people with diabetes, nuts are an important component of a heart healthy diet in this population.”

One of these “good fats” found in pistachios is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that has been linked to lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, as well as higher levels of HDL “good” cholesterol, making this a very heart healthy fat indeed. Pistachios are also rich in B-vitamins, including folate, which is known to support optimal cardiovascular function.

pistachiosAll in all, most people (except of course those with nut allergies) could greatly benefit from making pistachios part of their healthy diet. From this research, it seems that these nuts could be an especially wise choice for anyone living with diabetes, or who has been diagnosed with pre-diabetes.

While more research needs to be done, the power of pistachios looks very promising.

-The Alternative Daily


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