Pistachios May Take Bite Out of Cholesterol

They have heart-healthy effects similar to leafy greens, study finds

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MONDAY, April 30, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Pistachios could help lower cholesterol, according to an industry-funded study presented Monday at the Experimental Biology meeting in Washington, D.C.

"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.

The researchers also said that a handful of pistachios provide the same antioxidants found in dark, leafy vegetables and brightly-colored fruit.

"Our study has shown that pistachios, eaten with a healthy heart diet, may decrease a person's CVD risk profile," primary investigator Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The American Heart Association offers tips on how to lower your cholesterol.

SOURCE: Penn State, news release, April 30, 2007

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