Pistachio nuts lower blood cholesterol, finds new US study

New York: As few as two pistachio nuts can prevent heart disease through lowering cholesterol and keeping arteries healthy, a new report reveals.

The US study carried out by Pennsylvannia State University found the risk of heart disease was significantly lowered by eating only three ounces of the nut. It is thought that they contain nutrients that help prevent hardening of the arteries – one of the main causes of heart attacks and stroke.

The volunteers who took part in the study ate either 1.5 ounces of the nuts a day or double that amount or none. After just a month, cholesterol levels were significantly lower among the pistachio-eaters. Those who ate the most nuts experienced the biggest decrease in cholesterol. The nuts in the trial were of the non-salty variety since too much salt can increase blood pressure.

Eating three ounces of pistachios a day cut cholesterol levels by 8.4 per cent, with LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol dropping by 11.6 per cent. The study was carried out by researchers at Pennsylvania State University.

Pistachios are particularly rich in an antioxidant called lutein, usually found in green leafy vegetables and brightly coloured fruit. It helps prevent cholesterol from furring up arteries.