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Pistachio Nuts Keep Your Heart Hale and Healthy

by VR Sreeraman on September 28, 2008 at 10:38 AM
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 Pistachio Nuts Keep Your Heart Hale and Healthy

Eating pistachio nuts every day can keep your health hale and hearty, says a new study.

According to researchers at Penn State conducted the study to investigate the way pistachios lower cholesterol.

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"We investigated mechanisms of action to explain the cholesterol-lowering effects of the pistachio diets," says Sarah K. Gebauer, recent Penn State Ph.D. recipient, currently a post-doctoral research associate, USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center.

The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors.
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Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study segment.

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 the Step I Diet, a cholesterol-lowering diet in general use.

The diets included, as a control, a Step I Diet with no pistachios and about 25 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat. The pistachio enhanced diets were Step I Diets with 10 and 20 percent of the energy supplied by pistachio nuts, respectively.

The 10 percent pistachio diet had 30 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat and the 20 percent pistachio diet had 34 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat.

The participants ate half their pistachios as a snack and the rest incorporated into meals.

The researchers report in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that "Inclusion of pistachios in a healthy diet beneficially affects cardiovascular disease risk factors in a dose-dependent manner, which may reflect effects on Stearoyl CoA Desaturase (SCD). "

The researchers used the ratio of two fatty acids, 16:1 and 16:0 in plasma as a marker for SCD, an enzyme that is involved in the body''s synthesis of fatty acids.

"SCD is an important enzyme involved in cholesterol metabolism," says Gebauer.



Source: ANI
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