Pistachio nutsDry fruits like almonds and dates have always been hailed as the do-gooders for human health. One nut that was not much under the limelight was the pistachio. Fortunately, acknowledging its health benefiting properties, researchers have brought to light the cholesterol lowering nature of the green pistachio.

“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.

Researchers have revealed that when green pistachio nuts are added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet the cardiovascular disease risk factors are affected and lowered owing to the nuts.

A study was conducted on participants eating a typical American diet. The study has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and states 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).”

“Our study has shown that pistachios, eaten with a heart healthy diet, may decrease a person’s CVD risk profile”, says Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition and primary investigator of the study.

The LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol for heart was seen to be lowered in the participants who included the pistachio diet in their regular eating habits. The study showed the reduction in LDL cholesterol seven times greater than the researchers expected which they speculate is the result of pistachio contents like the phytosterols and fiber apart from fatty acid.