Thereâ€™s something immensely satisfying about eating pistachios. I think itâ€™s all in the shell – cracking open the outer casing to get to that tiny delicious nut – itâ€™s a bit akin to uncorking a fine bottle of wine or working your way to the center of a pomegranate. Now it seems that these nuts not only sate my craving for food ritual, but are also helping to protect my heart.
Â The Journal of the American College of Nutrition has released findings showing that people with moderately high cholesterol levels can improve their blood lipid levels simply by adding a daily dose of pistachios to their diet. The study found that eating two to three ounces (one to two handfuls of kernels) was enough to significantly improve cholesterol levels in the 15 participants, with their LDL (low density lipoprotein) decreasing an average of 11.6%Â
In case youâ€™ve been fooled by the â€œnuts are high in fat and will make you gain weightâ€ theory, have no fear. The participants in this study showed no change in BMI (body mass index) nor did they gain weight. In fact, previous studies have found nut consumption in general to be associated with lower BMIâ€™s.Â Â
The benefits of pistachios are thought to lie largely in their high content of monounsaturated fats. These healthy fats are known to help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. These nuts also have the highest levels of phytosterols of all snack nuts and are a rich source of fiber and nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium and lutein. Who can resist?Â