A new study published in the journal Nutrition found that eating pistachio nuts may improve cholesterol parameters, increase glycemic (blood sugar) control, decrease artery stiffness and improve overall blood vessel health.
The study tested 60 adults with poor cholesterol lipid levels. They were randomly split into two groups—one (control) was given lifestyle modifications (LSM) while the other was given LSM and consumed 40 grams (about 1.5 ounces) of shelled pistachios per day for three months.
Compared to the control group, the pistachio group’s levels of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) increased significantly, while their low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol) levels went down significantly. Along with lower fast- ing blood sugar, the pistachio group showed better artery health, established by measuring vasodilation (the flexibility of the arteries to expand and contract).
This, together with pulse-wave velocity testing, can indicate artery stiffness, which has been linked to hypertension and an increased risk of heart disease in general.