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A Handful of Pistachios a Day Helps to Keep Your Heart Healthy

When it comes to keeping your heart healthy and ticking like a well-oiled machine, all you have to do is eat a handful of pistachios every day.

The finding is based on a new research conducted by James N. Cooper M.D., of George Mason University and Michael J. Sheridan, Sc.D., of Inova Fairfax Hospital, who found that a 4-week pistachio diet, containing moderate amounts of heart healthy fat, improves risk factors for heart disease with no weight gain.

The two researchers noted that in people with moderately high cholesterol levels, a daily diet consisting of 15 percent of calories from pistachios (about two to three ounces or one to two handfuls of kernels) over a four-week period favourably improved some blood lipid levels.

The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that pistachios may offer protective benefits.

Dr Cooper said that the study also challenged the previously held belief that a low-fat diet is best for heart health.

"These results are exciting because the research indicates that adding pistachios to the daily diet can help protect the heart without a dramatic dietary lifestyle change," said Dr. James Cooper.

"This research challenges the previously-held belief that a low-fat diet is best for heart health. Studies now show that a diet with a moderate amount of healthful monounsaturated fat, like the kind found in pistachios, is a more effective way to prevent heart disease than reducing overall fat intake. What's more, we noted very good compliance and a positive response from participants during the four-week period," he said.

As a part of the study, the researchers carried out a randomised crossover trial in which 15 free-living people with moderately high blood cholesterol (greater than 210 mg/Hg) were given a diet where 15 percent of daily calories came from pistachios to see if it would have a significant impact on their blood lipid levels.
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