Long a staple of diets in the Mideast and around the Mediterranean, pistachio nuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, in part by decreasing cholesterol levels, a new study says.
Researchers say that pistachios are packed with antioxidants and are rich in several vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and iron, and also have healthy fats.
They found that eating pistachios increased antioxidant levels in adults with high cholesterol.
“Our previous study showed the benefits of pistachios in lowering lipids and liproproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease,” Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition, says in a news release. “This new study shows an additional effect of pistachios, so now there are multiple health benefits of eating pistachios.”
The little morsels also are high in antioxidants lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol, compared to other nuts. Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A. Gamma-tocopherol is a form of vitamin E. Lutein is found in dark green leafy vegetables and is important in vision and skin health.