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Friday, October 5, 2012

Pistachios - Did You Eat Some Today?

Would you like to lower your BLOOD PRESSURE,  and improve your overall heart health and your LDL.HDL ratio? IF so, you need to head to your local grocery or health food store to the NUT section and buy some pistachios. Dan



HEY, they’re GREEN! They must be GOOD!
And I love anything Italian
The English word pistachio comes to us from the Old Italian pistachios
I decided to delve deeper into some nutritional facts about pistachios, to validate my indulgence:

Pistachios are rich in potassium, which helps regulate the body's fluid balance; phosphorus, which helps build bones and teeth; and magnesium, which is an important element in the conversion of the body's energy. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, which aids protein metabolism and absorption; and thiamine, which enhances energy and promotes normal appetite. Pistachios supply vitamins A and E, both critical in keeping inflammatory pathways in balance.

Pistachios are also a good source of copper, known to strengthen the immune system. They deliver many vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, so they can be considered a nutrient-dense food and the perfect snack for someone who is in a good state of balance or good health. Dr. Young limits nuts like pistachios from the diets of severely sick people but encourages drinking nut milks like almond milk when on his cleanse.

Pistachios are a good source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These fats reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease when they replace saturated fats in the diet. (Institute of Medicine)

After only three weeks of consuming pistachios as 20% of the calories in their diet, volunteers in a double-blind study saw their LDL (or bad cholesterol) drop by about 14%; HDL (or good cholesterol) rose by 26%, with a 12% decrease in total cholesterol. Recent studies show that the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels is often a more important marker for heart disease. A Penn State study showed that even a moderate intake of pistachios increases blood levels of lutein, an antioxidant that protects against oxidized LDL, which is even worse than regular LDL in terms of heart disease.

In trials, people on a 4-week pistachio diet showed no weight gain while improving risk factors for heart disease (Journal of the American College of Nutrition). The study showed that a daily dose of pistachios is beneficial in relation to cardiovascular disease. Study participants had moderately high cholesterol levels and consumed 15% of their calories from pistachios. Over a four-week period, blood lipid levels improved.

The special antioxidants found in pistachios can prevent a harmful process called glycation. Glycation occurs when sugars bond inappropriately to proteins, making the proteins unusable. This is the process by which diabetes damages tissues, and its byproducts are called AGE or Advanced Glycation End-products. So pistachios can be a powerful ally in the treatment of diabetes and its related syndromes. If you are looking to replace animal protein with vegetable protein, pistachios nuts are an excellent source of vegetable protein. The type of protein found in Pistachio nuts is rich in arginine—a precursor to the substance nitric oxide, which helps relax blood vessels in the body, and lower blood pressure. From just a ½ cup of pistachios you can get 6 grams of protein and 310 mgs. of potassium, not to mention all the dietary fiber they contain which is about 3grams per ½ cup.

As a precaution, Dr. Young would prefer that you keep your portion sizes down to ½-1 cup a day (Good Luck!) as 12 grams of dietary protein is plenty to cover your daily needs. Remember, your body is only 7% protein. Also watch for additives in dyed Pistachios. Traditionally pistachios were dyed red to hide stains on the shells from handpicking. Today, pistachio harvests are automated, preventing staining and rendering the dying process obsolete. Avoid dyed pistachios, as many food dyes can be harmful and may produce allergic symptoms in children, especially when consumed in combination with other food additives.

Make sure the pistachios you buy are fresh with the best form being raw. You can always add pHlavor Salt™ spray to make them a truly alkaline snack. Use Pistachios in Salad Dressings as a thickener or sprinkle over Shelley’s pHavorite Pasta or Spaghetti Squash with Pumpkin Seed Pesto dishes (both found in the new DVD pH Miracle Cooking with Chef Shelley). I even add them to Shelley’s Super Wraps (Back to the House of Health 1 pg. 77) or use them in place of croutons over a salad. They can also be removed from their shells and soaked in lemon water for a few hours to soften them and release their true flavor even more.

One thing is certain—eating pistachios renders significant benefits in relation to human health. Pistachio nuts deliver a nutritious array of important nutrients and compounds that support and assist body function.


Pistachios May Reduce Risk for Hypertension

The beneficial effects of almonds and walnuts on cardiovascular disease have been studied extensively, but relatively little research has been carried out into the effects of pistachios on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Pistachios have been reported as having a beneficial effect on serum lipids, and in July 2003, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a qualified health claim that can appear on packages:
Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Now researchers have reported that eating pistachios may help to prevent hypertension. The results of this study were presented on April 30 in Washington, DC, at Experimental Biology 2007, the combined annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists; the American Physiological Society; and the American Societies for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Investigative Pathology, Nutrition, and Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.[20]
Lead investigator Sheila G. West, PhD (Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania) explained that people who have larger cardiovascular responses to stress are believed to be at higher risk for development of cardiovascular syndromes, such as hypertension, later in life than those who have smaller responses. "Elevated reactions to stressors are partly genetic, but can be changed by diet and exercise. Lifestyle changes can make the biological reactions to stress smaller," she said.
According to the results of the randomized, controlled, crossover feeding study carried out by Dr. West and her colleagues (and supported by the California Pistachio Commission), adding pistachios to the diet appeared to reduce elevated reactions to stressors. A total of 28 hypercholesterolemic adults (10 men and 18 women) with normal blood pressure underwent a 2-week run-in period on a diet including 35% total fat and 11% saturated fatty acids (SFAs). The subjects were then fed 3 iso-energetic diets for 4 weeks. All 3 diets were followed the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) Step I diet (< 30% of total energy from fat, < 10% of energy from saturated fat, and < 300 mg cholesterol per day) with or without pistachios:
Diet 1: Step I diet without pistachios (25% total fat, 8% SFAs);
Diet 2: Step I diet with 1.5 oz/day of pistachios (30% total fat, 8% SFAs);
Diet 3: Step I diet with 3.0 oz/day of pistachios (34% total fat, 8% SFAs).
At the end of each diet period, blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance were measured at rest and during a math test and cold pressor test. Both pistachio diets significantly blunted the stress-induced blood pressure responses, but the effect was greater with the 1.5-oz pistachio diet than with the 3.0-oz diet (mean reduction in SBP: 4.7 mm Hg vs 2.4 mm Hg, respectively). Neither diet had any effect on normal resting blood pressure.
These results were confusing, Dr. West admitted, because if the pistachios caused the blood pressure-lowering effect, it would be expected to be dose-related. When the investigators looked at the effects on systemic hemodynamics, they found that the decreases in total peripheral vascular resistance and heart rate induced by the 3.0-oz pistachio diet were offset by increases in cardiac output. This shift in systemic hemodynamics would be expected to be beneficial if maintained long-term, by reducing cardiac workload, Dr. West said. "Our results suggest a novel, dose-dependent mechanism for the cardioprotective effects of pistachios," she suggested, adding that other foods that are high in unsaturated fat and antioxidants may have a similar effect. In a separate presentation at the conference, Dr. West's group reported that the 1.5-oz and 3.0-oz pistachio diets also appeared to improved lipid, lipoprotein, and apolipoprotein profiles, in a dose-dependent manner.[21]

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