Pistachios may reduce blood pressure in patients with dyslipidemia

Nut consumption is associated with significant reductions in cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and mortality. Now, a recent study has found that a diet containing 1 serving per day of pistachios reduced systolic blood pressure by an average of 4.8 mmHg compared with a control diet. Furthermore, 2 servings of pistachios per day helped reduce peripheral resistance and heart rate compared with the control diet.

Key Point: Pistachios as part of a healthful diet help could help reduce systolic blood pressure in dyslipidemic patients.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), CVD will become the largest cause of death and disability in India by 2020.

In the recently published study, researchers from the United States and the United Kingdom evaluated the effects of pistachios on flow-mediated dilation and blood pressure response to acute stress in dyslipidemic individuals. After 2 weeks on a typical Western diet (35% total fat and 11% saturated fat), 3 test diets were presented in counterbalanced order for 4 weeks each: a[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]…

[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()] low-fat control diet (25% total fat and 8% saturated fat), a diet containing 10% of energy from pistachios (on average, 1 serving per day; 30% total fat and 8% saturated fat), and a diet containing 20% of energy from pistachios (on average, 2 servings per day, 34% total fat and 8% saturated fat). None of the resting hemodynamic measures differed significantly from pre-treatment values.

When resting and stress levels were included in the repeated-measures analysis, average reductions in systolic blood pressure were greater after the diet containing 1 serving per day vs 2 servings per day of pistachios (mean change in systolic blood pressure, -4.8 mmHg vs -2.4 mmHg, respectively; P<0.05). The higher dose produced significant reductions in peripheral resistance and heart rate (-3 bpm) vs the control diet (P<0.0001). These changes were partially offset by increases in cardiac output.

Overall, the study demonstrated that pistachios included in a diet at 1 or 2 servings per day had distinct effects in reducing systolic blood pressure, peripheral vascular constriction, and heart rate compared with a control diet in stressed individuals with dyslipidemia.

West SG, Gebauer SK, Kay CD, et al. Diets containing pistachios reduce systolic blood pressure and peripheral vascular responses to stress in adults with dyslipidemia. Hypertension; June 4, 2012 [epublication ahead of print].

Kris-Etherton PM, Zhao G, Binkoski AE, et al. The effects of nuts on coronary heart disease risk. Nutr Rev. 2001;59:103–111

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