May 2, 2007
Pistachios Help Reduce Stress Of Everyday Life And Protect Against Coronary Artery DseaseTopics: Health Issues
A recent study at Penn State has confirmed that eating pistachios may trim down the body's response to the stress of everyday life by reducing the body's reactions to "stressors" (factors that speed up a reaction rate or keeps the reaction rate the same).
... "A ten-year follow-up study of young men showed that those who had larger cardiovascular responses to stress in the lab, were more likely to contract hypertension later in life," says Dr. Sheila G. West, associate professor of biobehavioral health. "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."Previous studies suggest that eating pistachio nuts instead of other dietary fat calories can improve lipid profiles, thereby decreasing coronary risk, and that pistachios may be beneficial for both prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease.
West and her colleagues inspected the effects of pistachios on uniform stressors on participants who had high cholesterol, but normal blood pressure. They used a randomized, crossover controlled feeding study plan and all three diets included equal number of calories.
... After a two-week run-in diet containing 35 percent fat and 11 percent saturated fats, each test diet lasted for four weeks during which time participants consumed only foods supplied by the study.
... The researchers found that both pistachio containing diets abridged the stress effects on blood pressure, but that the 1.5 ounce pistachio diet reduced systolic blood pressure by 4.8 millimeters of mercury while the 3-ounce pistachio diet only reduced systolic blood pressure by 2.4 millimeters of mercury. The diets had no effect on normal, resting blood pressure.
... "When we only look at blood pressure, these results are confusing," says West. "If it is the pistachios, why is it not dose related?"
... When the researchers examined total peripheral vascular resistance, it was clear that the 3-ounce diet led to greater relaxation of arteries. Because the body strongly controls blood pressure, rather than allowing blood pressure to drop further, the heart compensated by pumping more forcefully.
... "The relaxation of blood vessels after the 3-ounce pistachio diet likely reduced the workload on the heart," says West. "This pattern of change would be beneficial if it is maintained long term. It is possible that other foods that are high in unsaturated fat and antioxidants would have a similar effect."
Related: Pistachio skin phenolics are destroyed by bleaching resulting in reduced antioxidative capacities.
Posted by Richard at May 2, 2007 9:11 AM
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