An October 2003 article in Time magazine extolled the virtues of nuts as a cholesterol-fighting dietary strategy. Under the headline Nuts (and Fiber) to High Cholesterol, the article cited an experiment described in the Journal of the American Medical Association that compared dietary approaches to lowering cholesterol with the use of statin drugs. The Time article author, David Bjerklie, concluded his piece by stating, The growing weight of such research has moved the American Heart Association to recommend that these (fiber- and sterol-rich) foods be incorporated into heart-healthy diets. For similar reasons, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration now allows the labels on packages containing nuts such as walnuts, pecans, pistachios and peanuts to claim that they may reduce the risk of heart disease. Stations will continue to be important, lifesaving drugs. But it's nice to know that you can get the same results without them.
Penn State University researchers say eating an ounce of nuts more than five times a week can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 39%.
Nuts are a terrific source of protein and can serve as an alternative to meat, poultry or beans, according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.
A serving of pistachios contains more dietary fiber than a half-cup of broccoli or spinach.
Nuts contain NO cholesterol, and, like olive oil, are high in monounsaturated fat, which is believed to lower cholesterol levels.
Almonds and pistachios are rich in potassium, which helps to maintain normal blood pressure.
Studies show that dieters who eat a moderate amount of nuts are more likely to stay on their diets.
In her New York Times column on February 8, 2000, one of the nation's foremost health writers - Jane Brody - outlined lots of reasons why nuts should be a part of our diet:
Nuts have been shown to help people stick to weight-loss diets.
Most of the fat in nuts is unsaturated, which helps lower the "bad" cholesterol (LDL), while not interfering with the benefits of the "good" cholesterol (HDL).
- Pistachios contain plenty of phytosterols, which are being used in some margarines to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some animal studies have shown phytosterols might guard against cancer.
Pistachios and almonds are rich in potassium.
Brody also cites studies that show dieters who eat a moderate amount of nuts are more likely to remain on their diets.