Pistachios contain an array of nutrients that may contribute to heart health. In addition to good-for-you fats, pistachios also have plant-based compounds that may act as antioxidants, including vitamin E, polyphenols, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes that tree nuts, including pistachios, can be part of a heart healthy diet: scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may lower the risk of heart disease.1
Scientific research suggests that pistachios may help to support a strong heart and healthy blood vessels. Studies have shown that adding pistachios to a healthy diet may help to lower levels of oxidized-LDL (bad) cholesterol and other measures of oxidative damage.3 Research has also shown that eating calorie-controlled amounts of pistachios may help to support healthy cholesterol levels.
In a recent study, people who ate a Mediterranean diet with either one ounce of nuts per day or one liter of olive oil per week had a 30% reduction in heart disease-related events – the same risk reduction attributed to some cholesterol-lowering drugs.2
Check out more about pistachio nutrition and heart health research.
1. The PREDIMED Study, Estruch R, et al. New Engl J Med. 2013 Apr 4;368(14):1279-1290.
2. United States Food and Drug Administration, Qualified Health Claim, July 2003 http://www.fda.gov
3. Kay CD, Gebauer SK, West SG. Et al. Pistachios increase serum antioxidants and lower serum oxidized-LDL in hypercholesterolemic adults. J Nutr (2010); 140:1093-1098