December 2009
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New research into the signs of heart failure have been investigating the role of different nuts and seeds in our diet. They found that eating just a couple of small hand fulls a day of pistachio nuts can lessen our chances of developing cardiovascular diseases.

They gave their test patients differing amounts of pistachios. They split the testers into groups. Some of them had 40 grams of pistachios every day and some had 80 grams every day. Also some testers ate the nuts as a snack on their own and some combined them into either their breakfast cereal or baked into muffins and even blended into pesto instead of pine nuts. The last group were banned from eating any pistachios or products that had pistachios in them. The tests ran for 30 days. The testers all had their cholesterol levels taken before and after the pistachio tests. The results showed that blood cholesterol levels amongst the people eating pistachios had reduced by around 9% with the biggest effect being a decrease in LDL cholesterol. The group who ate the most pistachios, eating 80 grams every day made the most significant difference to their signs of heart failure.

Pistachios are very rich in lutein. This is an antioxidant found also in brightly coloured fruit and green leafy vegetables. Compared to other nuts, pistachios are found to have higher levels of lutein. Lutein has been found to help prevent our arteries from clogging up with plaque or cholesterol deposits.

The USA is the worlds’ second largest producer of pistachio nuts after Iran. California is a popular area for orchards of pistachio trees because of its low humidity desert conditions and thrives in sunny positions on well drained soils. The trees grow to a height of around ten metres and take an average of 20 years to reach maturity. Each female tree produces around fifty kilos of the nuts, or seeds as they really are, in every two year period with alternate years having much heavier crops. The seeds have a hard shell and contain the seed which has a mauvy coloured skin and the flesh is a lightish green. The shell colour changes on ripening from white to green to a reddish yellow. Once the seed/nut is ripe the shell splits itself open to reveal the nut. The noise of this splitting can be heard by anyone walking under the tree and make a load cracking noise.

Pistachio nuts are often purchased sprinkled with salt, but excessive salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure so for maximum health benefits eat the unsalted ones where possible. Regardless of the salt issues, these nuts were found to have the same benefits of lowering your blood cholesterol levels, and so delaying the Signs of Heart Failure.

Sue Roberts

For more information on Heart Failure and FREE Tips on How to Keep Your Heart Healthy. visit

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