Pistachio intake increases high density lipoprotein levels and inhibits low-density lipoprotein oxidation in rats.
Tohoku J Exp Med. 2007 May;212(1):43-8. PMID: 17464102
There is increasing evidence that nuts have protective effects against coronary artery disease by improving lipid profile and inhibiting lipid oxidation. However, data about pistachio nuts are limited, and to our knowledge, there is no study investigating the effects of pistachio intake on lipid oxidation and serum antioxidant levels. This study, therefore, sought to determine the effects of pistachio intake on serum lipids and determine whether consumption of pistachio would alter serum antioxidant levels. Rats were randomly divided into three groups (n=12 for each): control group fed basic diet for 10 weeks and treated groups fed basic diet plus pistachio which constituted 20% and 40% of daily caloric intake, respectively. Consumption of pistachio as 20% of daily caloric intake increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels and decreased total cholesterol (TC)/HDL ratio, compared with those not taking pistachio. However, TC, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels were unaffected by pistachio consumption. Consumption of pistachio as 20% of daily caloric intake increased serum paraoxonase activity by 35% and arylesterase activity by 60%, which are known to inhibit LDL cholesterol oxidation, compared with the control group. However, increased antioxidant activity was blunted when pistachio intake was increased to 40% of daily caloric intake. In conclusion, the present results show that consumption of pistachio as 20% of daily caloric intake leads to significant improvement in HDL and TC/HDL ratio and inhibits LDL cholesterol oxidation. These results suggest that pistachio may be beneficial for both prevention and treatment of coronary artery disease.