Pistachios may help diabetes patients deal with stress

Pistachios may help diabetes patients deal with stress

  • Our motto is: Eating organic foods is key to optimal health. Fresh organic foods are packed with antioxidants and unique nutrients that can keep your immune system in top shape. The nutrients in these organic foods can also help prevent and treat disease.
  • Nuts make a great snack food and a nutritional alternative to unhealthy snacks such as potato chips and crackers.
  • Nuts like pistachios have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, provide antioxidant support, and promote skin and eye health.
  • Pistachios are very popular in desserts because of their unique and rich taste.
  • Eating pistachios may help people with type-2 diabetes deal with the stresses of every day life, according to research from Penn State.
  • In adults with diabetes, two servings of pistachios per day lowered vascular constriction during stress and improved neural control of the heart,” explained Sheila G. West, professor of bio behavioral health and nutritional sciences. “Although nuts are high in fat, they contain good fats, fiber, potassium and antioxidants. Given the high risk of heart disease in people with diabetes, nuts are an important component of a heart healthy diet in this population,” West adds.
  • West and her team observed the effects of pistachios to standardized stress-based tasks in patients with type-2 diabetes. It was a randomized, crossover study in which all the participants’ meals were provided. Each diet contained the same amount of calories.
  • The first two weeks, the participants were on a typical American diet containing 36 percent fat and 12 percent saturated fats. After two weeks, participants were provided all meals (randomized by two test diets). The results of the study were published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
  • Test diets were comprised of a heart-healthy diet, which was 27 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat. The second diet contained about 2 servings of pistachios per day (about 3 ounces). The pistachio diet contained 33 percent fat and 7 percent saturated fat.
  • When the four-week diet periods were over, the team measured blood pressure and total peripheral vascular resistance at rest and during two stress tests. The two tests were a cold-water challenge and a difficult math test.
  • “After the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests,” West said.
  • Pistachios did not affect laboratory measurements of blood pressure, but real-world blood pressure measurements were affected.
  • We found that systolic blood pressure during sleep was particularly affected by pistachios,” said Katherine A. Sauder, former graduate student in bio behavioral health. “Average sleep blood pressure was reduced by about 4 points and this would be expected to lower workload on the heart,” Sauder added.
  • The team found that eating pistachios lowered vascular constriction during stress. When the arteries are dilated, the stress on the heart is reduced. The cold-water test involved immersing a hand in icy water for two minutes.
  • This cold stressor produces a large vascular constriction response in most people,” said West. “In comparison with a low fat diet, the pistachio diet blunted that vascular response to stress,” West added.
  • The same results were observed when the participants took the mental arithmetic test.
  • Our participants still felt frustrated and angry during the math test,” West explained. “The pistachio diet reduced their bodies’ responses to stress, but nuts are not a cure for the emotional distress that we feel in our daily lives,” she added.
  • Sauder added: “As in our last study of pistachios, we did not see lower blood pressure in the laboratory setting with this dose of nuts. However, we were surprised and pleased to see that 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure was lower after the pistachio diet.”
  • The results also showed improvements in heart rate variability, which is a measurement of how well the nervous system controls heart processes. Observations also showed increased activity of the vagus nerve, which is an important part of the parasympathetic nervous system often damaged by diabetes.
  • If sustained with longer term treatment, these improvements in sleep blood pressure, vascular response to stress and vagal control of the heart could reduce risk of heart disease in this high risk group,” West concluded.
  • AS ALWAYS: Check with your health practitioner before you change your diet. This organic food is not meant to replace any treatment or drugs you are taking.
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  • For the health benefits of pistachios.
  • For the health benefits of almonds.
  • For the health benefits of pecans.
  • For the health benefits of pine nuts.
  • 1. “Pistachio Nut Consumption Modifies Systemic Hemodynamics, Increases Heart Rate Variability, and Reduces Ambulatory Blood Pressure in Well‐Controlled Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Trial.” Journal of the American Heart Association. American Heart Association, June 2014. Web. 16 Aug. 2014.
  • 2. “Pistachios May Lower Vascular Response to Stress in Type 2 Diabetes.” Penn State News. Penn State University, 31 July 2014. Web. 16 Aug. 2014.
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