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Hypertension. 2012 Jul;60(1):58-63. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.182147. Epub 2012 Jun 4.

Diets containing pistachios reduce systolic blood pressure and peripheral vascular responses to stress in adults with dyslipidemia.

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1
Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. sgw2@psu.edu

Abstract

Nut consumption reduces cardiovascular risk, and reductions in blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance may be important mediators of this relationship. We evaluated effects of pistachios on flow-mediated dilation and blood pressure response to acute stress. Twenty-eight adults with dyslipidemia completed a randomized, crossover, controlled-feeding study. All of the meals were provided and calories were controlled. After 2 weeks on a typical Western diet (35% total fat and 11% saturated fat), test diets were presented in counterbalanced order for 4 weeks each, a low-fat control diet (25% total fat and 8% saturated fat), a diet containing 10% of energy from pistachios (on average, 1 serving per day; 30% total fat and 8% saturated fat), and a diet containing 20% of energy from pistachios (on average, 2 servings per day, 34% total fat and 8% saturated fat). None of the resting hemodynamic measures significantly differed from pretreatment values. When resting and stress levels were included in the repeated-measures analysis, average reductions in systolic blood pressure were greater after the diet containing 1 serving per day versus 2 servings per day of pistachios (mean change in systolic blood pressure, -4.8 vs -2.4 mm Hg, respectively; P<0.05). After the higher dose, there were significant reductions in peripheral resistance (-62.1 dyne · s × cm(-5)) and heart rate (-3 bpm) versus the control diet (P<0.0001). These changes were partially offset by increases in cardiac output. There was no effect of diet on fasting flow-mediated dilation. Reductions in peripheral vascular constriction and the resulting decrease in hemodynamic load may be important contributors to lower risk in nut consumers.

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