Pistachios could help reduce stress response in type 2 diabetics

For people with type 2 diabetes, eating pistachios could help reduce the body's stress response - which may help lower blood pressure and decrease strain on the cardiovascular system.

Penn State University researchers analyzed how eating pistachios affected patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes.

All participants ate the same meals that included the same number of calories. After two weeks on this diet, participants were given either a standard heart-healthy diet or a similar diet that included two servings of pistachios (about 3 ounces, with 20 percent of calories coming from pistachio nuts).

At the end of each diet period, the researchers tested participants' blood pressure and total peripheral vascular resistance at rest and during stress tests.

Promising results

Participants on the pistachio diet had more more relaxed blood vessels during the stress test, said Sheila G. West, professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences at Penn State and co-author of the study.

"We found that systolic blood pressure during sleep was particularly affected by pistachios," she said. "Average sleep blood pressure was reduced by about 4 points and this would be expected to lower workload on the heart."

Additionally, researchers found that pistachios helped lower vascular constriction during stress, which reduces pressure on the heart.

"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 said.

Source: Penn State

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