Pistachios, Cholesterol, and Health

High cholesterol, not exactly a ticket for extended health and longevity—but don’t take my word for it! I’m just a blogger. According to Dr. Fuhrman, keeping your cholesterol down is a good idea, especially if you plan on living a longtime. From Disease-Proof Your Child:
Heart disease begins in our youth and is not easy to reverse. No one should eat more than five grams of saturated fat a day. Over this level, disease rates climb.


All food derived from animals contain cholesterol and tend to be high in the thick, heavy fats called saturated fats. Most plant foods are very low in saturated fat, except for some tropical plant oils like palm and coconut oil that are naturally saturated.

Reducing the consumption of animal foods reduces the consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat. Low intake of cholesterol and saturated fat leads to a leaner body, clean arteries, and reducing risk of developing heart disease and many other diet-related diseases such as stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
So then, how do you keep your cholesterol within a healthy range? Expensive medications and invasive procedures? Well, Dr. Fuhrman wouldn’t recommend this approach. He talks about it in Invasive Cardiology Procedures and Surgeries Are Not Effective:
Bypass surgery and angioplasty only attempt to treat a small segment of the diseased heart, usually with only temporary benefit. Since atherosclerotic plaque blankets all the vessels in the heart, bypassing or removing the most diseased portion, still does not address all the shallow and non-obstructive lipid deposits. The major burden of disease is left intact and therefore the potential for a deadly heart attack is largely unaffected. The vast majority of patients who undergo these interventions do not have fewer new heart attacks or longer survival. The procedures themselves expose the patients to more risk of new heart attacks, strokes, infection, encephalopathy, and death. In addition, the symptomatic benefits erode with time.
Apparently pills and drugs aren’t really miracle workers either. Dr. Fuhrman elaborates in his book Cholesterol Protection for Life:
When resorting to medical intervention, rather than dietary modifications, other problems arise, reducing the potential reduction in mortality possible, as these individuals are at risk of serious side effects from the medication. The known side effects for various statins (the most popular and effective medications to lower cholesterol) include hepatitis, jaundice, other liver problems, gastrointestinal upsets, muscle problems and a variety of blood complications such as reduced platelet levels and anemia.
Okay, if medications and procedures don’t cut the mustard, what does? Well, it seems wholesome natural food will do the trick. Just check out this report. HealthDay News reports that pistachios have similar heart-healthy effects to leafy green vegetables. Pretty cool, right? Robert Preidt has more:
"Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and three ounces (per day) -- one to two handfuls -- reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and the higher dose significantly reducing lipoprotein ratios," study author Sarah K. Gebauer, a graduate student in integrative biosciences at Penn State, said in a prepared statement.


The multi-week study, which received funding from the California Pistachio Commission , concluded that three ounces of pistachios a day reduced LDL levels by 11.6 percent, total cholesterol levels by 8.4 percent, and non-high density lipoproteins (non-HDL) by 11.2 percent. Levels of non-HDL are considered reliable predictors of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk.
This is great news, but hardly new news. Dr. Fuhrman has been talking about the healthful properties of nuts and seeds for years. More on that from Nuts and Seeds Are Excellent Foods:
Nuts and seeds are a natural part of the diet of homo-sapiens. They are perfectly adapted to the taste and ability of humans to pick, dry, store, and crack. No wonder study after study shows raw nuts and seeds not only lower cholesterol, but protect against common diseases of aging. I recommend almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, pistachios, macadamias, filberts, and walnuts; and sunflower, sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds. These delicious natural foods are high in nutrients and healthful unsaturated fats.
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