West, S.G., S.K. Gebauer, C.D. Kay, D.M. Bagshaw, D.M. Savastano, C. Diefenbach, P.M. Kris-Etherton, 2012. Diets containing pistachios reduce systolic blood pressure and peripheral vascular responses to stress in adults with dyslipidemia. Hypertension. 60:58-63.
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·sXcm-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.