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Researchers from the University of Georgia have found that consuming pecans can help improve multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In a randomized controlled trial published in The Journal of Nutrition, participants who incorporated pecans into their diet saw a significant reduction in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol ratio, and apolipoprotein B (a component of LDL that reflects LDL particle size).
Fifty-two adults at risk for heart disease were recruited for the study. Their ages ranged from 30 to 75, and they were divided into two experimental groups and a control group. The first experimental group consumed roughly 470 calories worth of pecans each day as part of their regular diet. The second experimental group substituted the same amount of pecans for isocaloric foods from their habitual diet. The control group made no changes to their diet and did not consume any pecans.
After a period of eight weeks, changes in blood lipids and blood glucose were measured. Among the two experimental groups, an average decrease of about 5% was observed in total cholesterol, with an average drop of over 8% in LDL cholesterol. Triglycerides were lowered in the first group, while postprandial glucose fell in the second.
One of the researchers noted that whether participants added pecans to the diet or substituted them for other foods, similar responses in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were seen. Due to the small sample size in this study, further research is needed to validate the findings.
Sources: Pecan-enriched diet shown to reduce cholesterol. University of Georgia, August 23, 2021. https://news.uga.edu/pecan-enriched-diet-reduces-cholesterol/.
Guarneiri LL, Paton CM, Cooper JA. Pecan-enriched diets alter cholesterol profiles and triglycerides in adults at risk for cardiovascular disease in a randomized, controlled trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2021; 151(10):3091-3101. DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxab248.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Winter 2021-22 | Volume 45, Number 4
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