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

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


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Brachial Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Brachial Artery / physiopathology
  • Cardiac Output / physiology
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Diet, Fat-Restricted / methods*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Dyslipidemias / physiopathology*
  • Fasting
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Pistacia*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vascular Resistance / physiology*