New research conducted by the University of Georgia shows that increasing pecans in your diet can dramatically improve a person’s cholesterol level.
The research was assigned to 52 adults between the ages of 30 and 75 who were at risk for cardiovascular disease eating pecans during an eight-week intervention, and based off the results shown, there was a significant improvement in total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol.
“This dietary intervention, when put in the context of different intervention studies, was extremely successful,” said Jamie Cooper, one of the co-authors of this study. “We had some people who actually went from having high cholesterol at the start of the study to no longer being in that category after the intervention.”
Based on the research, there was an average of 5% drop in total cholesterol levels, and between 6-9 per cent of LDL levels among participants that consumed pecans. This is in reference to a previous meta-analysis of 51 exercise interventions designed to lower the total cholesterol as well as LDL.
“Some research shows that even a 1% reduction in LDL is associated with a small reduction of coronary artery disease risk, so these reductions are definitely clinically meaningful,” said Cooper, who is also a professor in the FACS department of nutritional sciences.
The participants were split into three groups for this research, with one group consuming 68 grams or about 470 calories of pecans a day, the second group substituting pecans for a similar number of calories from their regular diets, and the third group that consumed no pecans.
After eight weeks, the participants consumed a high-fat meal to determine the changes in blood lipids and the amount of glucose in the blood.
Based on the results, the experiment showed that there were improvements among the two pecan groups, while the third group that consumed no pecans had fewer improvements.
“Whether people added them or substituted other foods in the diet for them, we still saw improvements and pretty similar responses in total cholesterol in particular,” said Cooper.
The research can be read in this month’s The Journal of Nutrition.