University Park, PA—New research suggests eating two servings of pistachios may help lower the body’s response to stress in people with type-2 diabetes. Known to be high in healthy fats, nuts also contain fiber, potassium and antioxidants that can support heart health.

Shelia G. West, a Penn State professor of biobehaviorial health and nutritional sciences, and colleagues enrolled 30 type-2 diabetics in the randomized crossover trial. Participants were given a two-week run-in period after which they were given a low-fat control diet (27% fat) with high-carb snacks for four weeks and a moderate-fat diet (33% fat) with pistachios for four weeks. There was a two-week washout period in between. Clinicians also assessed the patients’ blood pressure, heart rate and hemodynamics at rest and during stress after each diet.

In the end, the pistachio diet helped participants’ blood vessels remain more open and relaxed during stress. Also, blood pressure was slightly reduced during sleep and ambulatory blood pressure declined during a 24-hour period.

The results are published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2014