Simple dietary changes like adding pistachio nuts to the diet can lead to multiple health benefits -- diabetes could be controlled, and the propensity for heart disease may be reduced in Indians, a new study has found. The study, the first of its kind with a trial period of six months, was carried out by the Diabetes Foundation of India (DFI) and the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholesterol Foundation. The results of the study were released Monday, even as the prevalence of obesity and diabetes are rapidly rising in India.
Nuts (mainly pistachios, almonds and walnuts) have been shown to have beneficial effects on glycemic and lipid parameters. Pistachios have a low glycemic index, are naturally cholesterol free, and are source of protein, fibre and antioxidants, the study found. These properties make consumption of pistachios potentially useful for those at risk for obesity and heart disease. "Pistachios are part of the traditional Indian diet. However, the health effects have not been clearly understood. This study shows multifaceted beneficial effects of pistachios suitable for the Indian body type, for the alleviation of multiple risk factors," said Anoop Mishra, chairman, Fortis Centre of Excellence for Diabetes Metabolic Diseases and Endocrinology (CDOC). Seema Gulati, research head at the National Diabetes, Obesity and Cholestrol Foundation, said: "Based on this study, we can say that pistachios provide an excellent snack option, especially for those at risk of metabolic problems and diabetes. They provide a beneficial effect in two ways: One, by displacing energy from other unhealthy sources, and second, due to their own intrinsic nutritional properties". Diabetes has taken epidemic proportions in India, and emerged as one of the most serious healthcare problems.
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