You probably wouldn’t believe us if we told you a single food could trump the heart-healthy benefits of exercise.
But what if we back it up with some jaw-dropping science?
Researchers at the University of Georgia recently discovered that a diet rich in pecans might just be the best thing you can do for your heart. [R]
Now, before you dig into those toasted, candied pecans your wife brought home from Trader Joes, let’s clarify. We’re talking about raw pecans only, in their natural glory – loaded with protein, fiber, and a ton of healthy fat.
So, how many pecans are we talking?
Well- the researchers took 52 adults between the ages of 35 and 70 – all considered at high-risk for developing cardiovascular disease (i.e., a heart attack or stroke) – and divided them into three groups.
One group substituted a similar amount of calories from their diet for an equivalent amount of pecans.
The second group were given 68 grams of pecans to eat on top of what they were already eating (an extra 470 calories/day).
And the third group was a control – so they couldn’t eat any pecans (sucks for them!)
At the start of the study, researchers made participants to consume a high-fat meal.
The researchers then measured their blood lipid and blood glucose levels for future reference.
The two groups then consumed their allocated daily pecans for eight weeks before all of the participants were made to eat a high-fat meal again to compare blood results.
What they found is astonishing.
Researchers found that both groups of pecan-eating participants experienced pretty similar results, with an average 5% drop in total cholesterol.
They also saw a significant reduction, around a 6-9% drop, in LDL (bad cholesterol).
For context, researchers referred to a previous meta-analysis of 51 exercise interventions designed to lower cholesterol that reported an average reduction of 1% in total cholesterol and 5% in LDL cholesterol.
So, do you believe us now!
Fasted blood sugar levels showed similar improvements among the 2 pecan groups, while post-meal blood sugars were lower in the group that substituted pecans.
Post-meal triglycerides were reduced in the group that ate the most pecans.
So – what’s the ultimate takeaway from this study?
Consider adding more pecans to your diet.