Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity And Catechins And Decrease Ldl Oxidation In Humans.
Frequent consumption of nuts is associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. We investigated the effect of pecans rich in monounsaturated fat as an alternative to the Step 1 diet in modifying serum lipids and lipoproteins in men and women with normal to moderately high serum cholesterol.
In a single-blind, randomized, controlled, crossover feeding study, we assigned 23 subjects (mean age: 38 y; 9 women, 14 men) to follow two diets, each for 4 wk: a Step I diet and a pecan-enriched diet (accomplished by proportionately reducing all food items in a Step I diet by one fifth for a 20% isoenergetic replacement with pecans). The percentage of energy from fat in the two diets was 28.3 and 39.6%, respectively.
Both diets improved the lipid profile; however, the pecan-enriched diet decreased both serum total and LDL cholesterol by 0.32 mmol/L (6.7 and 10.4%, respectively) and triglyceride by 0.14 mmol/L (11.1%) beyond the Step I diet, while increasing HDL cholesterol by 0.06 mmol/L (2.5 mg/dL).
Serum apolipoprotein B and lipoprotein(a) decreased by 11.6 and 11.1%, respectively, and apolipoprotein A1 increased by 2.2% when subjects consumed the pecan compared with the Step I diet. These differences were all significant (P < 0.05). A 20% isoenergetic replacement of a Step I diet with pecans favorably altered the serum lipid profile beyond the Step I diet, without increasing body weight.
Nuts such as pecans that are rich in monounsaturated fat may therefore be recommended as part of prescribed cholesterol-lowering diet of patients or habitual diet of healthy individuals.