Could eating pistachios prevent cancer?

 
By • Published: February 15th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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What’s small and green, makes a mean ice cream flavor and packs enough vitamin E punch to potentially lower your risk for lung cancer? Yep, we’re talking about pistachios.

Over the years, scientists have linked eating this tasty nut to all kinds of health benefits, from lowering cholesterol to improving eye health. Now, researchers from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center say pistachios could help lower a person’s risk for developing certain types of cancer, too.

Apparently, pistachios are rich in a type of vitamin E called gamma tocopherol [toe kah fer all]. Getting plenty of this nutrient in your diet has been shown to protect against prostate cancer and may help reduce a person’s risk for lung cancer.

M.D. Anderson researchers tested whether eating pistachios could up a person’s levels of tocopherol. The patients in the study ate about two ounces of the nuts a day, basically about a handful. Just that small amount of pistachios was enough to significantly boost levels of this important form of vitamin E in study participants after only a few weeks.

Of course, pistachios aren’t the only foods rich in tocopherol. You can boost your intake of this important nutrient by munching on soybeans, peanuts, pecans and walnuts, too.

And there are other potential health benefits to eating pistachios. Studies have shown that pistachios are loaded with beneficial antioxidants and can help regulate blood sugar. Snacking on these nuts could help dieters stave off the munchies, too.

So next time you’re looking for a nutty snack, you might want to think about cracking open a few pistachios.