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Pecans May Help Keep Arteries Healthy

March 2, 2011 by  

Pecans may help keep arteries healthyResearch that was recently published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating pecans may help lower levels of harmful LDL cholesterol due to the nut's antioxidant properties.

A team of scientists at Loma Linda University (LLU) tested the effects of pecans on 16 study participants and found that the nuts reduced LDL levels by about 30 percent as soon as two hours after consumption.

"Previous research has shown that pecans contain antioxidant factors. Our study shows these antioxidants are indeed absorbed in the body and provide a protective effect against diseases," said Ella Haddad, DrPH, associate professor of nutrition at LLU and study co-author.

Pecans are rich in a type of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol. The amount of this compound in the blood of participants was almost inversely proportionate to their levels of LDL, leading researchers to believe that vitamin E was responsible for the cholesterol-lowering effect.

LDL cholesterol has been known to cause inflammation in the arteries, a condition which may cause cardiovascular disease. Therefore, by lowering levels of this harmful substance, an individual may be successful in keeping their heart healthy. 

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