Cardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death for Americans. (1) Science is now proving that we actually can die from a broken heart.

It’s true what they say, we can die of a broken heart!

Broken heart syndrome is also called stress-induced cardiomyopathy and can strike a person even if healthy. Women are more likely than men to experience this painful and intense chest pain. The chest pains have been shown to be a reaction to a sure of stress hormones caused by grief or shock. A study from George’s University found that 16 out of 10,000 people who lost their partners experienced heart attacks or strokes within 30 days of their partner’s dying compared to 8 out of 10,000 in the control group. Co-author of the study, Dr. Sunil Shah, reports that grief and loss can lead to changes in blood clotting, blood pressure and heart rate control. (2)

If experiencing grief, loss, or sudden stress studies are showing eating two servings of pistachios per day could protect the heart and improve vascular health.

Two servings of pistachios per day lowered vascular constriction in patients with diabetes

Shelia G. West, professor of biobehavioral health and nutritional sciences at Penn State reported, “In adults with diabetes, two servings of pistachios per day lowered vascular constriction during stress and improved neural control of the heart.” West and her colleagues completed a randomized, crossover study in which all meals were provided to the study participants. The two different diets contains the same number of calories. Each group was then given two different stress tests after the four week test diets. “After the pistachio diet, blood vessels remained more relaxed and open during the stress tests,” West said. (3)

Eating pistachios reduced cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation

A 2008 study from Penn State University, led by Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, reported that eating pistachios reduced cholesterol, blood pressure, and even reduced the genetic expression of genes related to inflammation. “Reducing inflammation at the cellular level is an important finding as it may be a more specific marker of inflammatory status than blood markers, which are general indicators of inflammation in the body,” said Dr. Sarah Gebauer, Penn State University. “We are truly excited about these results and what they mean for those at risk for cardiovascular disease.” (4)

Pistachio consumption had positive impact on those with erectile dysfunction

A 2011 study reported significant improvement in participants with erectile dysfunction after a three week pistachio diet. (5) Erectile dysfunction is a disorder of penile blood flow that is accompanied by conditions that affect vascular health such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol. Atherosclerosis in peripheral arteries contributes to impaired blood flow in those who suffer from erectile dysfunction. (6)

If facing a sudden loss or wanting to improve heart health associated with diabetes, cholesterol, blood pressure or even erectile dysfunction adding pistachios to your diet may help ensure vascular health.

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