AUSTIN, Texas, July 5 (UPI) -- All nuts are good for the heart, but researchers found pistachios in a varied and balanced diet may reduce the risk of some cancers, a U.S. food expert says.
A study conducted by the University of Texas and Texas Women's University found the presence of gamma-tocopherol in pistachios -- a form of vitamin E -- is thought to be responsible for the benefits, said Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com.
"The researchers randomized the participants to either continue on their normal diets or to eat their normal diet plus 2 ounces -- approximately 100 kernels -- of pistachios per day," Lempert said in a statement. "After one month, the pistachio eaters had significantly higher levels of gamma-tocopherol in their blood as compared with the non-pistachio eaters."
Vitamin E is made up of a variety of fat-soluble vitamins, including gamma-tocopherol, that perform many functions in the body. Vitamin E-rich foods act as antioxidants, helping to prevent damage from free radicals, protect skin from ultraviolet light, and allow for proper cell communication.
"Pistachios are not only a good source of vitamin E, but are rich in B vitamins -- specifically B6, which is great for the nervous system and helps to promote proper breakdown of sugars and starches," Lempert said.
Pistachios contain iron, which enhances oxygen flow throughout the body and aids in proper immune function.