FRESNO, CA – January 23, 2018 — Three recent studies are giving pistachio lovers new reasons to reach for a handful of nuts while at work, and in particular, pistachios. Adding to an increasing volume of research around the health benefits of pistachios, one study and a national survey in the U.S. suggest a snack of pistachios might boost brain power and concentration levels at work. And for anyone reluctant to add nut calories to their daily routine, a French study showed that adding a daily pistachio snack to an existing diet is not likely to cause weight gain, yet it could add important nutrients you might be missing now.
Pistachios helped office workers stay focused until lunchtime
In a national survey, 1,000 American office workers who skipped breakfast consumed a snack of 42 grams (1 ½ serving size) of pistachios between 9am and 11am. Of the participants, 92 percent of the participants said they are “distracted from their tasks at work due to hunger before lunch.” Eighty percent said they usually get hungry in the mornings before lunch and think about food, often or every day.
The midmorning snack of pistachios proved to be just what they needed to power through the morning. Ninety-two percent of the participants reported the pistachio snack helped improve their concentration at work as stated in the study, “somewhat or greatly”.
That’s not surprising, according to Dr. Mike Roussell, nutrition expert and advisor to Men’s Health and SELF magazines. “Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, but even with a good breakfast and lunch, hunger pangs and stress driven hunger can be distracting, leading to unhealthy snacking habits.”
Dr. Roussell continued, “Pistachios are an ideal midmorning or midafternoon snack because of their unique nutrient package that not only promotes feelings of fullness and satiation but newer studies show that it can promote an optimal mental state and more focus at work. Not to mention that pistachios are a healthy snack that you will look forwarding to eating day in and day out."
Increasingly, people with desk jobs are looking for a healthier snack alternative to the usual donuts and vending machine fare. Ninety percent of the survey’s participants said they believe the snack of pistachios is healthier than their usual snack. The study involved office workers in the Northeast, South, Midwest and Western United States who snack at their desk two or more times a week at midmorning.
Pistachios may have a role in improved brain function
Being alert and successful during the workday starts with a good sleep the night before. Loma Linda University (LLU) researchers found that eating nuts on a regular basis enhances brainwave frequencies associated with cognition, learning, memory, recall and other key brain functions. While the research studied multiple nuts, pistachios produced the greatest gamma wave response, which is critical for enhancing cognitive processing, information retention, learning, and perception1.
Electroencephalograms (EEG) were taken to measure the strength of brainwave signals. EEG wave band activity was then recorded from nine regions of the scalp associated with cerebral cortical function, the researchers explained.
“This study provides significant beneficial findings by demonstrating that nuts are as good for your brain as they are for the rest of your body,” said the study’s principal investigator, Lee Berk, DrPH, MPH, associate dean for research at the LLU School of Allied Health Professions, in an interview featured in the November 2017 issue of LLU’s publication, TODAY. An abstract of the study2 was presented at Experimental Biology 2017 in San Diego, California, and published in the FASEB Journal.
A daily snack for a trim waist & added nutrients
Anyone searching for a filling snack that offers healthful nutrition, but doesn’t lead to unwanted weight gain, may want to take a fresh look at pistachios. A recent study3 conducted by the Institut Paul Bocuse in the foodie capitol of Lyon, France uncovered positive results.
During a four-week period, French women were divided into two groups, one group snacked on a protein biscuit popularized as a healthy snack, while the second group consumed roasted pistachios (California origin). The snacks were matched for calories and protein content. Importantly, the snacks (about 315 calories each) were added to their usual daily food intake. Food records were taken from the study subjects and anthropometric measurements (such as weight and waist circumference) were taken at the fourth week.
While the weight of the participants did not change for either group, the pistachio group trended toward a reduction in waist size after four weeks. Body fat measurements remained stable in the pistachio snackers, but it rose slightly in the control group. Unlike the “healthy protein biscuit” snack, those who ate pistachios for four weeks increased their consumption of nutrients important to women and men alike, such as thiamin, vitamin B6, copper and potassium.
The workplace snacking survey and health benefit studies add to a growing base of pistachio research, solidifying that pistachios have all the ideal qualities for a go-to snack. The workplace study was conducted by Focus Vision and supported by the American Pistachio Growers, a non-profit trade association representing more than 825 members in the western U.S. Pistachios used in the study were grown in the U.S. The Institut Paul Bocuse study was also supported by American Pistachio Growers and a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. None of the funding sources played a role in the collection, analysis or interpretation of the data. The Loma Linda University research was an independent study not funded by American Pistachio Growers.
1 Study Finds Consuming Nuts Strengthens Beneficial Brainwave Frequencies, Loma Linda University Health News https://news.llu.edu/research/study-finds-consuming-nuts-strengthens-ben...
2 Nuts and Brain Health: Nuts Increase EEG Power Spectral Density for Delta Frequency (1-3Hz) and Gamma Frequency (31-40 Hz) Associated with Deep Meditation, Empathy, Healing, as well as Neural Synchronization, enhanced Cognitive Processing, Recall, and Memory—All Beneficial for Brain Health. Berk, L., Lohman, E., Bains, G. et al. The FASEBJ., 31(1) Supplement 636.24 2017
3 Effects of a Daily Pistachio (Pistacia vera) Afternoon Gouter on Next Meal Energy Intake, Satiety, and Anthropometry in Healthy Women. Bellisle, F., Dougkas, A., Giboreau, A., et al. Presented at the Journee Francophones de Nutrition, Paris, December 14, 2017