Munching a handful of pistachio nuts not only makes for a great snack but also a healthy one because it lowers the blood sugar level by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates in the body, a study said.
"Pistachio, when eaten with high carbohydrate food items like white bread, may actually slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the body, resulting in a lower than expected blood sugar level," said a statement on a study conducted by the University of Toronto.
"Therefore, these nuts can help control diabetes in a country like India where 40 million people suffer from the disease. This figure is likely to go up to 80 million by 2025," the statement added.
Cyril Kendall, lead researcher of the study, said: "Controlling blood glucose level is important for preventing and controlling diabetes. Our preliminary findings demonstrate that suppressing the glycemic (blood sugar) response of high carbohydrate foods may be part of the mechanism by which pistachio contributes to the prevention and control of diabetes."
The study further found that pistachio helps control the appetite by controlling hunger stimulating hormones - thus improving long-term blood sugar control.
According to an India-US study, there are about 2.98 million people suffering from diabetes in Delhi alone.
Health expert R.R. Kasliwal said: "In the past five decades, the rate of coronary disease among urban population has more than doubled from four to 11 percent. The situation is of concern in India where more and more young people are getting affected by heart diseases."
"The mono-unsaturated fat in pistachio has been scientifically proven to help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase the good cholesterol (HDL) which protects the heart," he added.