[PHNUTR-L] Pistachios and sesame seeds richest source of
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Fri Dec 16 07:48:10 PST 2005
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Pistachios and sesame seeds richest source of phytosterols
By Stephen Daniells
12/12/2005 - Pistachios and sesame seeds contain more
cholesterol-reducing compounds than most other nuts and seeds, according
to an extensive study.
“Given the many possible mechanisms of action of phytosterols on
cholesterol metabolism, it is important to have quantitative estimates
of total phytosterol content,” reported the team of researchers from
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Previous studies have shown that nuts and seeds are a rich source of
phytosterols, plant sterols with a chemical structure very similar to
cholesterol. When present in sufficient amounts, these compounds are
believed to reduce blood cholesterol, enhance the immune system and
decrease the risk of certain cancers.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
(Vol 53, pp. 9436-9445), is the most comprehensive analysis of nut and
seed varieties to date. Twenty-seven different products, including
American peanut butter, were evaluated and it was found that sesame
seeds and wheat germ contained the highest concentration of phytosterols
with over 400 mg per 100 g.
The list of products most commonly associated as snack foods was led by
pistachio nuts with 279 mg of phytosterols per 100 g, closely followed
by sunflower seed kernels (270 mg per 100 g). The lowest phytosterol
content was found in Brazil nuts and English walnuts (95 and 113 mg per
Smooth peanut butter contained, on average, a higher concentration of
phytosterols than the chunky variety, 135 versus 132 mg per 100 g.
Beta-sitosterol was the main phytosterol identified for all nut and seed
Conducted as part of the USDA's National Food and Nutrient Analysis
Program, the authors say the study is important for anyone involved in
the formulation of research diets, and development of dietary
recommendations related to the health impact of phytosterols.
Epidemiologists and clinical nutritionists can also draw on the new
research to achieve greater accuracy and reduce errors during the
multivariate correction of food surveys.
While the research was long overdue, it is uncertain how this will
affect the current sterol market. Global demand for phytosterols is
estimated to exceed 10,000 tons by 2008, giving a potential market value
of $200 to $250 million. Most plant sterols are currently extracted from
soybean, corn, and tall (pine tree) oil.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
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