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Pistachios are known as the heart-healthy choice of nuts, with their high levels of soluble fiber. Its benefits to your health have been touted for many years now, and a recent study claims pistachios may help fight diabetes. But it’s not just about the nuts’ cholesterol or its healthy fats: Pistachio nutrition facts reveal that these crunchy treats also provide plenty of plant-based protein, vitamin E, and phosphorus.
It’s become almost difficult to spend a day without hearing about pistachios in recent years. You’ve probably seen celebrity endorsements for the delectable nuts in commercials. So, why are pistachios so — forgive the pun — popular? Most likely because pistachio nutrition is more healthy than most people realize.
Are pistachios good for you? Yes! Nutrient-dense pistachios rule supreme when it comes to nutritious snacks for weight reduction and weight management.
The bulk of the fat in pistachios (almost 90%) is healthy unsaturated fat, offering several health benefits throughout the body. For example, studies have shown that its good fats and minerals may help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve eye health, and more.
Pistachios: What Are They?
What precisely is pistachio? It’s a nut with a hard egg-shaped shell on the outside, and a delectable kernel within that’s popular as a snack. Pistachio trees have been cultivated in the Middle East for thousands of years and are regarded as a delicacy.
You’re probably not shocked if you’ve ever had a pistachio. Pistachios are a great choice for both taste and health because of their flavor and delicious combination of healthy fat, fiber, and protein.
The edible nut originates from the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera), which is native to western Asia and Asia Minor and may still be found growing wild in a variety of hot, arid places such as Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iran, Iraq, India, Southern Europe, and Asia and Africa’s desert nations. The pistachio (which we all know and adore) is the only edible species in the Pistacia genus, which has 11 species.
The nutritional value of pistachios is very remarkable. They’re chock-full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, thiamine, potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron, to name a few. In addition, pistachios are low in trans fat and cholesterol and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
One ounce of pistachios, or 49 kernels, is a standard serving size. Pistachio nutrition provides the following healthful nutrients when you eat 1 ounce of raw pistachios:
- Calorie Count: 159
- Carbs: 7.7 grams
- Protein: 5.7 grams
- Fat: 12.9 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Vitamin B6: 0.5 milligrams (25 percent DV)
- Thiamine: 0.3 milligrams (20 percent DV)
- Copper: 0.4 milligrams (20 percent DV)
- Potassium: 291 milligrams (8.3 percent DV)
- Magnesium: 34 milligrams (8.5 percent DV)
- Iron: 1.1 milligrams (6.1 percent DV)
- Zinc: 0.6 milligrams (4 percent DV)
- Folate: 14 micrograms (3.5 percent DV)
- Calcium: 30 milligrams (3 percent DV)
- Vitamin A: 146 international units (2.9 percent DV)
- Vitamin C: 1.6 milligrams (2.7 percent DV)
- Vitamin E: 0.8 milligrams (2.7 percent DV)
- Niacin: 0.4 milligram (2 percent DV)
Pistachios are high in vitamin B6, which may help you feel more energized, enhance your skin and eye health, and support a healthy metabolism.
Nutritional pistachios have been demonstrated to have a significant favorable impact on the following:
1. Cholesterol and Cardiovascular Health
Pistachios’ role as cholesterol-lowering foods was validated in a research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers looked at 28 persons who had LDL cholesterol levels that were over the recommended limit but were otherwise healthy. The experimental diets included a lower-fat control diet with no pistachios, a healthy diet with one serving of pistachios per day, and a healthy diet with two servings of pistachios per day. Pistachio consumption reduced LDL levels in all subjects.
The research found that adding as little as one serving of pistachios per day (10 percent of total energy) to a heart-healthy diet reduced LDL cholesterol by 9%. In contrast, a greater daily dosage (two servings) of pistachios reduced LDL cholesterol by 12%.
Because high LDL is a key risk factor for coronary heart disease, reducing your LDL may help you avoid severe heart issues, including coronary heart disease. In addition, pistachios are also high in antioxidants, which are good for your heart.
2. Weight Management
Pistachios are a nutritious snack that may help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. The beneficial fats, fiber, and protein in pistachio nutrition might help you avoid hunger between meals by nibbling on a serving between meals. Pistachios may also help you not feel so hungry before your next meal since they help you attain fullness.
Subjects who substituted pistachio nuts for candy bars, dairy products, microwave popcorn, buttered popcorn, and potato chips for three weeks, with pistachios accounting for 20% of total calories, did not gain weight, had lower overall cholesterol, and increased good cholesterol, according to UCLA School of Medicine research.
3. Optical Health
Pistachios are the only nuts that contain considerable amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids. Dietary carotenoids are thought to help the body’s health by lowering the risk of illness, including cancer and eye disorders.
The only carotenoids detected in the retina and lens of the eye are lutein and zeaxanthin. In addition, epidemiological studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin-rich diets may help delay the progression of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Carotenoids are best absorbed when eaten with fat. In the case of pistachio nutrition, beneficial fat is already included, making it simpler for the body to absorb the lutein and zeaxanthin found in pistachios.
4. Sexual Activity
Men’s sexual energy has been found to benefit from pistachio consumption. In a 2011 research, individuals were given 100 grams of pistachio nuts at lunch every day for three weeks by the Department of 2nd Urology at Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital in Turkey, which accounted for 20% of their daily calorie intake.
These were all married males between the ages of 38 and 59 who had been suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED) for at least 12 months previous to the research. The men were told to keep their regular nutritional consumption, physical activity, and other lifestyle behaviors the same, with the exception of adding pistachios to their meals.
The findings of the research, which were published in the International Journal of Impotence Research, revealed that these men with ED improved their erectile function as well as their serum lipid levels.
The fact that pistachio nuts are relatively high in the nonessential amino acid arginine, which appears to maintain flexible arteries and enhance blood flow by increasing nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes blood vessels, is one reason they’re likely to help ED and work as a natural remedy for impotence.
5. Diabetic complications
The effects of daily pistachio intake on the lipid/lipoprotein profile, blood sugar management, inflammatory indicators, and circulation of persons with type 2 diabetes were investigated in a research published in 2015 by Pennsylvania State University. Participants ate nutritionally appropriate meals without pistachios or 20 percent of their daily calorie intake with pistachios.
Although the pistachio diet had no impact on glucose management, it did positively affect total cholesterol, cholesterol ratios, and triglycerides, according to the findings. Diabetes puts you at a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Suppose people with type 2 diabetes consume pistachios regularly as part of an overall balanced diet. In that case, they may be able to reduce their cardiometabolic risk factors and avoid significant heart problems.
Facts to Ponder
- The USDA Plant Exploration Service introduced the pistachio to the United States in 1890.
- The cashew, mango, poison ivy, poison oak, pepper tree, and sumac are all relatives of the pistachio.
- Pistachios thrive in climates with long, hot, dry summers and mild winters.
- It takes roughly 10 to 12 years for a pistachio tree to produce its first harvest.
- Is it possible to find red pistachios? There is no such thing as a red pistachio, of course. Pistachios were formerly painted red to hide flaws in the shell and make the nuts more noticeable in vending machines. Pistachios are seldom colored red or any other color nowadays, which is a good thing.
- If you’ve ever eaten pistachios in their shells, you’re probably acquainted with the aggravating experience of encountering a pistachio or two with a closed shell. With human fingers, they are often difficult to open. However, this firmly closed-shell indicates that the nut within is not yet completely ripe. On the other hand, the shell of pistachios that are ready to eat is open.
- Pistachios have a special day of the year dedicated to them! The 26th of February is National Pistachio Day.
How to Make Use of
Pistachios are a year-round item that can be found in most supermarkets and health food shops.
The yellow-green and purple hues of high-quality pistachio kernels may be detected. Buying pistachios in their shells is a smart idea since they will keep fresher for longer. Pistachios in their shells may last up to a year after being harvested, but they should be used within four months for the finest taste. Furthermore, if you purchase pistachios in their shells, you will have to work a bit harder to consume them, which will assist you in avoiding overindulging.
Pistachio nuts absorb moisture from the air and rapidly get stale if not kept correctly. Therefore, pistachios should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for the best freshness.
Pistachios are delicious on their own or in a variety of dishes. They may be eaten whole in a nutritious salad or added to a handmade bar, crushed and put to smoothies, stir-fries, or even used as a crust or topping for fish.
Side Effects and Risks
You should probably stay away from pistachios if you have a tree nut allergy. If you have any of the signs of a nut allergy, you should stop eating pistachios and seek medical help if necessary.
Pistachio nuts have relatively low sodium levels in their natural state. However, roasted and salted pistachios include a large quantity of sodium, which might raise blood pressure if you already have hypertension or eat too many nuts.
While eating pistachios in modest amounts as part of a balanced diet might aid weight loss, they are not a low-calorie item. However, regularly consuming them in large quantities, pistachios may contribute to weight gain.
If you respond to a fructans component, they might cause gastrointestinal problems. Fructans are present naturally in many healthful foods and are not harmful, although they might cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and stomach discomfort in certain people.
- One ounce of pistachios, or 49 kernels, is a standard serving size.
- Pistachios should be purchased unsalted in their shells.
- The nutritional value of pistachios is outstanding, with high quantities of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Vitamin B6, thiamine, and copper are all abundant in pistachios.
- They make a nutritious and tasty snacks on their own, but they may also be used in a variety of nutritional dishes.
- Pistachio nutrition may help you lower your cholesterol, lose weight, enhance your vision, and increase your sexual performance.
- Pistachios are a good nut to eat if you have diabetes.
- Pistachio is a particularly fulfilling snack for individuals of all ages since it contains protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Frequently Asked Question
What is the healthiest way to eat pistachios?
A: The best way to enjoy pistachios is by roasting them yourself. This can be done in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until they start smelling like roasted nuts.
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