The health benefits of pistachios may include a healthy heart, weight management, prevention of macular degeneration, and hypertension, as well as improved digestion. It can also boost blood, brain, and skin health.
What are Pistachios?
Pistachios are one of the oldest edible nuts and are commonly used in cooking and as snacks worldwide. Pistachio nuts belong to the Anacardiaceae family from the genus Pistacia, and a tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. They are drupe, where the fruit has a large seed in the center, which is edible. Pistachio nuts are not seasonal and are available all year long.
Pistachios are one of the few nuts that contain a well-rounded balance of nutrients, such as carbohydrates, protein, amino acids, fats, and dietary fiber. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, they are also rich in minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and sodium. They also provide you with essential vitamins like B-vitamins, vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as choline and betaine. Pistachios have a lower calorie and fat content compared to many other nuts and dry fruits of similar quantities.
Watch Video: 4 Surprising Benefits Of Pistachios
Health Benefits of Pistachios
The major health benefits of pistachios include:
Potential Antioxidant Properties
Even the shells of pistachios are found to contain a considerable amount of antioxidants, as per a study published in the Journal of Food Chemistry. Antioxidants may neutralize the free radicals that form in the body after cellular metabolism and increase the risk of conditions like cancer and heart disease.
May Promote Heart Health
Consuming pistachios regularly as part of a balanced diet can decrease the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, and unsaturated fatty acids are great for promoting a healthy heart. The nuts are also a potent source of an amino acid called l-arginine, which may prevent the hardening of arteries and the formation of blood clots.
|Serving Size :|
|Total lipid (fat) [g]||45.32|
|Carbohydrate, by difference [g]||27.17|
|Fiber, total dietary [g]||10.6|
|Sugars, total including NLEA [g]||7.66|
|Glucose (dextrose) [g]||0.32|
|Calcium, Ca [mg]||105|
|Iron, Fe [mg]||3.92|
|Magnesium, Mg [mg]||121|
|Phosphorus, P [mg]||490|
|Potassium, K [mg]||1025|
|Sodium, Na [mg]||1|
|Zinc, Zn [mg]||2.2|
|Copper, Cu [mg]||1.3|
|Manganese, Mn [mg]||1.2|
|Selenium, Se [µg]||7|
|Fluoride, F [µg]||3.4|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]||5.6|
|Pantothenic acid [mg]||0.52|
|Vitamin B-6 [mg]||1.7|
|Folate, total [µg]||51|
|Folate, food [µg]||51|
|Folate, DFE [µg]||51|
|Vitamin A, RAE [µg]||26|
|Carotene, beta [µg]||305|
|Carotene, alpha [µg]||10|
|Vitamin A, IU [IU]||516|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]||2903|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]||2.86|
|Tocopherol, gamma [mg]||20.41|
|Tocopherol, delta [mg]||0.8|
|Tocotrienol, gamma [mg]||1.67|
|Fatty acids, total saturated [g]||5.91|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]||23.26|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]||14.38|
|18:2 n-6 c,c [g]||14.09|
|Aspartic acid [g]||1.88|
|Glutamic acid [g]||4.3|
|Sources include : USDA|
May Aid in Weight Management
They are an optimal choice of people who are dieting. Pistachios, with their lower calories, high protein, low saturated fat, and high unsaturated fats, are a perfect contender for ideal weight management. Researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition, California have confirmed its weight management properties.
May Prevent Macular Disease or AMD
Pistachios contain carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help in reducing the risk of contracting an age-related macular disease in the elderly, as per the American Optometric Association.
May Aid in Digestion
One of their other health benefits is that they are a good source of dietary fiber, which aids in smooth digestion. A serving of about one ounce or 30 grams of pistachios contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber, more than enough to get your digestive tracts working at optimum capacity.
May Aid in Absorption of Iron
Pistachios have a high copper content, which helps in the higher absorption of iron into the body from food sources. This can help combat conditions like anemia as the hemoglobin count rises and increases blood flow.
May Aid in Skin Care
Pistachios may also help in eliminating dryness from the skin. Healthy fatty acid content plays a major role in this aspect. The fat also acts as a good carrier or base oil as it is used as an ingredient in traditional therapies like aromatherapy and traditional massage therapy.
Potential Aphrodisiac Properties
Pistachios can influence sexual vitality in men, according to the International Journal of Impotence Research. Studies have shown that those men who had a daily intake of about 100 grams of these nuts for three weeks improved their erectile function by around 50 percent. This was confirmed by ultrasound scans of blood flow in the penis.
May Control Diabetes
People with diabetes can benefit from diabetes. Antioxidants that may be present in pistachios help in reducing the process of glycation – when sugars form inappropriate bonds with proteins and make them unusable. It also controls blood sugar levels and blood pressure, according to a study cited in The Review of Diabetic Studies in 2014.
The presence of vitamin A, E and other vitamins possess potentially anti-inflammatory properties, meaning that incorporation of pistachios in the healthy diet help in reducing inflammation in almost any part of the body.
The possibly high amount of vitamin B6 present in pistachios helps in building the amino acids essential in transmitting nerve impulses. Thus, it can also play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
May Boost Immunity
Pistachios aid in boosting immunity due to the rich source of vitamin B6 present in them. They aid in building a strong immune system and helps in protecting the body against various infections.
Overconsumption of pistachios could cause side effects like:
- Weight Gain: While lower in calories and fat than most other nuts, moderation is still key. This high-protein nut can make you gain weight drastically if you consume more than the suggested count, daily.
- Blood Pressure: Consuming roasted pistachios seasoned with salt frequently will end up increasing your blood pressure.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: It may cause digestive distress if your body reacts to the compound fructans, present in pistachios. The side effects may include constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhea.
How to Select & Store?
Selecting: They can be bought from almost any grocery store. They are available in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. The shell of the nut protects it from physical damage and various infections. On the other hand, salted and sweetened pistachios may not be a good choice because of their high sodium and sugar content. The ideal way is to buy unshelled nuts, as they are in their natural form.
Storing: They must be stored in airtight containers in cool and dry places so that they can last for many months without spoiling.