Pistachios are not only tasty and fun to eat, they are also super healthy. Technically it is like a fruit; these edible seeds from Pistacia Vera also contain healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. They also contain several essential nutrients and have benefits for weight loss, also for the heart and intestinal health. Interestingly, people have been eating pistachios since 7,000 years BC Today; they are very popular in many dishes, including ice cream and desserts.
1. It is Loaded with Nutrients:
Pistachios are very nutritious; with a serving of an ounce (28 grams) about 49 pistachios contain the following nutritional value:
- Carbohydrates: 8 grams
- Fiber:3 grams
- Protein:6 grams
- Fat:12 grams (90% are healthy fats)
- Potassium:8% of the RDI (Recommended daily intake)
- Phosphorus:14% of the IDR
- Vitamin B6:24% of the RDI
- Thiamine:16% of the RDI
- Copper:18% of the IDR
- Manganese:17% of the IDR
It should be noted that pistachios are one of the richest foods in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is important for several functions, including blood sugar regulation and the formation of hemoglobin, which is a molecule that carries oxygen in the red blood cells. Pistachios are also rich in potassium; an ounce contains more potassium than half of a large banana.
Summary: Pistachios are rich in protein, fiber and antioxidants. They also have several other important nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium.
2. High Antioxidant Content:
Antioxidants are vital for your health. They prevent cell damage and play a key role in reducing the risk of disease, such as cancer. Pistachios contain more antioxidants than most nuts and seeds. In fact, only pecans and walnuts contain more antioxidants. In a four-week study, participants who ate one or two servings of pistachios per day had higher levels of lutein and gamma-tocopherol (Œ≥-Tocopherol), compared to participants who did not eat pistachios. Among nuts, pistachios have the highest content of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are very important antioxidants for eye health. They protect the eyes against damage caused by blue light and age-related retinal macular degeneration, a condition in which central vision is altered or lost. In addition, two of the most abundant antioxidants in pistachios – polyphenols and tocopherols – can help protect against cancer and heart disease. Interestingly, it has been shown that antioxidants in pistachios are very accessible in the stomach and, therefore, are more likely to be absorbed during digestion.
Summary: Pistachios are among the richest nuts in antioxidants. They are high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.
3. Low in Calories but Rich in Protein:
While eating nuts has many health benefits, they are typically high in calories. Fortunately, pistachios are among the lowest calorie nuts. An ounce (28 grams) of pistachios contains 156 calories, compared to 183 calories that pecans have and 193 calories that pecan nuts have. Apart from the content of proteins that comprise approximately 20% of their weight, pistachios are in second place, with almonds being first when it comes to protein content. They also have a higher proportion of essential amino acids, which are the basic components of the protein, than any other nut. These amino acids are considered essential because your body cannot manufacture them, so it has to be obtained through food. Meanwhile, other amino acids are considered semi-essential, which means they may be essential in certain circumstances, depending on the health of the individual. One of these semi-essential amino acids is L-arginine, which represents 2% of the amino acids in pistachios. It becomes nitric oxide in the body, which is a compound that causes your blood vessels to dilate, helping with blood flow.
Summary: Pistachios have fewer calories and more protein than most other nuts. In addition, its essential amino acid content is greater than any other nut.
4. It can Help You Lose Weight:
Despite being an energy dense food, nuts are one of the most friendly foods with weight loss on the planet. While few studies have examined the effects of pistachios on weight, those that exist are promising.
“Pistachios are rich in fiber and protein, which increase satiety by helping you feel full so you can eat less”.
In a 12-week weight loss program, those who ate 1.9 ounces (53 grams) of pistachios per day as a snack had twice the reduction in body mass index than those who ate 2 ounces (56 grams) of Bretzel a day. On the other hand, another 24-week study in overweight people showed that those who consumed 20% of pistachio calories lost 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) more from their waistlines than those who did not eat pistachios. One factor that possibly contributes to the weight loss properties of pistachios is that their fat content may not be fully absorbed. In fact, studies have shown the poor absorption of fats from nuts. This is because part of its fat content gets stuck inside its cell walls, preventing it from being digested in the intestine. What’s more, eating pistachios with husks is good to eat consciously without abusing, since peeling nuts takes time and slows eating. In addition, the remaining shells also give you a visual clue of how many nuts you have eaten. One study showed that people who ate pistachios in shells consumed 41% less calories than those who ate pistachios without shells.
Summary: Eating pistachio can help you lose weight. Pistachio nuts in shell are especially beneficial, as they promote conscious eating.
5. Help Healthy Intestinal Bacteria:
Pistachios are rich in fiber, a portion of pistachios contains 3 grams of fibers. The fiber mostly moves through the digestive system without digesting. But some types of fiber are digested by healthy bacteria in the intestine, acting as prebiotics. The intestinal bacteria after fermenting the fiber convert it into short chain fatty acids, which can have several health benefits, including a lower risk of developing digestive disorders, cancer and heart disease. Butyrate is perhaps the most beneficial of these short chain fatty acids. Eating pistachios has been shown to increase the number of butyrate producing bacteria in the intestine rather than eating almonds.
Summary: Pistachios are rich in fiber, which is good for beneficial intestinal bacteria. Eating pistachios can increase the number of bacteria that produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids such as butyrate.
6. It can Lower Cholesterol and Blood Pressure:
Pistachios can reduce the risk of heart disease in several ways. In addition to being rich in antioxidants, pistachios can reduce blood cholesterol and improve blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact, several studies have shown the effects of pistachios on cholesterol reduction. Many studies on pistachios and blood lipids are done by replacing part of the calories in a regular diet with pistachios. Up to 67% of these studies have shown reductions in total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol LBD (low density lipoprotein) also increased “good” cholesterol LAD (high density lipoprotein). Meanwhile, none of these studies showed that eating pistachios negatively affected the lipid profile in the blood. A four-week study in people with high cholesterol LAD had participants who consumed 10% of their daily calories from pistachios. The study showed that the diet reduced LBD cholesterol by 9%. What’s more, a diet consisting of 20% of pistachio calories reduced LBD cholesterol by 12%.
In another study, 32 young men followed a Mediterranean diet for four weeks. In that diet, pistachios were substituted for monounsaturated fat, about 20% of the daily caloric intake. After four weeks of diet, they experienced a 23% reduction in LBD cholesterol, a 21% reduction in total cholesterol and a 14% reduction in triglycerides. In addition, pistachios seem to lower blood pressure more than other nuts. A review of 21 studies found that eating pistachios reduced high blood pressure by 1.82 mm / Hg, while low blood pressure was reduced by 0.8 mm / Hg.
Summary: Studies show that eating pistachios can help lower blood cholesterol. It can also lower blood pressure more than other nuts.
7. It can Benefit Your Blood Vessels:
The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels. It is important that it works properly, since endothelial dysfunction is a risk factor for heart disease. Vasodilation is the widening or dilation of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by reduced vasodilation, which decreases blood flow. Nitric oxide is a compound that plays an important role in vasodilation. It causes the blood vessels to expand pointing to the smooth cells in the endothelium to relax. Pista’s are a great source of the amino acid L-arginine, which is converted into nitric oxide in the body. Therefore, these small nuts can play an important role in improving the health of blood vessels. A study in 42 patients who consumed 1.5 ounces (40 grams) of pista a day for three months showed improvements in markers of endothelial function and vascular stiffness. Another four-week study had 32 healthy young men consuming a diet consisting of 20% of pistachio calories. It was found that endothelial-dependent vasodilation improved by 30%, compared to those who followed a Mediterranean diet. Adequate blood flow is important for many bodily functions, including erectile function. In one study, men with erectile dysfunction experienced 50% improvement in the parameters of erectile function after eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of pistachios a day for three weeks. But you have to keep in mind that 100 grams is a large portion of pistachios, which contains about 557 calories.
Summary: Pistachios can play an important role in improving the health of blood vessels. That is because they are rich in L-arginine, which, when converted to nitric oxide, helps to dilate your blood vessels.
8. It can Help Lower Blood Sugar:
Despite having a higher carbohydrate content than most nuts, pistachios have a low glycemic index, which means they do not cause a large increase in blood sugar. Perhaps not surprisingly, studies have shown that eating pista’s can have beneficial effects on blood sugar. One study showed that when 2 ounces (56 grams) of pistachios were added to a carbohydrate-rich diet, the blood sugar response after a meal was reduced by 20-30% in healthy individuals. In another controlled study, people with type 2 diabetes showed a 9% reduction in fasting blood sugar after eating 0.9 ounces (25 grams) of pistachios as a snack twice a day for 12 weeks. In addition to being rich in fiber and healthy fats, pista’s are rich in antioxidants, magnesium, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, all of which are beneficial for blood sugar control. Therefore, simply adding pista nuts to your diet can help control your blood sugar levels in the long term.
Summary: Pistachios have a low glycemic index, which could promote lower blood sugar levels.
9. Delicious and Fun to Eat:
Pistachios can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. These include as an appetizer, salad garnish, pizza topping or even baking, adding a beautiful green or purple color to various desserts and dishes. Some delicious and green desserts include pistachio gelato or cheesecake. And, like other nuts, they can be used to make pesto or nut butter. You can even try sprinkling pistachios on your favorite baked fish, adding to your morning granola or making your own dessert crust. Last but not least, pistachios can be enjoyed by themselves as a convenient, tasty and healthy snack.
Summary: In addition to being a good snack, pistachios can be used in baking and cooking, adding a green or purple color to various dishes.
Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium. Its health benefits may include a healthier intestine, lowering cholesterol and blood sugar, in addition to promoting weight loss and the health of the eyes and blood vessels. In addition, they are delicious, versatile and fun to eat. For most people, adding pistachios to the diet is a great way to improve overall health.