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12 Benefits Of Pistachio Nuts You Should Know Today

Reviewed By Registered Dietitian Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RDN
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12 Benefits Of Pistachio Nuts You Should Know Today November 27, 2018

Technically fruits, pistachios are seeds of the pistachio tree and contain healthy fats, fiber, protein, and antioxidants. In fact, people have been eating pistachios for over 9000 years. And there’s a reason for that. Read this post, and you will know what we are talking about.

Table Of Contents

How Are Pistachios Good For You?

Simple. They are loaded with nutrients. A 28-gram serving of pistachios contains good amounts of fiber, protein, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and manganese. They have a rich and nutty taste, and they contain other important nutrients too (which we will look at in a while).

The antioxidants in pistachios are some of the highest amongst nuts. All of these benefit human health in various ways – which is what we will see now.

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What Are The Benefits Of Pistachios?

1. Pistachios Improve Heart Health

Pistachios Improve Heart Health Pinit

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Research has shown that pistachios can contribute to heart-healthy fat, thereby preventing cardiovascular diseases. Pistachios can also lower bad cholesterol, and this cuts the risk of coronary heart disease by as much as 12% (1).

Pistachios also change how your blood pressure responds to stress – and in a good way. They lower the levels of lipoproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease (2). They also dilate your blood vessels (thanks to the amino acid, L-arginine), and this enhances blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

2. Aid Diabetes Treatment

Glucose and insulin levels were found to be lower post pistachio consumption, as per studies. The nuts also increase the levels of peptide 1, a hormone that regulates glucose levels in diabetics (3).

An Iranian study also states that dietary intake of pistachio nuts can have positive effects on glycemic control, blood pressure, inflammation, and even obesity in diabetes patients (4).

Did You Know?

Pistachio is known as the Smiling Nut in Iran and Happy Nut in China.

3. Enhance Gut Health

The fiber in pistachios does the trick here. It aids digestion and prevents constipation. The fiber in the nuts is also digested by the food bacteria in your stomach and hence acts as a prebiotic.

The gut bacteria ferment this fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids, which have several benefits. They prevent colon cancer and improve digestive health overall. Butyrate is one such beneficial short-chain fatty acid, and its consumption increases the number of good bacteria in the gut (5).

4. Pistachios Combat Inflammation

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As per the Arthritis Foundation, nuts like pistachios are rich in monounsaturated fat and protein – while the monounsaturated fat fights inflammation, protein builds strength (6).

Studies have concluded that the potent anti-inflammatory properties of pistachios can be put to great therapeutic use (7).

5. Pistachios Aid Weight Loss

The fiber in pistachios can keep you full for long periods – this keeps you from binging and contributes to healthy weight loss. Another nutrient with similar qualities is protein – it also keeps you satiated and reduces hunger pangs.

Studies have demonstrated how consuming pistachios can keep inches off your waist over time. Pistachios have beneficial effects on triglycerides as well. They can be consumed as a healthy snack to lose weight, without having to worry about their fat content (those are healthy fats, anyway!) (8).

6. Improve Vision Health

Pistachios have the highest amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin amongst all nuts. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the human retina, and taking enough of these antioxidants prevents vision issues like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts (9).

Some reports suggest that the healthy fatty acids in pistachios can also contribute to eye health – though we need more research on this.

Another important mineral in pistachios is zinc, which is a vital nutrient for the eyes.

7. Are Power Foods For Your Brain

Are Power Foods For Your Brain Pinit

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Pistachios, like most nuts, are amazing sources of vitamin E. The nutrient was found to prevent age-related cognitive decline.

Research has also shown that pistachios can stimulate brain frequencies more than other nuts. This is critical for enhancing cognitive performance, learning, information retention, and rapid eye movement during sleep (10).

Pistachio nut oil, just like the nut, can fight brain inflammation and even preserve the essential fatty acids in the brain. More interestingly, pistachios might have a role to play in protecting against disruptions in cognitive function due to anticancer drugs (11).

8. Boost Immunity

The zinc in pistachios is known to boost the immune system. This is also true with the vitamin B6 the nuts contain (12).

Did You Know?

Pistachios are the original prehistoric snacks. In fact, they are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible.

9. Enhance Sexual Health

Anecdotal evidence suggests that pistachios boost fertility. However, we need more research before we can conclude.

Studies show that pistachios can act as an aphrodisiac. Eating a handful of the nuts every day for three weeks was found to improve sex drive in men (13).

And the nuts’ arginine, phytosterol, and antioxidant content have also shown to treat erectile dysfunction.

10. Can Increase Estrogen Levels

Amongst nuts, pistachios have the highest amount of phytoestrogens. They can increase estrogen levels, which contribute to a regulated menstrual cycle and secondary sex characteristics.

11. Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Might Be Beneficial During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding Pinit

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Pistachios offer a healthy dose of several nutrients that are important during pregnancy. They can benefit breastfeeding mothers especially because of their ease of preparation. Busy nursing mothers can simply snack on pistachios as they are. It saves time and offers valuable nutrients.

12. Fight Premature Aging

The vitamin E in pistachios protects your skin from UV damage and delays the signs of premature aging. The copper in the nuts aids the production of elastin, which prevents the formation of wrinkles and treats sagging skin. And the vitamin B6 boosts the overall skin and hair health.

In a study, mice treated with vitamin E showed fewer signs of UV induced skin damage (14). As pistachios are good sources of vitamin E, they should help preserve skin health.

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That’s about the benefits of pistachios. Now, we get to the nutrients these nuts contain.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Pistachios? 

PRINCIPLENUTRIENT VALUEPERCENTAGE OF RDA
Energy557 Kcal29%
Carbohydrates27.97 g21.5%
Protein20.60 g37%
Total Fat44.44 g148%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber10.3g27%
VITAMINS
Folates51 µg13%
Niacin1.3 mg8%
Pantothenic acid0.520 mg10%
Pyridoxine1.7 mg131%
Riboflavin0.160 mg12%
Thiamin0.870 mg72.5%
Vitamin A553 IU18%
Vitamin C5 mg8%
Vitamin E-?22.60 mg150%
ELECTROLYTES
Sodium1 mg0%
Potassium1025 mg22%
MINERALS
Calcium107 mg11%
Copper1.3 mg144%
Iron4.15 mg52%
Magnesium121 mg30%
Manganese1.2 mg52%
Phosphorus376 mg54%
Selenium7 µg13%
Zinc2.20 mg20%
PHYTO-NUTRIENTS
Carotene-ß332 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin1160 µg

Conclusion

We hope you now understand why pistachios have been consumed for over 9000 years. Because they are totally terrific. Include them in your diet – you can make them a part of your evening snack.

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And tell us how this post has helped you. Just leave a comment in the box below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How to eat pistachios?

You can crack open the shell and eat the nut. Or you can also first suck the salty exterior of the shell before opening it up.

How long do pistachios last?

If you are storing them only for a few days, you can place the nuts in resealable bags and store them in the kitchen. For longer periods, place the nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Why are pistachios so expensive?

The pistachio trees have two requirements to grow – cool winters, and long hot summers with low humidity. These limit the areas they can be grown in, making them quite expensive.

How to tell if pistachios are bad?

Bad pistachios usually taste horribly sour.

How many pistachios should I have per day?

You can have 1.5 ounces to 3 ounces per day, which translates to one to two handfuls. About 30 pistachios contain 100 calories.

What are the side effects of pistachios?

Consuming too many pistachios can lead to weight gain. And though they are naturally low in sodium, the roasted ones can have high amounts of salt – and eating too many of those can elevate the blood pressure levels.

Also, if you react to a compound called fructans, pistachios can cause gastrointestinal troubles. Though not dangerous, fructans can cause constipation, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Are pistachio shells poisonous?

Though not poisonous, the shells are too hard to eat. They can damage your gums and even cause digestive issues.

References

1. “Pistachio nuts may improve heart health”. ScienceDaily.
2. “Pistachio nuts may lower cholesterol”. WebMD.
3. “Ah, nuts! Pistachios may lower diabetes risk…”. American Diabetes Association.
4. “Effects of pistachio nut consumption…”. US National Library of Medicine.
5. “Effects of almond and pistachio…”. US National Library of Medicine.
6. “Anti-inflammatory diet”. Arthritis Foundation.
7. “The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant…”. US National Library of Medicine.
8. “Pistachio nuts reduce triglycerides…”. US National Library of Medicine.
9. “Distribution of lutein and zeaxanthin…”. ScienceDirect.
10. “Consuming nuts strengthens brainwave function…”. ScienceDaily.
11. “Pistachio supplementation attenuates…”. US National Library of Medicine.
12. “3 reasons why pistachios can boost your health”. Cleveland Clinic.
13. “Eating pistachio nuts can boost...”. Mirror.
14. “Effects of topical and oral vitamin E”. US National Library of Medicine.

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