Comprehensive guide on pistachios | Health benefits, Facts, Common Questions
Pistachio is one of the super healthy nuts that has many benefits to the body. Pistachios are the seeds of a tree called Pistacia vera. These seeds have been consumed since 7000 BC, and always have been used in different dishes. Pistachios are packed with lots of vitamins, minerals, and essentials for the body. In this post, you can find out all you need to know about the benefits of pistachios.
Health Benefits of pistachios
1. Great source of protein
Pistachios are rich in protein, which is essential in the body to build and repair tissues. Protein can also help the body build bones, muscles, skin, cartilage, and blood. Protein compromises almost 20% of pistachios’ weight, and every serving (one ounce) of pistachios contains almost 6 grams of protein. Although, based on a post published on the Harvard website, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein depends on body weight, an average adult might need to take almost 60 grams of protein in a day. Pistachios intake can help you reach this amount. Moreover, it can be more helpful for kids who may need less amount of protein intake in a day.
Additionally, pistachios are so beneficial for athletes. They exercise and burn fat, and eating pistachios after a workout can help their body build muscles and shape their body.
2. Low in calories
Pistachios are low in calories compared to other nuts. Every 28 grams of pistachios contains 159 calories, which puts pistachios in the list of the lowest-calorie nuts. That’s another great reason why pistachios are good for athletes. They can eat this nut without being afraid of taking too much calories.
3. Pistachios are heart-healthy
One of the benefits of pistachios is that this nut is heart-healthy. Pistachios are high in fat. However, most of this fat is unsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats. This nut also contains no cholesterol. Therefore, consuming this nut can reduce the risk of heart diseases by lowering cholesterol levels, and improving blood pressure. A study on 28 people showed an almost 10% reduction in LDL (or bad) cholesterol.
One of the other benefits of pistachios for the heart is that they may promote blood vessel health. Pistachios are rich in amino acid L-arginine. When you eat pistachios, this amino acid is converted to nitric oxide, which plays an important role in vasodilation. Therefore, consuming pistachios will prevent blood vessels from being clogged, which is one of the main reasons that lead to heart stroke.
4. Weight-loss friendly nut
Some might believe that since nuts are high in calories, they may make you fat. Thus, they avoid eating pistachios. Although eating too many pistachios may lead to weight gain, consuming them as a part of a healthful and calorie-controlled diet won’t lead to this result. One of the benefits of pistachios for the body is that this nut can help you lose weight. The high amount of fiber and protein in pistachio increases the feeling of fullness. Therefore, you eat less and won’t feel hungry soon, and may avoid eating unhealthy snacks during the day.
5. Promote healthy gut bacteria
Every 28 grams (equal to one ounce) of pistachios hold 3 grams of fiber, which makes pistachio a high-fiber nut. Fiber is good for the digestive system because it helps the food move through the gut and supports a healthy digestive system. This will also prevent constipation and crowd out harmful bacteria from the gut.
A research in 2012 shows people who take more pistachios during the day have a more healthful digestive system and more helpful gut bacteria.
6. High in anti-oxidants
Antioxidants can help the body by preventing cell damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as cancer. Nuts, generally, are loaded with different antioxidants, and pistachios are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts. The antioxidants in pistachios give this nut anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, antioxidants protect the cells against free radicals, which may cause different diseases such as cancer or heart problems.
7. Good for eye health
Among the antioxidants in pistachios, lutein and zeaxanthin are the ones that can protect the eyes from damages caused by blue light or related to age, such as AMD and cataracts, which are the main causes of blindness in most countries. Therefore, adding pistachios to your diet can improve your eyesight and prevent these eye diseases from developing.
8. Maintain blood sugar balance
Pistachio is a low-carb nut. The carbohydrates in this nut divide into dietary fiber and sugar. There are only 2 grams of sugar in every 28 grams of pistachios, which is too low to have any impact on the body. Moreover, pistachios have a low glycemic index (GI), which is a ranking that shows how foods affect blood glucose levels. Not only pistachios won’t raise blood sugar but also it may help lower it. Therefore, by adding pistachios to your diet you can manage your blood sugar levels.
9. Reduce the risks of colon cancer
One of the benefits of pistachios is its impact on colon cells. Since this nut is high in antioxidants, it can prevent cell damages and improve the immune system. Moreover, due to their high fiber content, which is beneficial to the digestive system, pistachios may reduce colon cancer risk by keeping the digestive system healthy.
10. Promote blood vessel health
Eating unhealthy and fatty foods will make blood vessels clogged, which may lead to heart strokes. Since the fat in pistachios is unsaturated fats, which considered healthy, eating pistachios on a regular basis won’t be harmful to your heart or blood vessels. The amino acids in pistachios help widening or dilate blood vessels, which can improve blood flow and let the heart work better. This is another great benefit of pistachios for the heart.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pistachios
Now that we learned about the benefits of pistachios, there are some questions that most people ask about this nut. They mostly want to know:
– Are pistachios good for diabetics?
– Are pistachios good for pregnant women?
– Are pistachios bad for dogs?
– Are pistachios keto-friendly?
– Raw or roasted pistachios: which one is better?
– How many pistachios we can eat per day?
– What are the side effects of eating too many pistachios?
– What to make with pistachios?
In this section of the article, we provide you with the answers to these questions.
Are pistachios good for diabetics?
As mentioned earlier, pistachios are high in calories, healthy fat, protein, and fiber. These characteristics make pistachios a super healthy nut, especially for people with diabetes type 2, who should control their sugar intake. Pistachios can maintain blood sugar in the body. Therefore, pistachios are good for diabetics. However, the way they consume this nut depends on the doctor’s recommendations.
Are pistachios good for pregnant women?
Pregnant women need to follow a special diet to help the development of the baby’s muscles and bones. Pistachios can help them in this way. Since this nut is high in protein, you can be sure that adding pistachios to your diet will not only improve your health but also help to develop the baby’s tissues and muscles. Moreover, one of the other benefits of pistachios during pregnancy is that since pistachios don’t have any cholesterol, and holds healthy fats, consuming it during pregnancy may lower bad cholesterol and balance lipid levels.
On the other hand, pregnant women should be careful about the number of pistachios they take during the day. Eating too many pistachios might have side effects, which might be worse during pregnancy. Therefore, follow your doctor’s recommendations about taking any nuts during pregnancy.
Are pistachios bad for dogs?
Some people might want to know if they can give pistachios to their dogs. In general, pistachios are not toxic for dogs. But, it depends on how many pistachios your dog indulges. Although the fats in pistachios are healthy, it is still not good for your dog because the way their digestive system reacts to fat is different from us. Therefore, eating more than one or two pistachios during the day might be harmful to your dog. You may notice some side effects, such as dehydration, diarrhea, and vomiting. Therefore, it is mostly not recommended to feed your dog with pistachios or any other nuts.
If you noticed your dog has eaten too many pistachios and is showing symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
Are pistachios keto-friendly?
Keto diet is referred to as a low-carb, high-fat diet. However, this diet should contain unsaturated fats. This diet, which is also a famous diet for people who want to lose weight, will lower the blood sugar and insulin levels. Therefore, it could also be a good diet for diabetics to follow. Pistachios are low-carb, high in protein and fiber, rich in vitamins, and high in unsaturated fat, which makes this nut an excellent option for the keto diet. Furthermore, vegetarians and vegans can also add pistachios to their diet because it’s natural and vegan. Therefore, no matter which weight-loss diet you are following, you can always count on pistachios as an exceptional food on your diet.
Roasted vs raw pistachios: which one is better?
Pistachios can be consumed raw, roasted, or cooked. Some may wonder which one is healthier and which one is more delicious. Generally, raw nuts are the healthfullest nuts because they have no added oil or salt or any other additives.
On the other hand, roasted pistachios might be more delicious to some people. Eating this creamy, roasted, and savory nut is so enjoyable that makes people love roasted pistachios more than raw pistachios. But you need to know that pistachios may part of their antioxidants and vitamins during the process of roasting. Although that’s not too much and roasted pistachios are still healthful, it is mostly recommended to add raw pistachios instead of roasted pistachios to your diet. However, you can always break the rule and make roasted pistachios at home with less oil and no additives.
How many pistachios can we eat in a day?
Although pistachios are so beneficial, eating too many of them is not healthy. Since pistachios are high in calories, you need to take care of the number of pistachios you take during a day. Generally, it is recommended to eat no more than one ounce (equal to 28 grams or one serving) of nuts during the day. However, you can eat some of them more and some less. For pistachios, it’s recommended to eat no more than 30 grams of pistachios in a day. Moreover, it is also better to consume raw pistachios because roasted pistachios might still have more fat and fewer vitamins. Therefore, if you want to eat roasted pistachios, it’s better to reduce the number of pistachios you eat.
Furthermore, you need to take care of the amount of other pistachio-related products you consume during the day. Products like pistachios paste still carries a high amount of calories because it is made with so many pistachios. Thus, if you are eating pistachios and other nuts as a daily snack, be careful about the other high-calories products you may use during the day to avoid overtaking calories and gaining weight.
Side effects of eating too many pistachios in a day
We learned about the benefits of pistachios, but we need to know that even too much of a good thing might be bad. As mentioned earlier, pistachios are high in calories, eating too many of them may lead to weight gain. We should also know that like any other nuts, eating too many pistachios might have some side effects too. First of all, you may feel pain in your abdomen. Bloating and nausea are other symptoms of eating too many pistachios. Moreover, if you eat too many roasted and salted pistachios every day, you may face with high blood pressure or heart diseases. Therefore, you see how the rescuer of your heart can still be its enemy!
What to make with pistachios?
Pistachios can be consumed raw as an evening snack. You can also add this nut to your dishes, especially salads. If you want to use more of this nut, you can make pistachio paste, or pistachio butter at home and make several cakes, desserts, pistachio cookies, and many other delicious and fun dishes. You can find mouthwatering recipes with pistachios and pistachio paste on our website.
Pistachios nutrition facts (every 28 grams)
Pistachios calories: 159
Protein: 6 g
Total carbohydrates: 8 g
Dietary fiber: 2.9 g
Sugar: 2.2 g
Monounsaturated fat: 7 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 3.9 g
Vitamin B6: 25%
Fun facts you didn’t know about pistachios
- Italians were the first people who added pistachios to their recipes.
- Pistachios were among the most popular foods that cavemen have eaten. Today, it’s still so popular in the paleo diet.
- The colors in pistachios have a meaning. They show the antioxidants in these creamy and delicious nuts.
- Pistachios have as much protein as an egg.
- Pistachios kernels are inside hard shells, which crack as pistachios grow. The cracks on the shells make a smiley face for pistachios. That’s why some people call it a happy nut.
- Pistachio nut trees are mostly grown in Central Asia, such as Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Syria. These countries mostly have a climate that is optimal for growth.
Pistachios are one of the most popular and most expensive nuts you can find in the market. They are also very nutritious and beneficial to the body. Being heart-healthy, keto-friendly, rich in antioxidants, high in protein and fiber are some of the benefits of pistachios. However, eating too many pistachios might be harmful. Therefore, it’s very important to follow a healthy diet containing pistachios and other nuts. Adding pistachios to your diet can improve your overall health.
PS: The content on this page are gathered from different websites, such as healthline and medicalnewstoday websites. Ratinkhosh doesn’t have any claim on the accuracy of this information. We can only recommend you to ask a doctor about consuming pistachios or other nuts if you have any health issues.