A Brief History of Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio nuts have been used for thousands of years in holiday celebrations and festivals, a rich-tasting nut that add a unique flavor and taste to both sweet and salty dishes. Pistachios are still used generously in many Eastern dishes, and you’ll find the nuts in many desserts, appetizers, and even entrees.
They are known as the ‘smiling nut’ in Iran because of the shape of the shell, and they’re often shared with guests and visitors to extend hospitality. Turkey is the 4th largest producer of pistachios, while the U.S. reached number two.
What are the health benefits of pistachios?
It’s one of the oldest nuts around. The pistachio has been around since Biblical times and was even mentioned in the book of Genesis – one of only two nuts to receive this distinction. This small, tasty nut is a member of the cashew family and can be enjoyed either roasted or raw.
However, you choose to enjoy them -shelled, unshelled, roasted, or raw – the pistachio packs some powerful health benefits. It’s one snack you don’t have to feel guilty about munching on. What are the health benefits of pistachios?
1. Good for Your Eyes
Pistachios help to reduce the risk of macular degeneration, the most common cause of visual loss in older individuals. How does it do this? Pistachios are good sources of two important carotenoids, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
These compounds that help to ward off this common eye condition. Carotenoids are also strong antioxidants that help to offset cell injury and damage. A daily snack of pistachios could be a tasty and effective way to protect one of your most important senses – your vision.
2. Healthy Heart
Eating a handful of pistachios each day may be just what your heart needs to stay healthy. A study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease showed that volunteers who ate a diet with 20 percent of calories coming from pistachio nuts experienced cholesterol drops of around twelve percent.
They also experienced elevations in HDL, the good cholesterol, which helps to protect against heart disease. Pistachio nuts are a good source of two components that lower cholesterol and raise HDL – monounsaturated fats and phytosterols. Pistachios are one of the very best food sources of plant-based phytosterols around.
3. A Skinner Waistline?
Nuts, in general, are calorie-dense. They’re also filling due to their high fiber and monounsaturated fat content. Substituting pistachios for other high carb snacks is a good strategy for shedding a few pounds. Pistachios are less likely to promote fat storage because of their slow absorption and the stabilizing effect they have on blood sugars.
You also get more nuts per serving with pistachios than any other nut due to their small size. This means you end up eating less and still feel satisfied. Buying them shelled also reduces calorie intake since it takes time to de-shell them. Next time you’re tempted to reach for a bag of chips, think pistachios instead.
4. Full Antioxidants
Just a small handful of pistachios offer a healthy dose of fats, antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Antioxidants are essential for protecting skin and cells from aging and disease and are involved with removing toxins from the body. Good fats are important for healthy glowing skin and keeping the body in balance.
Getting enough dietary fat can reduce cravings and help suppress the appetite. Some studies suggest that pistachios can help manage high cholesterol levels by keeping arteries healthy. Researchers reported a positive effect on HDL levels in a study published in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases.
5. Herbal Tonics
Pistachios have been used for herbal tonics and treatments to treat a variety of diseases. Pistachio nut powder can be used to alleviate pain from a toothache, for example.
Modern-day uses of these nuts include cooking and baking, and pistachios are commonly found in many western desserts such as cakes, cookies, and even ice cream. Still, few people realize how healthy these nuts are.
6. Lose Weight
Nuts and seeds have long been hailed as health foods by fitness junkies, nutritionists, and bodybuilders, and nuts do offer plenty of health benefits. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Despite the high-fat content, nuts are a great snack that can be enjoyed every day in moderation.
Pistachios in particular are especially valuable in lowering cholesterol and helping you get enough healthy fat in your diet. If you’re looking for a few new snacks to add to your diet, consider these green gems for a treat you can benefit from in more ways than one.
How many Calories in Pistachios?
One cup of pistachios contains just over 700 calories and 57 grams of fat. It’s not low fat or low-calorie food, but a little goes a long way.
Pistachios provide plenty of dietary fiber and even protein, making them a valuable addition to your daily snack choices. Look for unsalted and organic varieties for the most nutritious and healthful choices.
Consuming nuts on a regularly. It can help keep your diet balanced. Pistachios are just one of many varieties that can help you achieve good health!
The Bottom Line
Eat more pistachios. They’re satisfying, filling, and good for your heart and eyes. Plus, they taste great too.