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All The Amazing Health Benefits Of Pistachios You Never Knew

Pistachios belong to the cashew family, a small tree originating in Central Asia and the Middle East. Pistachio is a nut, whose hard outer shell is removed and the kernel inside is consumed.

History of pistachios

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These nuts have been around for centuries, with archaeological evidence showing that they were around as early as 6,000BC. Mostly cultivated in Iraq, Iran, and Syria, these nuts were introduced to the Romans only in 100AD. The word pistachio is said to have come from the medieval Italian, pistacchio. Currently, pistachio growing is not limited to the Middles East, but includes countries like Turkey, China, Australia, the United States, among others.

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A pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. These nuts are not seasonal, which means they are available throughout the year. They come in various forms – shelled, unshelled, salted, or even sweetened. The outer shell is protective in nature, in that it protects the edible part of the nut from physical damage and infections. The ideal variety to buy and consume would be unshelled nuts, which are the least processed. Always store these nuts in sealed, airtight containers, in a cool, dry place. You can freeze pistachios for about a year too.

Why pistachios

Pistachios are popular as a healthy snack option, and are also used in various desserts and main dishes. Filled with several essential nutrients, pistachios have numerous health benefits, including and not limited to aiding in maintaining a healthy body weight and lowering the risk of heart problems.

Pistachios are filled with essential nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates, fats, dietary fibers, potassium, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin E, phosphorous, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, calcium, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, folate, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Since these nuts are packed with these vital nutrients, they are amazing for your health.

Nutritional facts about pistachios

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Pistachios are known to contain fewer calories and more potassium and vitamin K per serving than other nuts. That is, 100g of pistachios give you 562kcal of energy. Here’s the nutritional value breakup per 100g of raw serving:

  • Carbohydrates
    • 66g of sugars
    • 3g of dietary fibers
  • 27g of proteins
  • Vitamins
    • Vitamin B6 – 131% of daily value
    • Thiamine (B1) – 76% of daily value
    • Vitamin E – 15% of daily value
    • Riboflavin (B2) – 13% of daily value
    • Folate (B9) – 13% of daily value
    • Vitamin K – 13% of daily value
    • Pantothenic acid (B5) – 10% of daily value
  • Minerals
    • Phosphorous – 70% of daily value
    • Manganese – 57% of daily value
    • Magnesium – 34% of daily value
    • Iron – 30% of daily value
    • Zinc – 23% of daily value
    • Potassium – 22% of daily value
    • Copper – 20% of daily value
    • Calcium – 11% of daily value
  • 15g of fat

Health benefits of pistachios

Let’s take a look at the plethora of health benefits of pistachios that you never thought of, when you were munching on them!

1. Healthy heart

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One of the biggest health benefits of pistachios is that they boost heart health. Several studies suggest that consuming pistachios regularly can decrease LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) in the body. High levels of LDL is a known major risk factor for coronary heart disease. Loads of antioxidants, phytosterols, and unsaturated fatty acids (both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) present in pistachios are known to boost heart health.

2. Weight management

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Pistachios make for an amazing healthy snack to munch on between meals. Not only will these keep hunger pangs away for longer periods of time, the fiber, healthy fats, and proteins in pistachios will also help you lose weight as well as maintain a healthy weight. These help you feel fuller for longer, and won’t let you gain weight either.

3. Reduces inflammation

Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin E, all of which are known to reduce inflammation in the body, that may be caused due to various problems.

4. Eliminates dryness in the skin

The saturated fats present in the pistachio nuts helps in eliminating drying from the skin. These same fats also act as good carriers or base oil as an ingredient in aromatherapy and traditional massage therapy.

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5. Eye health

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The carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin are present in significant amounts in pistachios. These are believed to help reduce the risk of diseases, specifically certain types of cancers and eye diseases. These same two carotenoids are found in the retina and the lens of the eye, and a diet rich in these same carotenoids are known to help slow down age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

6. A known aphrodisiac

Several studies have suggested that pistachios can boost men’s sexual vitality. Men with ED have shown a significant improvement in their function. This is because of the presence of high levels of the nonessential amino acid arginine, which is known to maintain flexible arteries, while also enhancing blood flow by boosting nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a compound that relaxes the blood vessels.

7. Dietary fiber

Since 100g of raw pistachios contain about 10g of fiber, this helps in the smooth digestion of food. It helps keep the digestive tract working at optimum capacity for long.

8. Defense against diabetes

A diet rich in pistachios, although doesn’t affect glucose control, has shown a positive effect on total cholesterol, cholesterol ratios, and triglycerides. Just having diabetes put you at elevated risk for heart disease and stroke. Those with type-2 diabetes, looking to boost their cardiometabolic risk factors, need to make pistachios a daily dietary must-eat.

9. Antioxidant properties

Not only the nuts themselves, but the outer shell covering pistachios are also found to contain a considerable content of antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to neutralize the free radicals formed in the body after cellular metabolism, which in turn have the potential to cause conditions like cancer and heart disease.

10. Iron absorption

100g of pistachios contain 20% of copper. This copper helps in the higher absorption of iron into the body from the various food sources. Iron is the main mineral that aids in combating conditions like anemia.

11. Anti-aging properties

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Vitamin E is present in high levels in pistachios, and this helps fight the aging process effectively, leaving your skin younger and refreshed-looking. The natural oil present in these nuts have emollient properties, that help moisturize the skin from deep within, and prevent it from drying.

12. Gives skin and hair a natural glow

The essential fatty acids present in pistachios are vital for maintaining a healthy, glowing, and smooth complexion. These same fatty acids also stimulate the growth of healthy strands, making the envy of all others, with your luscious, gorgeous, and silky locks of hair.

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Easy ways to include pistachios in your diet

These amazing, healthy nuts can be included in your diet in numerous ways. Whether you toast them lightly, or eat them raw, these nuts are powerhouses of essential nutrients that you cannot miss out on in your daily dietary intake. Here are some ways to include these nuts in your diet:

  • Add pistachios in cookies, cupcakes, breads, biscuits, and muffins.
  • Add pistachios to rice pilafs. They will add to the overall taste of the dish.
  • Sprinkle sliced and toasted pistachios on top your dessert – whether it’s ice cream or a pie or a tart or even a cup of yogurt.
  • Toss sliced pistachios into salads and nutty soups.

These are all the numerous health benefits of pistachios and why you cannot afford to miss out these nutritious goodies. Now, if you’re looking for healthy snack options, look no further than these nuts. Eat these nuts and go nuts!

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Article Name
All The Amazing Health Benefits Of Pistachios You Never Knew
Pistachios contain fewer calories but pack a punch when it comes to essential nutrients. Here are the amazing health benefits of pistachios you didn't know.
Chaitra Ramalingegowda

Chaitra Ramalingegowda

I fell in love with storytelling long before I knew what it was. Love well written stories, writing with passion, baking lip-smacking-finger-licking chocolate cakes, engaging movies, and home-cooked food. A true work-in-progress and a believer in the idiom 'all those who wander are not lost'. Twitter: @ChaitraRlg