Pistachios are chief among nuts due to its wealth of nutrients (repeatedly beating other nuts out in the amount of various nutrients), easy access when it comes to opening its shell, and delicious flavor.
Like walnuts and pecans, pistachios are often used in desserts and ice creams. The United States is the 2nd largest supplier of pistachios worldwide. Below are a few more interesting facts about pistachios and why, if you aren’t already, you should be eating them more often.
Pistachios are very rich in potassium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B6, thiamine, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. The nuts also contain good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and nearly 90% unsaturated fat (that’s the good fats we need). They also have trace amounts of vitamin C.
What’s So Great About Pistachios?
Promotes Great Heart Health – Pistachios contain phytosterols, which help to lower cholesterol levels in the body. Pistachios reduce the amount of bad cholesterol, while increasing good cholesterol.
Pistachios also contain mostly good fats (including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats), which make them taste great but also helps keep cholesterol down. The huge amount of antioxidants in pistachios fights off free radicals that can damage the cells of the body, including those of the heart.
Aids in Weight Loss – Because pistachios are high in fiber (containing more fiber than any other nut), they help you to feel full quickly as you are eating them and eliminate them from the body quickly and smoothly. Fiber aids in digestion, providing smoother bowel movements and cleaner digestive systems.
As with other nuts, because pistachios are enclosed within their shells, it takes a little effort and time to consume them. The time it takes to crack open the shell and eat the contents also allows slower digestion, and a sense of fullness is achieved much quicker. As a result, you consume fewer calories, and fewer calories equals gradual weight loss.
Defends Against Diabetes – Certain antioxidants in pistachios shield against a process called glycation that causes sugars and proteins to combine to the point that the proteins become worthless and must be discarded as waste. With sugars dominating the scene, diabetic symptoms take over and the disease worsens. Not a lot of foods have this ability, and diabetics can really benefit here.
Great Overall Nutrition – Pistachios rank among the highest in nutritional value of all nuts. Pistachios contain a host of vitamins, nutrients and minerals that just scream “good health.” A handful of pistachios is equal to a complete serving of oatmeal in fiber content. These babies are loaded with fiber and antioxidants that keep cells clean and disease free.