In a Nutshell: Health Benefits of Pistachios
Digging into a bag of pistachios is undeniably addicting. Cracking on its hard shell and eating its crunchy nut, literally just like the tagline of a famous potato snack chips, once you pop it your mouth, you cannot stop munching for more.
If you are a big fan, you might want to stack up on a bag or two because the health benefits of pistachios make it an exceptional healthy snack treat.
Pistachios aren’t really nuts?
One fun fact about pistachios is that it actually is not a true nut. They are normally categorized as a culinary nuts, like cashew, pecan and walnuts. Even so, it is actually a seed coming from a fruit with a fleshy outer part. You might even be surprised that its close cousins are the cashew and mango.
Also called as “happy nuts” in China and “smiling nuts” in Iran, the nutritional benefits that you can get from a 1-ounce serving of dry pistachios will definitely give you tons of reasons to smile about.
This tasty treat, which originated in Central Asia and the Middle East, are often eaten whole, either fresh or roasted and salted. It is also an ingredient for ice cream, confections and even in salad. But it is the dry roasted without salt that are packed with high nutritional value.
A 100g serving contains 571 calories, 21 grams of protein, 10 grams of fiber and 45 grams of fat, with only 6 grams of saturated fat. It also contains Vitamin A, high traces of thiamine and Vitamin B6, riboflavin, niacin, B5, folate and Vitamin C. It is also a good source of trace minerals, which include phosphorus, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Healthy Heart Option
Pistachios are rich in monosaturated fatty acids, making it one of the healthiest options for the heart. More specifically, it contains an anti-inflammatory fatty acid called oleic acid, which helps lower the bad LDL cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
This is supported by research, as posted in the America Heart Association, which reported that a Mediterranean Diet high in dietary fiber, monosaturated fats and antioxidants can help maintain a healthy blood lipid profile. This helps in preventing coronary heart diseases and strokes.
It also contains phytosterols, a plant sterol that reduces the absorption of dietary cholesterol and helps bring down LDL cholesterol levels.
This is further complemented with high levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin E, both of which help in protecting the blood vessels from becoming clogged with plaque. In addition, its L-Arginine content helps the lining of your arteries become more flexible preventing the development of blood clots. This makes pistachio an excellent anti-heart attack treat.
The rich Vitamin B6 content of pistachio is important in making hemoglobin or healthy red blood cells. It helps promote healthy blood by carrying and increasing the amount of oxygen carried through the blood stream.
In the same manner, the Vitamin B6, as well as copper and magnesium, in the nut are essential in keeping the immune system function properly and effective for fighting off infections by maintaining the health of lymphatic glands that produce white blood cells.
Antioxidants in pistachios can help prevent a damaging process called glycation, which occurs when sugars bond with proteins causing tissue damage. It also contains 60 percent of the recommended daily value of phosphorus, which aids in glucose tolerance.
It contains two carotenoids that are not seen in other nuts. Lutein and Zeaxanthin functions as protective antioxidants, which defend tissues from free radical damage. These help in decreasing the chances of retina damage and protect the eyes from age-related eye disorders.
Glowing and Radiant Skin
Pistachios can help in promoting good skin health. This is because its Vitamin E content helps protect the skin from the harmful UV damage and radiation. Vitamin E is also a powerful antioxidant that is essential in maintaining the integrity of cell membranes of the skin. And since pistachios have emollient properties, this helps moisturize the skin and keeps it from becoming dry.
Cracking its hard shell is a relaxing chore in itself, but munching on pistachios helps reduce stress by elevating blood pressure levels.
Weight Watchers Ally
The fiber content of pistachios can help you control your weight by helping you feel more full. Also, the fats in the nut are mostly the unsaturated type.
However, since it contains more calories, it is best to eat the nut moderately. It is suggested that you eat the unsalted variety to lessen your salt intake, which can give you a jingly body.
Side Effects You Need to Watch Out For
However, as many as its health benefits, consuming large quantity of pistachios can also lead to harmful side effects. It may result to skin rashes and itching, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramp, hives and difficulty in breathing.
The way to prevent these side effects is to always eat pistachios in moderation. Just make sure that you just have enough to satisfy your nutty cravings and enjoy its healthy benefits.