Pistachios are one of the nuts that have been shown to have the most benefits, from regulating cholesterol or high blood pressure to improve the condition of the skin. Discover everything that this seed can bring you.
Nuts have been shown to have great health properties, and among them, there is one that stands out: pistachio. Source of antioxidants, protein, and fiber, this seed is backed by many scientific studies that certify its benefits. Coinciding with World Pistachio Day, which is celebrated on February 26, read on and discover what the consumption of pistachios can do for your health.
Pistachios are one of the most reputable nuts and have a more peculiar and usable flavor to enjoy alone or in various preparations. Thus, it is usually used as an aperitif, in salads, sauces, ice cream, desserts – some even add it to coffee – or in roast recipes, because its greenish color adds color and provides excellent nutrients to dishes.
Coming from the alfóncigo or pistachio ( Pistacia vera), a small tree native to the Middle East (common in the mountains of Turkey, Greece, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran). Indeed, Iran is the leading world producer of this small greenish fruit, but it is followed closely by the United States, New Mexico, or North Africa.
The Mediterranean diet is known as one of the most balanced and healthy globally. In the new nutritional pyramid elaborated by the Mediterranean Diet Foundation, the pistachio has an important role, as it stands out above the rest of the nuts.
Benefits of eating pistachios
As explained in Pistamed, these green seeds have a lower amount of fat and high levels of fiber, vitamins E and K, potassium, phytosterols, and some carotenoids, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, compared to the rest of nuts, hence more and more are being consumed.
In addition to being a source of carbohydrates, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, a serving of pistachios – about 49 units or 30 grams – provides 37% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin B6, and although it is very caloric, about 160 kcal per serving. It is also rich in vegetable protein and lipids, specifically monounsaturated fats (oleic acid).
Here are some of the science-proven health benefits of pistachio :
Helps lower cholesterol
This is highlighted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and numerous studies, such as The Journal of Nutrition, which points out that the monounsaturated fats in pistachios help lower LDL cholesterol levels (the ‘bad’) in blood.
Protects against high blood pressure :
According to Pennsylvania State University (USA) research, adding 42.5 grams of pistachios to a balanced diet lowered the participants’ systolic blood pressure by 4.8 mmHg, which is beneficial in preventing hypertension.
Balances blood sugar levels
The glycemic index of pistachios is low, making them suitable for people with diabetes. What’s more, research from The Review of Diabetic Studies found improvements in blood sugar levels, obesity, blood pressure, and inflammation in people with diabetes. Additionally, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking pistachios lowered blood sugar if eaten with carbohydrate foods.
Less cardiovascular risk
These nuts could protect the heart, because as a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition explains, taking two servings of pistachios a day reduced cardiovascular risk.
Ally against metabolic syndrome
A study carried out by the University of Palermo (Italy) confirms that pistachios are beneficial against metabolic syndrome. It improves the lipoprotein profile, which helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides endothelial function, reduces the risk of stress oxidative, cellular inflammation, and helps control blood glucose metabolism.
Having to remove the shell from each pistachio already reduces the intake, as it gives time to feel full. This dried fruit can be considered a healthy snack to use as an aperitif between meals and calm the ‘bug’ without neglecting the diet and obtaining energy.
Source of antioxidants
Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, lutein, or gamma-tocopherol. Some of the benefits of antioxidant foods are slowing down or preventing some diseases, cardiovascular, degenerative such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, or even aging itself. However, more studies are still required in this regard.
Improves the appearance of the skin
As explained by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food of Spain, the pistachio “is an ideal food for the beauty of the skin, since, together with vitamin E, it provides generous amounts of vitamin A, which, like E, prevents aging and strengthens –with the help of its lipids– the cells of the epidermis.”