Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts – Pistachios are rich in a variety of nutrients and may support weight loss, gut health, blood sugar control, and heart health. They are also versatile and can be enjoyed in many recipes.
Pistachio nuts are not only tasty and fun to eat, but also highly nutritious.
In fact, these edible seeds of the Pistacia vera tree contain healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber, and antioxidants (1Trusted Source).
What’s more, they contain several essential nutrients and can aid weight loss and heart and gut health.
Interestingly, evidence of pistachio intake can be traced back 300,000 years. Nowadays, they’re very popular in many dishes, including ice cream and desserts (1Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of pistachios.
1. Loaded with nutrients
Pistachios are very nutritious, with a 1-ounce (oz), or 28-gram (g), serving of about 49 pistachios containing the following nutrients (2Trusted Source):
- Calories: 159
- Carbs: 8 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Fat: 13 g
- Potassium: 6% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Phosphorus: 11% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 28% of the DV
- Thiamine: 21% of the DV
- Copper: 41% of the DV
- Manganese: 15% of the DV
Notably, pistachios are one of the most vitamin B6-rich foods available.
Vitamin B6 is important for several bodily functions, including blood sugar regulation and the formation of hemoglobin, a molecule that carries oxygen in red blood cells (3Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
SUMMARYPistachios are high in protein, fiber, and antioxidants. They also boast several other important nutrients, including vitamin B6 and potassium.
2. High in antioxidants
Antioxidants are vital to your health.
They prevent cell damage and play a key role in reducing the risk of certain conditions, such as cancer (5Trusted Source).
Pistachios are a good source of antioxidants and contain a higher amount than many other varieties nuts and seeds, according to some older studies (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
These compounds protect your eyes from damage caused by blue light and age-related macular degeneration, a condition in which your central vision is impaired or lost (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
In one 2010 study, people who ate either one or two servings of pistachios per day for 4 weeks had greater levels of two antioxidants, lutein and vitamin E, compared with those who did not eat pistachios (11).
Furthermore, two of the most abundant groups of antioxidants in pistachios — polyphenols and tocopherols — may help protect against cancer and heart disease (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Interestingly, the antioxidants in pistachios are highly bioavailable. Therefore, they are more likely to be absorbed during digestion (16Trusted Source).
SUMMARYPistachios are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts available. They’re high in lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which promote eye health. Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
3. Low in calories yet high in protein
While eating nuts has many health benefits, they’re typically high in calories.
However, pistachios are among the lowest calorie nuts.
Plus, pistachios are rich in essential amino acids, which are amino acids that must be obtained through the diet, as your body is unable to produce them (1Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
SUMMARYPistachios contain fewer calories and more protein than many other types of nuts. They are also a good source of essential amino acids, which must be obtained through the diet.
4. May aid weight loss
Despite being an energy-dense food, nuts are one of the most weight loss-friendly foods.
While few studies have looked at the effects of pistachios on weight, those that exist are promising.
According to one review of 11 studies, regular consumption of pistachios may be linked to a reduction in body mass index, which is used to estimate body fat. However, the review also noted that pistachios were not associated with changes in body weight or belly fat (22Trusted Source).
Another older 24-week study in individuals with excess weight showed that those who consumed 20% of calories from pistachios lost 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) more from their waistline than those who did not eat pistachios (23Trusted Source).
One factor possibly contributing to pistachios’ weight loss properties is that their fat content might not be fully absorbed (22Trusted Source).
In fact, several studies have demonstrated the malabsorption of fats from nuts. This is because part of their fat content is stuck within their cell walls, preventing it from being digested in the gut (12Trusted Source, 24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
What’s more, in-shell pistachios are good for mindful eating, as shelling the nuts takes time and slows the rate of eating. The leftover shells also give you a visual clue of how many nuts you have eaten (26Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
One 2011 study showed that individuals who ate in-shell pistachios consumed 41% fewer calories than those who ate shelled pistachios (27Trusted Source).
SUMMARYEating pistachio nuts may aid weight loss. In-shell pistachios are especially beneficial, as they promote mindful eating.
5. Promote healthy gut bacteria
Pistachios are high in fiber, with one serving containing 3 g (2Trusted Source).
Gut bacteria then ferment the fiber and convert it into short-chain fatty acids, which may have several health benefits, including a reduced risk of developing digestive disorders, cancer, and heart disease (30Trusted Source, 31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).
Butyrate is perhaps the most beneficial of these short-chain fatty acids.
In one 2014 study, eating pistachios was shown to increase the number of butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut to a greater extent than eating almonds (33Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
SUMMARYPistachios are high in fiber, which is good for your gut bacteria. Eating pistachios may increase the number of bacteria that produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate.
6. May lower cholesterol and blood pressure
Pistachios may reduce your risk of heart disease in various ways.
In addition to being high in antioxidants, pistachios may lower blood cholesterol and improve blood pressure, thus lowering your risk of heart disease (34Trusted Source).
Many studies on pistachios and blood lipids are conducted by replacing part of the calories in a diet with pistachios. Up to 67% of these studies have shown reductions in total and LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases in HDL (good) cholesterol (37Trusted Source).
Meanwhile, none of these studies observed that eating pistachios harmed the blood lipid profile (37Trusted Source).
Another older 4-week study in people with high LDL cholesterol had participants consume 10% of their daily calories from pistachios (38Trusted Source).
The study showed that the diet lowered LDL cholesterol by 9%. What’s more, a diet consisting of 20% of calories from pistachios lowered LDL cholesterol by 12% (38Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
In another 2010 study, 32 males followed a Mediterranean diet for 4 weeks. Then, pistachios were added to that diet in place of its monounsaturated fat content, totaling about 20% of their daily calorie intake (39Trusted Source).
After 4 weeks on the diet, they experienced a 23% reduction in LDL cholesterol, 21% reduction in total cholesterol, and 14% reduction in triglycerides (39Trusted Source).
Moreover, pistachios seem to lower blood pressure more than other nuts.
A review of 21 studies found that eating pistachios reduced systolic blood pressure by 1.82 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and decreased diastolic blood pressure by 0.8 mmHg (40Trusted Source).
SUMMARYStudies show that eating pistachios may help lower blood cholesterol. It may also lower blood pressure more than other nuts.
7. May promote blood vessel health
The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels. It’s important that it works properly, as endothelial dysfunction is a risk factor for heart disease (41Trusted Source).
Vasodilation is the widening or dilating of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by reduced vasodilation, which leads to decreased blood flow and increased blood pressure (42Trusted Source).
Nitric oxide is a compound that plays an important role in vasodilation. It causes blood vessels to dilate by signaling the smooth cells in the endothelium to relax (43Trusted Source). Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
Like most nuts, pistachios are a source of the amino acid L-arginine, which is converted into nitric oxide in the body. Therefore, these tiny nuts may play an important role in promoting blood vessel health (44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
One study in 42 people who consumed 1.5 oz (40 g) of pistachios a day for 3 months showed improvements in markers of endothelial function and vascular stiffness (46Trusted Source).
Another older 4-week study had 32 males consume a diet consisting of 20% of calories from pistachios. It found that endothelium-dependent vasodilation improved by 30%, compared with when they followed a Mediterranean diet (39Trusted Source).
Proper blood flow is important for many bodily functions, including erectile function.
In one study, regular consumption of nuts, including pistachios, was associated with improvements in sexual desire and orgasmic function in males (47Trusted Source).
SUMMARYPistachio nuts may play an important role in promoting blood vessel health. That’s because they are rich in L-arginine, which, when converted into nitric oxide, helps dilate your blood vessels.
8. May help lower blood sugar
Perhaps not surprisingly, studies have shown that eating pistachios can help promote healthy blood sugar levels.
One review of six studies concluded that pistachios could significantly reduce fasting blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, or metabolic syndrome (50Trusted Source).
In another 2014 study, individuals with type 2 diabetes showed a 9% reduction in fasting blood sugar after eating 0.9 oz (25 g) of pistachios as a snack twice per day for 12 weeks (51Trusted Source).
In addition to being high in fiber and healthy fats, pistachio nuts are rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds, all of which are beneficial for blood sugar control (12Trusted Source, 51Trusted Source).
Therefore, simply adding pistachios to your diet may help manage your blood sugar levels in the long term.
SUMMARYPistachios have a low glycemic index, which might promote lower blood sugar levels.
9. Delicious and fun to eat
Pistachios can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
These include as a snack, salad garnish, or pizza topping, or even in baking, adding a beautiful green or purple color to various desserts and dishes.
Some delicious and green-colored desserts include pistachio gelato or cheesecake.
You can even try sprinkling them over your favorite oven-baked fish, adding them to your morning granola, or making your own dessert crust.
Lastly, pistachios can be enjoyed on their own as a convenient, tasty, and healthy snack.
SUMMARYBesides being a great snack, pistachios can be used in baking and cooking, adding a green or purple color to various dishes.
The bottom line
Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and thiamine.
Their health effects may include weight loss benefits, lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and improved gut, eye, and blood vessel health.
What’s more, they’re delicious, versatile, and fun to eat. For most people, including pistachios in their diet is a great way to improve overall health.
NB: Pistachio Nuts are natural and can be used for purposes that are listed here, seeds and nuts usage is knowledge based
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