Not only are pistachio nuts tasty and fun to eat, they’re also super healthy.
Technically a fruit, these edible seeds of the Pistacia vera tree contain healthy fats and are a good source of protein, fiber and antioxidants.
They also contain several essential nutrients and have benefits for weight loss, as well as heart and gut health.
Interestingly, people have been eating pistachios since 7,000 BC. Nowadays, they’re very popular in many dishes, including ice cream and desserts (1Trusted Source).
Here are 9 evidence-based health benefits of pistachios.
Why Pistachio Is Important
Pistachios are very nutritious, with a one-ounce (28-gram) serving of about 49 pistachios containing the following:
- Calories: 156
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Fat: 12 grams (90% are healthy fats)
- Potassium: 8% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 14% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 24% of the RDI
- Thiamin: 16% of the RDI
- Copper: 18% of the RDI
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI
Very Low In Calories
Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts, which means people can enjoy the health benefits of nuts while more easily staying within their daily calorie limits.
Full of Oxidents
Nuts and seeds contain several antioxidant compounds, but pistachios may have higher levels of some antioxidants than other nuts.
Research reports that pistachios have among the highest levels of antioxidants including:
- xanthophyll carotenoids
The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for eye health. Pistachios are a rich source of both of these substances.
AMD and cataracts are the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
Full of Proteins
Pistachios contribute to a person’s daily protein needs, at almost 6 g of protein per 1 ounce serving.
Protein accounts for approximately 21 percent of the total weight of the nut, making it a good source for vegetarians and vegans, among others.
Pistachios also boast a higher ratio of essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, when compared with other nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts.
Good for Blood
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 (30Trusted Source).
Vasodilation is the widening or dilating of blood vessels. Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by reduced vasodilation, which decreases blood flow.
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 (30Trusted Source).
Pistachios are a great source of the amino acid L-arginine, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body. Therefore, these tiny nuts may play an important role in promoting blood vessel health.
Pistachios can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.
These include as a snack, salad garnish, 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.
And, like other nuts, they can be used to make pesto or nut butter.
You can even try sprinkling them over your favorite oven-baked fish, adding them to your morning granola or making your own dessert crust.
Last but not least, pistachios can be enjoyed on their own as a convenient, tasty and healthy snack.
Good for Heart
Women who frequently eat nuts may enjoy modest protection from cardiovascular disease, according to a 12-year studypublished in 2001 based on the Iowa Women’s Health Study.
The study also showed a small link between regularly eating nuts and reduced risk of death from other causes.
Pistachios, in particular, may protect the heart by reducing cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
A 2015 analysis of 21 studies reports that eating nuts may lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure in people without type 2 diabetes. Pistachios had the strongest effect of all the nuts tested on reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.