Pistachios are a type of tree nut with numerous health benefits. Pistachios are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants and fiber. Research suggests that people have been eating pistachios for thousands of years. People consume them today in a variety of dishes from salads to ice creams.
Pistachios (from the Greek word pistakion, “the green nut”) is widely cultivated in the Mediterranean region, even though it probably originated in the central and southwest Asia. Evidence of its consumption has been found in archaeological excavation which proves that it has long been associated with human activities.
Pistachios are prized for their unique, slightly sweet flavor as well as for their intriguing viridescent hues. Pistachios are one of the world’s oldest nuts and like all nuts, pistachios are rich in beneficial nutrients though pistachios have some unique properties that set them apart. Their versatility means that you can eat pistachios alone as a snack, on top of a salad, mixed with dried fruits in trail mix, in baked goods or as a crunchy coating for fish or meat.
Nutritional Value Of Pistachios
Compared with other nuts, dry roasted pistachios have a lower fat content (43.4 g/100g) which is composed mainly of saturated fatty acid (5.6g), polyunsaturated fatty acid (13.3g) and monounsaturated fatty acid (24.5g) of the fatty acids. Oleic and linoleic acids represent more than half of the total fat content in pistachios.
Pistachios are also a good source of vegetable protein about 21% of total weight. They also have an essential amino acid ratio higher than most other commonly consumed nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts, and they have a high percentage of branched chain amino acids.
The amount of total carbohydrate is low to moderate (about 29% by weight) but they are higher in fiber than other nuts with a 10% by weight of insoluble forms and 0.3% of soluble forms. Pistachios also contain significant amounts of minerals (potassium, phosphorus , magnesium, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, and foliate with relatively high amounts of these compounds compared with other nuts. Moreover, pistachios are also a rich source of lutein and Zeaxanthin and phenolic compounds, including anthocyanin’s, flavonoids and proanthocyanidins, and their antioxidant capacity is considerable.
Some of the health benefits of pistachios include the following:
Aids Cognitive Development
Pistachios contain many important nutrients and according to the United Sates department of agriculture (USDA), 1 OUNCE or approximately 49 kernels of unroasted pistachio nuts contain
- Calories 159
- Protein 572 grams
- Fats 12.85 grams
- Carbohydrates 7.70g
- Fiber 3.00g
- Sugar 2.17g
A serving of pistachios provides about 37 percent of the recommended daily vitamin B-6 intake or 1.3mg for adults. Vitamin B-6 plays a vital role in the body particularly in relation to protein metabolism and cognitive development.
Provides Appropriate Calories
Pistachios are one of the lowest calories nuts, which means that people can enjoy the health benefits of nuts while more easily staying within their daily calorie limits. One ounce of macadamia nuts for example contains 204 calories, while 1 ounce of pecans provides 196 calories.
Has Antioxidant Effects
Antioxidants are substances that play a critical role in health. They reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases by preventing damage to the body’s cells. Nuts and seed contain several antioxidant compounds but pistachios may have higher level of some antioxidants than other nuts. Pistachios have among the highest level of antioxidants including: Phytosterols and xanthophyll carotenoids. These substances have high antioxidant and anti- inflammatory effects.
Good For Eye Health
The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are essential for the eye health. Pistachios are a rich source of both of these substances. According to the American optometric association, lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the chances of developing eye conditions, including age – related macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating a healthful diet, including pistachios is a promising way to help prevent these eye diseases from developing.