Pistachios are some of the most recognizable (and popular) nuts around; the slight hint of their greenish interiors peeking out from their light beige skins stand out in the grocery store, and they’ve become a staple snack for millions of people around the world.
But did you know that the bright colors of the pistachio nut actually have nutritional significance? The greens, yellows, and reds that you see in the kernel and skins are actually the visual mark of the healthy antioxidants and polyphenols that are plentiful in this remarkable nut. A number of studies have been conducted on pistachios and their health benefits, and findings indicate that eating these nuts daily appears to reduce your risk of heart disease and provide other substantial benefits.
What nutritional compounds do pistachios contain that make them so healthy? Pistachios are cholesterol free, and don’t contain a whole lot of calories, so they are perfect if you are on a diet (though you can still overeat them if you don’t watch yourself; pistachios are delicious and you can easily lose track of your portions). They have more potassium and vitamin K than other types of nuts. One ounce of pistachios which have been dry roasted will contain 160 calories, and provide you with 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Not only that, but you’ll get 25% of your necessary vitamin B6 for the day. Vitamin B6 supports liver and digestive function, metabolism, a healthy reproductive system, energy availability, mood, and more. It’s one of the best all-around nutrients, and many people do not get nearly enough of it.
Pistachios additionally contain 15% of the necessary daily amount of thiamine and phosphorus, as well as 10% of the daily recommended magnesium value. Each of these nutrients also fulfills a number of important roles in the human body. Phosphorus supports kidney health, metabolism, muscle and brain function. Thiamine, also known as Vitamin B1, supports a healthy cardiovascular system and nervous system. Magnesium supports reproductive health, energy levels, a calm mood, and combats insomnia. When you get these nutrients in the recommended amounts each day, you may find yourself feeling better in a number of ways. Pistachios help you to function at your best.
Fiber is another of those things that most of us could use a little more of. It is recommended that you get 14 grams of fiber per 1000 calories you eat. Most people don’t get nearly this much in their diets. Pistachios contain twice as much fiber as walnuts, and can help you to meet your daily fiber goals. Fiber regulates your metabolism, and can help with both constipation and diarrhea, restoring a sense of balance. Fiber helps your body to get rid of waste and toxins, maintain hormonal balance, and even control appetite. This is yet another way in which pistachios can help you if you are dieting and trying to lose weight. Fiber can boost your metabolism and give you a heightened sense of energy.
Trying to lower your cholesterol and support healthy heart function? This is one of the most well-known benefits of eating pistachios on a daily basis. Studies have indicated that if you eat a low calorie diet with significant pistachio intake, you will actually be able to lower your LDL cholesterol levels (that’s the “bad” cholesterol).
Pistachios have another nutrient which makes them helpful to people who are trying to improve their heart health, and that’s l-arginine. This nutrient makes your artery lining more elastic, which in turn makes it less likely that you will develop blood clots. Blood clots can cause heart attacks and other detrimental or deadly health conditions. Vitamin E is another key nutrient in pistachios which can improve cardiovascular health. Vitamin E reduces the clogging in your arteries.
Eating Pistachios Regularly
The scientific research trials where pistachio heart health benefits were demonstrated involved participants eating daily servings of pistachios, so you need to eat these tasty nuts regularly if you want to take advantage of the full benefit for your heart. The same goes for fiber; fiber works best when you get a steady intake of it on a day to day basis. So that is yet another reason to consider eating pistachios regularly.
So pick up a tasty bag of pistachios the next time you head to the grocery store and feel free to start snacking on them on a regular basis, and you will start noticing improvements to your health and overall sense of well being. And be sure to pick the unsalted variety, or you’ll overload on sodium!