Pistachio nuts, scientifically called Pistacia vera, are the tasty, green nut that slides under the radar of more common nuts like almonds and peanuts. However, their salty-sweet flavor never disappoints! Because they are more expensive than other nuts and have a unique flavor, I always consider pistachios as a treat-myself food. Along with being tasty and snackable, there are lots of amazing health benefits of pistachios that make it worth your while to snack to your heart's content!
1. Packed Full of Antioxidants
Pistachios are amazing for overall health because of the essential antioxidants they contain. Pistachios have high levels of y-tocopherol, phytosterols, and xanthophyll carotenoids, all of which have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants lower the risk of cancer and other diseases by protecting the body's cells from damage.
2. Support Heart Health
Dietitians recommend pistachios to those at higher risk of heart disease, because these heart-healthy nuts lower this risk. Pistachios support the tone of blood vessels, improving blood flow. The healthy fat in pistachios, monounsaturated fat, lowers cholesterol levels, which is an important factor in heart health. Because of these health benefits, pistachios are great for your heart!
3. Improve Blood Sugar Balance
Another important health benefit of pistachios is that they lower the glycemic index in your blood, which is the amount of fat and sugar. Studies have shown that eating pistachios doesn't cause a sharp rise in blood sugar after eating, which is what happens after carb-heavy meals. Because of this, pistachios are the perfect snack for those at risk of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, since they are shown to reduce blood pressure.
4. Good for Your Gut
Along with being great for your heart and blood sugar, pistachios are known to be excellent foods for gut health. The high fiber content in pistachios improves the digestive system by preventing constipation. There are 2.9 grams of fiber (12%) in a serving of pistachios, which is about 49 nuts. Pistachios also contain prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in the gut. This has a positive effect on gut health!
5. Ideal for Weight Loss
Another essential health benefit of this beloved green seed is its ability to aid in weight loss. Pistachios are nutritious and satisfying, and they provide a high level of satiety with a small amount of calories. They are one of the lowest calorie nuts, and their high level of protein helps you to feel full, preventing further snacking. For those on a low-carbohydrate diet, pistachio nuts are a great way to feel full. Buying pistachios in their shells is a smart way to slow down your eating and feel satisfied with fewer nuts!
6. Full of Vitamins and Minerals
Not only do pistachios help with weight loss and maintenance, they contribute to wellness by providing lots of vitamins and minerals. A serving of pistachios has about 37% of the daily dose of vitamin B-6, which helps with cognitive development. They are also an excellent source of vitamin a, vitamin e, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and beta carotene, which support the immune system and help the nerves and muscles to function properly.
7. Great for Eye Health
One of the most important health benefits of pistachios is their ability to improve eye health. The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are vital for eye health, and pistachios are a good source of both of these. Eating pistachios reduces the risk of eye conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. This is especially notable because cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the U.S.
8. Great Source of Protein
Last but not least, pistachios are the ideal food to get your protein intake for the day. A serving of pistachios has 6 grams of protein, which is 10% of the recommended daily amount. Pistachios contain all essential amino acids that aid growth and health, and they are considered a complete protein by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pistachio consumption is a great way to support your health and get your protein for the day!