Of all the consumable nuts available, my favorite is pistachios. Because of this I thought I would examine the top 5 health benefits of pistachios.
Ancient history records the consumption of pistachios as far back as 7,000 BC. Both the Queen of Sheba and Nebuchadnessar, the king of ancient Babylon, considered this nut a royal food. And when you examine its nutritional profile you can see why.
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One ounce of pistachios contains the following:
8 grams of Carbohydrate
3 grams of Fiber
6 grams of Protein
13 grams of Fat of which 90% are unsaturated
6% of the RDA for Potassium
28% of the RDA for Vitamin B6
21% of the RDA for Thiamine or Vitamin B1
41% of the RDA for Copper
This nutritional profile fuels the following 5 health benefits of pistachios.
Health Benefit #1 – Antioxidant Protection
Only walnuts and pecans contain more antioxidants than pistachios. They have the highest content of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are key antioxidants for eye health. Both of these antioxidants help to protect your eyes from damaged caused by blue light and macular degeneration.
Additionally, pistachios contains both polyphenols and tocopherals that help to protect against cancer and heart disease.
Health Benefit #2 – High in Protein
One ounce or 28 grams of pistachios contains 6 grams of protein. This means that almost 20% of the weight is from protein. Of all nuts, pistachios have the highest ratio of essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein that your own body cannot produce. Instead, you must consume them from the food you eat. Plus pistachios are a good source of semi-essential amino acids one of which is L-arginine.
L-arginine fuels 7 different metabolic pathways in your body. One of these pathways is the production of nitric oxide, which is a signaling molecule used to improve blood flow.
Health Benefit #3 – Promotes Healthy Gut Bacteria
Since 70 to 80% of your immune system is determined by your gut bacteria, you want to consume foods that will enhance this process. With 3 grams of fiber per serving, pistachios are a great food source for the good bacteria.
Additionally, your gut bacteria will ferment this fiber and convert it into short-chain fatty acids. Short-chain fatty acids reduce your risk for digestive disorders, heart disease, and cancer.
One of these short-chain fatty acids is butyrate, which provides colon cells with about 70 percent of their total energy needs.
Health Benefits #4 – Cardiovascular Health
Pistachios benefit your cardiovascular system in several ways. Numerous studies have shown how this nut reduces total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Other studies have shown pistachios to have a positive effect on lowering blood pressure.
And one of the significant ways pistachios help the cardiovascular system is to promote blood vessel health. In one study of 42 patients who consumed 1.5 ounces or 40 grams of pistachios per day showed improved endothelial function with less vascular stiffness over the 3 month study.
Additional studies have shown improvements of up to 30% in vasodilation or improved blood flow.
Health Benefit #5 – Blood Sugar Control
Even though there are 8 grams of carbohydrates per serving, pistachios have a low glycemic index. Which means they don’t cause large swings in blood sugar levels.
One recent study showed that consuming 25 grams of pistachios twice per day for 12 weeks helped type II diabetics lower their blood pressure and inflammation markers while helping to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Given these 5 health benefits of pistachios, it’s worth the time it takes to crack the shell and eat these healthy nuts.
However, one note of caution. Pistachio ice cream is not recommended. While it tastes great, one serving does not give you the health benefits of just eating one ounce of pistachios per day.
If you would like to pursue additional information on the health benefits of pistachios, then click on the following links:
Blessing Lives Through Nitric Oxide Therapy!