Not much is written about health benefits of pistachios — although many people eat these delicious nuts. More attention seems to be paid to other nuts such as almonds or peanuts. Pistachios, however, are quite nutritious, it turns out. A recent study has found this healing food to be a nutrient-dense nut with a heart-healthy fatty-acid profile, as well as protein, dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, tocopherols, and a number of phytochemicals. That’s quite a list!
You might have noticed that pistachios have a unique green and purple hue to them. These colors are due to the presence of lutein and to pistachio’s anthocyanin content.
According to the study (which reviewed the results from other clinical trials), among nuts, pistachios contain the highest levels of potassium, gamma-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E), vitamin K, phytosterols, and xanthophyll carotenoids. The study also mentions that no less than five published randomized cardiovascular trials have shown that pistachios promote heart-healthy blood lipid profiles. Other clinical studies suggest that pistachios help maintain healthy antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, glycemic control, and endothelial function.
One more point that was mentioned: when consumed in moderation, pistachios may help control body weight because of their satiation effects (i.e. their ability to make you feel full). Pistachios were also found to have a reduced net metabolizable energy content — meaning they are more readily turned into energy when digested instead of nutrients being lost due non-digestion.
One study with subjects in a weight-loss program demonstrated lower body mass index and triglyceride levels in individuals who consumed pistachios compared with those who consumed an isocaloric pretzel snack. Emerging research suggests that the addition of pistachios to high-glycemic meals may lower the overall post-meal glycemic response.
All in all, pistachios seemed to score very well when it came to nutrient content and health benefits. It’s good health advice then to tell you to grab a handful for a snack. You’ll get lots of nutrients, a bit of heart-healthy fat and some protein. And — you’ll have a little more energy to burn during the day.