The health benefits of pistachios go beyond providing a rich source of protein and dietary fiber. Pistachios also boast a wide range of antioxidants, amino acids, and other nutrients that support a healthy body and mind. Join us as we explore some big health benefits of this tasty little nut!
All-Around Health Nut
Did you know that a serving of pistachios contains more nuts and fewer calories than any other nut? That’s just one reason to reach for a handful of pistachios. In fact, a one-ounce serving of pistachios contains 49 nuts and just 160 calories. One ounce of pistachios provides 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for dietary fiber, 20 percent DV for vitamin B6, and 15% DV for thiamine. Pistachios contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which help regulate cholesterol levels and aid the digestive system. Vitamin B6 and thiamin support many processes in the body related to the nervous system, brain function, and eye health. Pistachios also deliver a good source of protein and potassium.
Pistachios are a heart-healthy snack that may help reduce elevated cholesterol levels. Research published in a 2008 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who consumed pistachios as either 10 or 20 percent of their daily caloric intake reduced both their total and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels more than those participants on a reduced fat diet without pistachios. Another study conducted in 2010 and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that eating 240 calories worth of pistachios for three months reduced body mass indexes (BMI) and triglyceride levels more than participants who consumed 220 calories worth of pretzels.
Great Source of Antioxidants
Pistachios are loaded with phytosterols, plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant activities. Antioxidants are the protective compounds that defend cells against the damaging effects of free radicals, and reduce the risk for chronic conditions and premature aging. In particular, phytosterols have demonstrated to be effective at lowering blood cholesterol levels. In 2005, the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry published a study that examined the phytosterol content among commonly eaten foods. The study found that pistachios and sunflower seeds contained the highest phytosterol levels among popular nuts and seeds.
Rich in Amino Acids
Pistachios are a great source of amino acids, the building blocks of protein. Pistachios are particularly rich in an amino acid called L-arginine, which promotes and improves blood flow in clogged arteries and is necessary for supporting the body’s metabolic processes. These little nuts are also rich in the amino acids lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote good eye health and may slow the progression of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.
What are the most important health benefits of pistachios to you?