by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
Sometimes, we all have those little snack attacks. Whether you are craving something salty or sweet, and all you want is something to munch on. But the question is, what should you reach for? What’s going to be the best option for your health? Have you ever considered pistachios?
Pistachios are a great choice to satisfy your hunger with a snack. Not only do they taste great, but they’re also high in protein and fiber and low in fat.
In this article, we are going to discuss some of the health benefits of pistachios and why you should add them to your diet to improve your health.
Nutritional Benefits of Pistachios for Improving Your Health
Pistachios are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat. They’re high in protein, fiber, and other nutrients that can help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Here are some of the nutritional benefits of pistachios when it comes to improving your health:
1. They are loaded with nutrients
Pistachios are highly nutritious. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of around 49 pistachios will contain the following nutrients:
- Carbs: 8 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Calories: 159
- Fat: 13 grams
- Protein: 6 grams
- Vitamin B6: 28% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 21% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 11% of the RDI
- Copper: 41% of the RDI
- Manganese: 15% of the RDI
If you are looking for a vitamin B6-rich food, then pistachios would be a great option.
Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a role in the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. It also helps maintain the health of the nervous system, assists in the formation of red blood cells, promotes normal skin health, and supports immune function.
Pistachios are also high in potassium, with one ounce having more potassium than half of a big banana.
2. May aid in weight loss
Pistachio nuts are high in fat, but it’s mainly monounsaturated fat — the same type found in olive oil — which means it has heart health benefits. Pistachio nuts also have more fiber than other nuts, which helps you feel full longer and reduces appetite.
Studies show that fiber intake may enhance satiety, and it can help with weight loss.
Pistachios are dried fruits (yes, you read that correctly), and studies have shown that consuming dry fruits can help you lose weight over time. You can munch on these healthy snacks to lose weight without worrying about their fat content.
In another study, it was demonstrated that pistachios are not fully absorbed by our body, which reduces the body’s fat content.
3. Lowers blood sugar levels
Pistachio nuts are high in fiber, protein, and nutrients like potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help reduce blood sugar levels when eaten regularly as part of an overall healthy diet.
Eating pistachios can also help keep you feeling full longer, so you don’t overeat later on in the day or night. These nuts also increase peptide 1 levels, which is a hormone that regulates glucose levels in people with diabetes.
4. Promote healthy gut bacteria
Pistachios contain insoluble fiber, which helps remove toxins and waste from the digestive system. This process keeps harmful bacteria from entering your body through the colon wall, causing an infection or other health problems like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Insoluble fiber also helps promote regular bowel movements, helping prevent constipation.
5. Promotes a healthy heart
Eating pistachios regularly may help lower your risk of heart disease by reducing bad (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, which are known to promote plaque buildup inside the arteries.
According to research, pistachios may help avoid heart issues by raising the levels of heart-healthy fats. They can also reduce bad cholesterol and lower the risk of coronary heart disease.
Pistachios also reduce lipoprotein levels (a risk factor for heart disease).
6. Keeps the nervous system safe
Pistachios contain a lot of vitamin B6 or pyridoxine, which helps maintain a healthy nervous system. The vitamin is also essential for the brain’s proper functioning and helps improve memory. It also improves concentration, reduces stress levels, and may keep depression at bay.
7. Boosts immune system
Vitamin B6 creates healthy red blood cells in our body, ensuring that the spleen and lymph remain in their best condition. It also helps the body to effectively fight many infections and free radicals.
Pistachio consumption can boost the immune system and help to work better to ward off infections, keeping the body protected and shielded.
8. May promote blood vessel health
Pistachios may also promote blood vessel health by increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps relax blood vessels and improve blood flow throughout the body.
In one study with 42 patients who ate 1.5 ounces of pistachios every day for 3 months showed enhancement in markers of vascular stiffness and endothelial function.