Are Pistachios Good For You Health Benefits
Nuts like pistachios are one of the main components of a healthy Mediterranean diet, which is associated with a lower risk of heart diseases, respiratory illnesses and cancer. So pistachios not only help with heart and gut health, but can also help you keep your weight in check.
High In Protein For Vegans And Vegetarians
Pistachios contribute to a persons daily protein needs, at almost 6 g of protein per 1 ounce serving.
Protein accounts for approximately of the total weight of the nut, making it a good source for vegetarians and vegans, among others.
Pistachios also boast a of essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, when compared with other nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts.
How To Choose Pistachios
To cash in on their healthy goodness, choose raw or roasted pistachios in the shell or shelled. Be aware: Shelled pistachios are more expensive. Pistachios that are roasted and salted have added sodium.
If you crave salty flavor, look for lightly salted. Remember, flavored pistachios contain added sugars, oils, and preservatives, Holdorf warns. Like other nuts, pistachios will keep longer if you don’t store them in the pantry.
In-shell or shelled pistachios stay fresh in the fridge for about a year or in the freezer for up to three years. Most pistachios will already have the trademark split in the shellindicating they are mature and ripe. If they’re not split, they’re still edible but not as tasty. The hull starts to turn reddish, signifying the pistachio is ripe and delicious.
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Beneficial For Gut Health
All nuts are rich in fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive system by moving food through the gut and preventing constipation.
A type of fiber called prebiotics may also feed the good bacteria in the gut. Feeding the good bacteria helps them multiply and crowd out harmful bacteria.
According to a small, 2012 study, eating pistachios may increase the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut. In the study, volunteers ate a standard diet with either 0 ounces, 1.5 ounces, or 3 ounces of pistachios or almonds.
Researchers collected stool samples and found that people who ate up to 3 ounces of pistachios daily showed an increase in potentially helpful gut bacteria, much more so than those who ate almonds.
May Reduce Risk For Cataracts And Macular Degeneration
There are thousands of different types of antioxidants and whats unique about pistachios is how rich their lutein and zeaxanthin content is; 1,205 mcg/100g.
These two carotenoids are rare in nuts. The 2nd richest source hazelnuts has over 90% less .
Why these are so important for the health of your eyes and vision is because they are the predominant carotenoids that accumulate in the retina. It is believed they help reduce damage from oxidation and harmful light wavelengths, such as ultraviolet.
What your eyesight is like without and with cataracts.
If you or someone you love has age-related macular degeneration or cataracts, then youve almost certainly heard of The Age-Related Eye Disease Study . It along with the 2nd version were large trials sponsored by the U.S. governments National Eye Institute.
The AREDS 2 study was multicenter, randomized, double-blind, and placebo-controlled. For participants with the lowest dietary intake of these two carotenoids, they found that with supplementation of them, there was a 26% reduced chance of getting advanced AMD.
For cataracts, the group with the lowest dietary intake was found to have a 32% reduced risk of needing cataract surgery when lutein and zeaxanthin were added.
Pistachios have been cited in medical research as an excellent source of these two carotenoids.
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A Closer Look At Pistachioshealth Benefits
Need morepersuasion;about pistachios? Here are three reasons why pistachios canboost your health:
Pistachios: A Handful A Day May Keep The Cardiologist Away
A study published last week in Archives of Internal Medicine found that a diet containing nuts, including pistachios, significantly lowered total and LDL-cholesterol levels, in addition to triglycerides. The 600 subject, 25 clinical trial study, conducted in seven counties, is the most comprehensive study of its kind and further substantiates the evidence that nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The report, authored by Dr. Joan Sabaté of Loma Linda University’s School of Public Health, and funded by the International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation, set out to quantify the cholesterol-reducing benefits of various nuts, such as pistachios, by analyzing previously published human clinical trials.
A Daily Dose of Nuts Offers Significant Results
The authors reviewed the results of 25 human clinical trials published from 1992 through 2007. The analysis included data from 583 men and women, aged 19 to 86 years old. Among the studies, nut consumption ranged from less than one ounce to 4.75 ounces per day. The average daily intake for the meta-analysis was 67 grams per day or 2.4 ounces.
Pistachios’ Unique Nutrient Profile Provides “Hearty” Promise
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Pistachios Lower Cholesterol Provide Antioxidants
- Penn State
- A handful of pistachios may lower cholesterol and provide the antioxidants usually found in leafy green vegetables and brightly colored fruit, according to a team of researchers.
A handful of pistachios may lower cholesterol and provide the antioxidants usually found in leafy green vegetables and brightly colored fruit, according to a team of researchers.
“Pistachio amounts of 1.5 ounces and 3 ounces — one to two handfuls — reduced risk for cardiovascular disease by significantly reducing LDL cholesterol levels and the higher dose significantly reduced lipoprotein ratios,” says Sarah K. Gebauer, graduate student in integrative biosciences, Penn State, to attendees at the Experimental Biology meeting April 30 in Washington, D.C.
The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet on cardiovascular disease risk factors. Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study segment.
Participants began the study by eating an Average American Diet consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat for two weeks. They then tested three diets for four weeks each with a two-week break between each diet.
“We had really good compliance and participants were generally pleased with the diets,” says Gebauer.
What Nuts Contain Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is a vitamin that has been discovered as recently as 1926.
However, since then, it has been connected to various health conditions and health levels.
The primary responsibilities of vitamin B12 are to protect the nervous system, keep the blood cells healthy, and create DNA.
When adequately consumed, Vitamin B12 can prevent anemia and combat fatigue.
Vitamin B12 is primarily produced by animals thanks to interactions with certain bacteria.
Since the human body lacks this important bacteria, we cannot produce vitamin B12, and we have to take it from food.
You can find out more about vitamin B12 in the video below:
Animals produce the best B12 quality and quantity, and the best sources of B12 are considered to be fish, eggs, poultry, meat, and dairy.
While some studies look for the presence of B12 in plant-based foods, more research is needed to understand what foods might provide this critical compound.
Nuts, being a minimally-processed, plant-based food, dont contain B12.
However, you might be able to find breakfast foods such as granola and cereals that have been fortified with B12 and include nuts.
Vegans might not like this next point, but the bioavailability of B12 from plant foods and fortified foods is minimal and does not provide the same quality of B12 that animal foods do.
However, some seaweed like chlorella and spirulina can provide a similar quality of B12 that animals do.
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Why Pistachios Are A Healthy Choice
Making nuts such aspistachios a part of your everyday eating is associated with decreased risk ofdeath from;cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease, Jeffers says.
Pistachios and other nuts are a mainstay of the healthy;Mediterranean diet. Studies;link this diet to some of the highest life expectancy and lowest heart disease rates in the world. Theyre also a nice source of protein , with about 6 grams per ounce.
You dont have to eat a lot of pistachios to reap the benefits. But beware! Their buttery, rich flavor makes them easy to over-indulge in.
Whats the right serving size? Aim for 1 to 1½ ounces a day. Or, if youre more the counting sort, theres roughly 49 pistachios;in an ounce.
Whats the best way to avoidpigging out on them? Jeffers says one trick to avoid eating too many is to buythem in the shells instead of the pre-shelled variety. Theyll take a littlelonger to eat because youll have to pry;open the shells, she says.The;shells also are a great visual reminder of how many youve eaten.This can help to keep you on track with portion size.
And you dont have to reservepistachios for snacking either. One easy way to incorporate them into your dieteach day? Jeffers suggest trying them as a garnish You can also find plenty of recipes using pistachios, from quickbreads to pesto.
What Nuts Are High In Omega
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that have the responsibility to protect and enhance important body functions.
Studies have shown that consumption of Omega-3 fatty acids can decrease heart disease incidence and prevent conditions such as eczema, arthritis, and certain types of cancer.
The three most common and important types of Omega-3 fatty acids are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid
- Docosahexaenoic acid
- Eicosapentaenoic acid
While the first type of Omega-3 can be easily found in plants, the other two are mainly present in animal products, fish, and algae.
However, you can get Omega-3 from flaxseed powder and vegan Omega-3 supplements.
One of the main characteristics of Omega-3 to remember is that our bodies do not naturally produce them.
Therefore, they must be consumed from the foods in your diet.
Nuts should be an essential component of a healthy diet, mainly because they are naturally rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Some of the best nuts that have plenty of Omega-3 includes:
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Macadamia Nuts And Lower Cholesterol Levels
Its not really known how macadamia nuts help lower cholesterol levels. However, there appear to be a few nutrients packed into the tiny nut that may contribute to its ability to lower cholesterol, including;soluble fiber,;monounsaturated fat,;and;phytosterols.
Previous studies have shown that all of these nutrients have the ability to slightly lower LDL cholesterol. Studies have also shown that monounsaturated fats can increase HDL cholesterol levels.
Walnuts Help Keep Arteries Clear
Most nuts contain a high concentration of healthy fat. Walnuts are composed of 47 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids, thought of as “good fats.” But while most nuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts are the only ones with a significant amount of a certain type called alpha-linoleic acid. Alpha-linoleic acid acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and has actually been shown to help reduce plaque buildup in coronary arteries. Eating walnuts has been shown to improve cholesterol levels and the function of the small arteries and vessels within our bodies. Recently, a study looking people who consumed 43 gm of walnuts every day found the nuts;reduced total and LDL cholesterol;levels. However this study showed something even more important, in my view. Consumption of walnuts reduced the level of apolipoprotein B, which is a strong genetic risk factor for coronary artery disease.
If you are at high risk for coronary artery disease or already have it, consider adding walnuts to your diet.
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Pistachios Help Lower Blood Pressure Under Stress
Adding pistachios to your diet also has potential heart benefits. Previously, I discussed how our body and heart responds adversely to stress and how we respond to it with increased blood pressure. A study of people who ate approximately 1.5 0z of pistachios a day and were then exposed to mental stress found they had lower blood pressure rises than those who did not eat pistachios. In people with diabetes, eating pistachios lowers total and LDL cholesterol and can reduce the risk of diabetes-related disease in the arteries. In a four-week trial published in 2014;of;patients who had diabetes, a diet rich in pistachios improved heart rate response to stress, 24-hour blood pressure measurements, and heart function and output. Total cholesterol also decreased for those who ate pistachios.
If you are looking to lower your blood pressure, improve your response to stress, and lower your cholesterol, consider adding pistachios to your diet.
Where And How They Grow
Pistachios have only been growing on American soil since the 1960s. Before then, they were always imported. In 1929, an American botanist took a trip to Persia to collect pistachios. It took some time to perfect the growing process, but now pistachios thrive in the dry climates of California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
The pistachio tree is unique in that it has wide-spreading branches, with the pistachios grow in clusters, much like grapes. It takes about 10 to 12 years before the tree starts producing a sizeable crop. Even more fascinating is that there are male and female trees, and only the female produces pistachios.
The male tree does its part too. It contributes a vital componentthe pollen by way of the wind, not bee pollination.
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Almonds & Almond Flour
Cake with only 10 grams of carbs have we died and gone to heaven?? When you substitute regular wheat flour for almond flour, true magic happens in the kitchen. Not only do you benefit from a serving of plant-based protein and get a delectably fluffy texture in your baked goods,;but you’ll also experience the heart-healing power of nuts. Almonds have been found to increase low HDL cholesterol levels in coronary artery disease patients, according to a Journal of Nutrition study, as well as in healthy subjects. For a simple almond flour mug cake recipe click here, don’t miss Wholesome Yum’s recipe.
Pistachios May Lower Ldl Cholesterol
But You’ve Got to Make Room in Your Calorie Budget for Them
Sept. 11, 2008 — Pistachios may help curb less-than-ideal levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol, a new study shows.
But there’s a catch: if you add pistachios to your diet, you’ve got to cut back elsewhere to keep your calorie count steady, since gaining extra weight won’t do your heart any favors.
Nuts are already known to be good for your heart when eaten in moderation as part of a low-fat diet. Since 2003, the FDA has allowed almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts to make a qualified health claim to that effect.
The new study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, is only about pistachios. Almonds and walnuts have been featured in most of the previous nut studies, so the researchers, who included Pennsylvania State University graduate student Sarah Gebauer and Distinguished Professor Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, put pistachios in the spotlight.
The key question: Would one or two daily servings of pistachios pack a punch against LDL cholesterol?
They Wont Spike Blood Sugar
Rollercoasters are fun at theme parks, not so fun for blood sugar levels. Keeping blood sugar from spiking and dropping is especially critical for those with diabetes and prediabetes.
Fortunately, pistachios might help. The nuts have a low glycemic index, meaning they wont raise blood sugar dramatically. They might even minimize the impact of high carb foods on blood sugar. A small 2011 study found that eating pistachios alongside carb heavy foods like rice and pasta helped maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Other research showed that when people with type 2 diabetes ate half a serving of pistachios twice a day for 12 weeks, it significantly brought down their fasting blood sugar.
Pistachios Help Patients With Metabolic Syndrome
A;high triglyceride level and a low HDL cholesterol level are two out of three metabolic risk factors required for your healthcare practitioner to give you a metabolic syndrome diagnosis. The more risk factors you have, the higher your risk for stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
Other risk factors include:
- A large “apple-shaped” waistline indicating excess fat in your abdominal area
- High blood pressure, or if you’re taking medication to treat this condition
- High fasting blood sugar, or if you’re taking medication to treat this condition
In a 24-week study of 60 people with metabolic syndrome published in the journal Nutrition, researchers prescribed a standard diet and exercise protocol to all participants and added unsalted pistachios as 20 percent of caloric intake for half of them.
The pistachio-eating group showed a statistically significant improvement in comparison to the control in several parameters, including:
- Total cholesterol
- Fasting blood glucose
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