The beauty of getting your nutritional requirements from the food items we consume is that we will get our acquiring the said nutrients through one of the most natural activities known to mankind and that is through the consumption of a meal. One type of supposed health food item is pistachios. But are pistachios really good for the health? In this article, we look at the possible health benefits of pistachios.
Pistachios: A General Overview
Pistachios are nuts that are healthy and also fun and super delicious. These seeds are edible and are harvested from the tree known as Pistacia Vera and can provide healthy fats and can be an excellent source of antioxidants, fiber, and protein. In addition, these nuts can provide a number of nutrients that are essential and can assist the goals of people trying to lose weight and improve their gut health. One important side note is that since 7000 BC, our ancestors have been enjoying Pistachio nuts. At present though, they can be found in a lot of dishes such as desserts or ice cream.
The Possible Health Benefits of Pistachios
Enumerated below are some of the possible health benefits of pistachios:
1. Filled with potent nutrients
Pistachio nuts have a very impressive nutritional profile with each serving in the amount of 28 grams (which is around 49 pistachios) can provide the following:
|Vitamin B6||28% (RDI)|
It must be noted that one richest food item in terms of vitamin B6 content is pistachios. It is also crucial for numerous biological functions of the body which include the regulation of blood sugar and hemoglobin formation. Hemoglobin is a type of molecule that can aid in having oxygen transported to the different cells of the red blood in the system. Pistachios can also provide significant levels of potassium and an ounce of pistachios can provide higher levels of potassium than a halved banana that is large.
2. Increased amounts of antioxidants
Antioxidants are critical if individuals want to maintain good health. They can also help in the prevention of cellular damage and also aid the body in the reduction of cancer and different other diseases.
Pistachios have increased levels of antioxidants compared to other seeds and nuts. In fact, only pecans and walnuts can dethrone pistachios in terms of antioxidant content.
During a study conducted for one whole month, test subjects who consumed 1 to 2 servings of pistachios on a daily basis and also showed y-Tocopherol and lutein in increased amounts versus test subjects who did not get any servings of pistachios.
In addition, pistachios also contain Zeaxanthin and lutein which are both critical antioxidants for the health of the eyes. These antioxidants can also help in the protection of the eyes due to age-related macular degeneration and blue-light damage.
Pistachios can also help fight off against heart disease and cancer due to its content of tocopherols and polyphenols. Pistachio antioxidants are also easily processed in the gut and are therefore more easily absorbed when being digested.
3. High in protein but low in calories
While consuming peanuts can provide a lot of health benefits, these peanuts can provide calories in large quantities. Fortunately, among nuts, pistachios have the most reduced amount of calories. An ounce of pistachio (which is around 28 grams) can provide around 159 calories, versus pecans’ 193 calories and walnuts’ 185 calories. With the weight of around 20% in terms of protein content, pistachios come in at second place to only to almonds. These pistachios also contain amino acids that are essential in higher ratios compared to other nuts.
Amino acids are crucial as they are protein’s building blocks and since the body cannot produce them on its own, it is important that they are acquired from the food items they consume.
4. Weight loss
Pistachios may be a food item that is energy-dense but in general, nuts are foods that are considered weight-loss friendly. A number of studies noted pistachio’s effects in terms of weight management and the said studies observed that the results are promising. These nuts are rich in protein and fiber which can both help individuals feel more full and satiated resulting in people reducing their total food intake.
One study which focused on a program for losing weight, people who ate pistachios in the amount of 53 grams as a form of snack in the afternoon experienced a reduction in their BMI (Body Mass Index) versus individuals who ate other forms of snacks such as pretzels.
A different study done for two months on individuals with unwanted weight noted that those who got 20% of their calories from pistachios shed around 1.5 cm off their waist measurements compared to those who did not eat pistachios.
5. Promotion of healthy bacteria in the gut
Pistachios have increased amounts of fiber and these can go through the digestive tract without being digested completely. Other types of fiber such as those provided by pistachios, can also be digested by healthy bacteria found in the gut, which are referred to as probiotics. This fiber can also undergo the fermentation process courtesy of the bacteria in the gut and have them converted to fatty acids that have their own health benefits such prevention of different diseases.