Top 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Pistachios

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Amazing Health Benefits Of PistachiosImage – © Mara Zemgaliete – fotolia.com

The common edible pistachio and other Pistacia species have a surprising track record in traditional medicine for a very wide range of benefits! Did you know that herbalists have used various parts of the plant (not just the nuts!) for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties? [1]

The biochemical activity that underlies some of the positive effects of eating pistachio nuts has been researched and we can share details of these health benefits!

1. Vitamins – Pistachio nuts (Pistacia vera) are a good source of slow-release carbohydrates, essential fatty acids and antioxidants – they contain an impressive combination of vitamins, especially B6, and essential minerals in significant amounts! [2]

2. Rheumatoid Arthritis Support – Early studies have shown that the strong antioxidant properties of pistachios can help to reduce the degenerative effects of chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. [3]

3. Improves Erectile Function – A clinical trial showed clear benefits for males following a 3 week period of eating 100g of pistachios daily. The parameters measured in this trial included the very weird-sounding “penile color Doppler ultrasound” (or PCDU) – I really did learn something new today! [4]

4. Combats Free Radicals – Gum extracted from pistachios has been tested and shows a potent ability to reduce the numbers of free radicals in the body – free radicals can cause cell damage, speeding up ageing and the onset of chronic disease. [3][5]

5. Diabetes / Insulin – Scientific study has shown benefits to people with diabetes in terms of reducing post-prandial glycemia and has suggested “insulin-sparing” properties. Eating pistachios has also been shown to reduce the cardiovascular risk factors in patients with type 2 diabetes, including the lowering of blood pressure. [6][7]

6. Weight Loss – Replacing dietary fats from animal products with nuts that are high in unsaturated fats is often suggested as a healthy choice and it could also lead to weight loss. Many nuts have quite high percentages of fats so it is still important to moderate your intake. Here is a curious fact that could help… the “pistachio principle” can reduce overall food consumption when eating shelled pistachios! – this is due to the slow process of removing the shells before eating them; slower eating tends to produce a full feeling after eating less. Seeing the number of opened shells has also been demonstrated to have a psychological effect and to reduce how many are eaten in one sitting! Though of course, if the nuts are salted this could lead to an addictive-like quality. [8][9]

7. Cancer Protective Phenolics – There is promising progress in cancer research that associates nut consumption with a reduced risk of developing cancer. The phenolic compounds (found mainly in the skin of nuts), antioxidants, vegetable fiber and monounsaturated fatty acids all exhibit cancer protective properties. [10]

8. Lower Blood Pressure – The nutritional balance in pistachio nuts, especially the prevalence of essential fatty acids, lowers blood pressure and so reduces the risk of diseases associated with hypertension. [8]

9. Overall Longevity – Nuts help you to live longer! – Studies show that eating nuts is likely to give a protective effect against “all-cause mortality”. The testing applied to several different population groups! [11]

10. Minerals – Pistachios contain impressive amounts of copper (80% of the recommended daily intake in 1 cupful), manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. [12]

Safety notes – Pistachios are closely related to cashews and mangoes, so it is likely that anyone who has an allergy to these should avoid eating pistachios as well. Many pistachios are available roasted and salted however for the best health benefits it is recommended that you consume unroasted and unsalted nuts to preserve delicate nutrients and avoid a high intake of sodium that could counteract health benefits. Pistachios are also rich in fructans (indigestible long chains of fructose molecules) so anyone with a history of irritable bowel syndrome, or a similar sensitivity, should probably seek an alternative for their diet. [13][14][15]

References:

[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3876903/

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pistachio

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3813125/#B12

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21228801

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24939094

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24424074

[7] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24980134

[8] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/#B76-nutrients-02-00652

[9] http://www.pistachiohealthinstitute.org/health-care-professional/weight-management/pistachio-principle/

[10] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125538

[11] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10479222

[12] http://skipthepie.org/nut-and-seed-products/nuts-pistachio-nuts-raw/

[13] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anacardiaceae

[14] http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyDietGoals/The-Effects-of-Excess-Sodium-on-Your-Health-and-Appearance_UCM_454387_Article.jsp

[15] http://www.health.arizona.edu/health_topics/nutrition/handouts/FODMAPs%20diet.pdf

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