Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Superfood of the Week: Health Benefits of Pistachios

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Superfood: pistachios.When the mid-day munchies hit and you’re tempted to grab a sugar-filled snack, bypass the candy bar or chips and reach for a handful of pistachios instead. When consumed in moderation, this tree nut can be effective in managing weight when compared to other high-fat, heavy snacks. That’s why this week's superfood is: pistachios!

Pistachios have been around for a long time, dating back to as early as the Paleolithic era. Pistachios are now a hot topic in research as many scientists are uncovering the many benefits of these nuts for battling disease. These delicious nuts are not only an antioxidant powerhouse, but they are also high in fiber, protein, and potassium (almost as much as a small banana). They are also considered to be heart healthy as they keep cholesterol in check and may help to reduce LDL (lousy) cholesterol.

Did you know pistachios are considered to be the “skinny nut”? For a 1 oz portion (that’s a whopping 49 pistachios!), you’ll only get 160 calories, which is one of the lowest-calorie nuts compared to all other nuts. When deciding between shelled and unshelled pistachios, you may want to consider the advantages of shelled. Some of the latest research has shown that those watching their waistlines should choose shelled vs. unshelled.

In two recent studies conducted by Dr. Jim Painter at Eastern Illinois University, researchers found that participants who consumed shelled pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed unshelled pistachios. In the second study, researchers found that pistachio shells can provide important visual cues as a reminder of consumption which translated into subjects consuming 35 percent fewer calories. Translate: pistachios are a great snack for weight management!

Think about what other foods you can use as visual cues—chicken wings, ribs, shelled peanuts, individually packaged candy. Simply don’t throw the remnants of these foods away until you finish eating to help you control your portions daily and prevent mindless eating!

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Tags: Healthy Eating , Nutrition , Protein , Superfood of the Week

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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