Pistachios aren’t only delicious — they’re packed with health benefits, too. Eating pistachios may improve heart health and help you maintain a healthy weight. They’re also a good source of antioxidants and protein.
Overall, pistachios are the healthiest nuts around. Pistachios are:
- a good source of unsaturated fatty acids
- high in several antioxidants, like γ-tocopherol, β-carotene, lutein, selenium, flavonoids, and phytoestrogens
- high in vitamins and minerals like phytosterols, potassium, vitamin B-6, β-carotene, and lutein, zeaxanthin, and selenium
- high in magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin K, and folate
- high in protein (just 100 grams of pistachios contains 20 grams of protein — more than most protein bars on the market!)
- high in fiber
Pistachios also provide complete amino acid protein.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that eating pistachios can help improve your heart health. Pistachios have been associated with reducing some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease by increasing HDL (good) cholesterol, reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol, and helping lower blood pressure. They also help with metabolic conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Are they fattening?
Many people consider nuts to be “fattening,” but in actuality, pistachios are associated with lower body weights. Many different studies have found that replacing common snack food items, like pretzels and chips with pistachios instead, helps individuals maintain lower overall weight loss and healthy weights.
How to eat
One of the easiest and most common — not to mention tastiest — ways to use a pistachio is simply in a snack. One serving of pistachios (about 1 ounce or 28 grams) can be enjoyed simply by noshing straight from the shell.
Most grocery stores offer many different kinds of seasoned pistachios, but just be careful. The seasoning can add a lot of fat, sodium, and calories.
You can also get creative with pistachios:
- Add them as toppings in salads or yogurt.
- Crush or grind them and use in pasta or to season meats, salsas, and stir-fries.
Pistachios will last for several months in room temperature if you store them in a container. They can even last up to a year if you keep them in the fridge.
You can also use pistachio oil. Like any other nut or seed oil, pistachio oil can be used for baking or as a dressing or marinade. It’s not recommended for cooking with high heats, however.
Some people use pistachio oil for beauty benefits, too. Apply it to your hair as a deep-conditioning treatment and leave it on after shampooing for 30 minutes. You can also let the oil soak into your strands overnight.
No matter how you incorporate pistachios into your diet, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this healthy (and delicious) nut!