12 Surprising Benefits of Eating Pistachios
How Are Pistachios Good For You?
A 28-gram serving of pistachios contains good amounts of fiber, protein, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin B6, and manganese. They have a rich and nutty taste.
Pistachios contain the highest amount of antioxidants among nuts. All of these benefit human health in various ways. We will explore them in the following section.
What Are The Benefits Of Pistachios?
1. May Aid Weight Loss
Pistachios contain fiber. Studies show that fiber intake may promote satiety and, in turn, help with weight loss. Another nutrient with similar qualities is protein, which can reduce hunger pangs.
2. May Enhance Gut Health
The fiber in pistachios aids digestion and prevents constipation.
The gut bacteria ferment this fiber and produce short-chain fatty acids, which have several benefits. They prevent colon cancer and improve digestive health overall. Butyrate is one such beneficial short-chain fatty acid, and its consumption increases the number of good bacteria in the gut .
3. May Improve Heart Health
Research has shown that pistachios may help prevent heart ailments by increasing the levels of heart-healthy fats. They can also lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease..
Pistachios lower the levels of lipoproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease. Diets containing these nuts were also found to lower blood pressure levels. The nuts contain arginine, an amino acid. Arginine was also found to lower blood pressure .
4. May Aid Diabetes Treatment
Glucose levels were found to be lower with pistachio consumption. The nuts also increase the levels of peptide 1, a hormone that regulates glucose levels in those with diabetes.
An Iranian study also states that the dietary intake of pistachio nuts can have positive effects on glycemic control, blood pressure, inflammation, and obesity in individuals with diabetes .
5. May Be Beneficial During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Pistachios offer a healthy dose of several nutrients that are important during pregnancy. Studies show that diets including these nuts can be of help during this period.
Pistachios may also benefit breastfeeding mothers due to their nutritional profile. They are also easy to be included in the diet. Busy nursing mothers can simply snack on pistachios as they are.
6. May Combat Inflammation
The bioactives present in pistachios may help fight inflammation. These anti-inflammatory properties can be put to therapeutic use. Pistachios are also rich in monounsaturated fats. Some believe these may also help combat inflammation, though more research is warranted in this aspect.
7. May Improve Vision Health
Pistachios are a rich source of lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the human retina. Consuming enough of these antioxidants prevents vision issues like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
Pistachios are also rich in zinc. A deficiency of the mineral has been linked to poor night vision.
The healthy fatty acids in pistachios may also contribute to eye health. However, we need more research to substantiate this.
8. May Boost Cognitive Function
Pistachios, like most nuts, are good sources of vitamin E. In rat studies, the nutrient was found to decrease the risk of peripheral neurotoxicity.
Ripe pistachio shells were found to alleviate anxiety in rats . The nuts may also enhance cognitive performance, learning, information retention, and rapid eye movement during sleep. However, sufficient data is lacking in this regard.
Some anecdotal evidence suggests that pistachio nut oil may also fight brain inflammation and preserve the essential fatty acids in the brain.
Pistachios may also have a role to play in protecting brain function from the potential disruptions caused by anticancer drugs.
Did You Know? Pistachios are the original prehistoric snacks. In fact, they are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible.
10. May Enhance Sexual Health
Anecdotal evidence suggests that pistachios may boost fertility. However, we need more research in this regard.
Studies show that pistachios can act as an aphrodisiac. Eating a handful of the nuts every day for three weeks was found to improve sex drive in men. The arginine, phytosterol, and antioxidants in the nuts have shown to help treat erectile dysfunction.
11. May Increase Estrogen Levels
Pistachios have the highest amount of phytoestrogens amongst nuts. They may increase estrogen levels and contribute to a regulated menstrual cycle and secondary sex characteristics.
12. May Slow Down Premature Aging
Pistachios contain vitamin E. The vitamin prevents chronic UV photoaging of the skin . The nuts also contain copper. The nutrient aids the production of elastin, which prevents the formation of wrinkles and treats sagging skin .
In a study, mice treated with vitamin E showed fewer signs of UV-induced skin damage.