Pistachios are the edible seeds of the cashew tree family. In China, pistachios are called “happy nuts”, due to the half-open shell.
Seeds contain a lot of protein, fat, dietary fiber and vitamin B6. They are eaten fresh or fried. Pistachios are used in the preparation of dishes, desserts, halva and ice cream.
Where do pistachios grow
Pistachios grow on trees that can survive long periods of drought. They originated from Central Asia. These are hardy plants that can thrive in dry and adverse conditions with low rainfall and grow in steep, rocky areas.
Pistachio trees require specific climatic conditions for fruiting. Trees need hot summers and cold winters. If the summer is rainy, the tree can “catch” a fungal disease.
Today pistachios are grown in Afghanistan, the Mediterranean region and in California.
The composition and calorie pistachios
Ingredients 100 gr. pistachios in percentage of the daily norm is presented below.
B6 – 85%;
B1 – 58%;
B9 – 13%;
E – 11%;
B2 – 9%.
copper – 65%;
manganese – 60%;
phosphorus – 49%;
magnesium – 30%;
potassium – 29% .
Calorie pistachios – 557 kcal per 100 grams.
The benefits of pistachios
The beneficial properties of pistachios are expressed in the regulation of blood pressure, lower cholesterol and the ability to reduce inflammation.
For the heart and blood vessels
Pistachios support healthy cholesterol and the balance of lipids in the blood. A small portion of the product daily reduces the level of lipids in the blood by 9%, and a large one to 12% .This lowers blood pressure and vascular stress responses.
The study proved that middle-aged women who regularly use pistachios are 40% less likely to suffer from age-related memory impairments.
Pistachios reduce the risk of eye diseases, since they contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. They reduce age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
For the lungs
The inclusion of pistachios in the diet 1 time per week by 24% reduces the risk of developing respiratory diseases, and daily – by 39% .
For the digestive tract
Pistachios are a source of monounsaturated fatty acids that help get rid of belly fat.
Nuts are rich in fiber, and it is good for the health of the digestive system. They increase intestinal motility and prevent constipation. Pistachios reduce the risk of colon cancer.
For the endocrine system
Daily consumption of pistachios reduces blood sugar levels. Mediterranean diet with pistachios reduces the incidence of gestational diabetes.
Canadian researchers have found that consuming pistachios lowers blood sugar levels.
Pistachios contain oleanolic acid, which inhibits the development of allergic contact dermatitis.
Drinking one or two servings of pistachio per day increases the level of antioxidants in the blood.
The study showed that even those who ate nuts less than 1 time per week, the risk of developing cancer fell by 11% .
The inclusion of the product in the diet of pregnant women reduces the risk of preterm birth and prematurity of babies.
Due to the arginine content, pistachios work as a natural remedy for impotence.
Pistachios for weight loss
More and more studies refute the myth that nuts can lead to weight gain. For example, a study with pistachios proved that using them 2 or more times a week helps to lose weight. The product is an excellent source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which allow you to control body weight due to rapid saturation.
Pistachios will be useful for those who want to lose weight or maintain weight, due to the high protein content.
Harm and contraindications of pistachios
Contraindications associated with the composition, characteristics of production and storage:
- nuts are rich in protein – excessive consumption increases the burden on the kidneys;
- pistachios are dangerous because of the high risk of being infected with aflatoxin. It is a carcinogen that causes liver cancer and weakens the immune system;
- salted pistachios contain a lot of salt – it can cause puffiness.
If you are allergic to pistachios, then stop using them.
Pistachios can tolerate Salmonella, a dangerous food bacterium.
How to choose pistachios
Do not buy pistachios that have been “bleached”. This can adversely affect the content of nutrients.
Pistachios spoil quickly. After harvest, they must be processed within 24 hours, otherwise tannins may stain the shell. Do not buy stained or spotted nuts. Natural shells should be light beige.
Choose organic pistachios. Nuts from Iran and Morocco contain many harmful additives.
Do not eat sour nuts or signs of mold.
To get the full benefit of pistachios, eat raw nuts, not roasted. Roasting reduces the availability of beneficial fatty acids and amino acids.
How to store pistachios
Pistachios can be stored in a refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks. If you put them in the freezer, the shelf life will increase to 1 year.
Drying raw pistachios with hot air also increases shelf life. Store dried nuts in a sealed container so that they are not damp.