Pistachios belong to the cashew family, and these nuts grow on small, bushy deciduous trees. Pistachio trees grow widely in regions of Middle East and Central Asia. The first evidence of pistachios being consumed by humans dates back to 6,000 BC. The nuts that are consumed are actually the seeds of the fruits. The seeds are extracted from the mature fruits and dried before being consumed. Pistachios have been used for centuries in the preparation of delicacies and sweet dishes. The health benefits of pistachios are associated with improved cardiovascular health, weight management, improved digestion and protection against diabetes.
Health Benefits of Pistachio
One of the biggest health benefits of pistachios is that they are heart-friendly nuts. Research on pistachios suggests that regular pistachio consumption can decrease the levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) are great for Promoting a healthy heart.
Pistachios are also the first choice for people who are dieting. Evidence suggests that pistachios, with their lower calories, high protein, low saturated fat, and high unsaturated fats, are an ideal contender as compared to other nuts and dried fruits for ideal weight management.
Reduced Risk of Age-Related Macular Disease or (AMD)
Pistachios contain carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help in reducing the risk of contracting age-related Macular disease in the elderly, according to the research conducted by Chen CYO and Blumberg JB from Tufts University, Boston, USA. They can be included, along with vegetables, for an increased supply of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Even the shells of pistachios are found to contain a considerable amount of antioxidants. Researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University, in Tehran, Iran were able to successfully identify and extract these antioxidants to be added to other foods. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that form in the body after cellular metabolism and can cause conditions like cancer and heart disease.
The list of benefits of pistachios is incomplete without discussing its helpfulness for developing healthy blood. Pistachios are loaded with B complex vitamins, especially vitamin B6 that is an essential vitamin for the production of hemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the main component of red blood cells that helps in carrying oxygen to all the organs, muscles and tissues of the body.
Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
One of the vital health benefits of pistachios is that it helps in controlling and preventing Type 2 Diabetes, one of the most common forms of diabetes mellitus that is caused due to insulin resistance. Eating at least two servings of pistachios per day helps in supplying the recommended daily value of phosphorus that not only aids in breaking down the proteins into amino acids, but also improving glucose tolerance.