Nuts are nature’s bounty that comes in small bundles delivering a host of healing health benefits. Crunchy, flavourful, bite-sized nuts are laden with a dense nutrient profile that make for a healthy snack. Almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts make a punch of wholesome delights, but of all the nuts pistachios often remain undervalued. Pistachios are one of the oldest cultivated trees, which live up to 300 hundred years and takes about 8-10 months of harvest. Pistachio belongs to the Anacardiaceae, cashew family, the genus Pistacia. It is a drupe, where the fruit bears a large, elongated seed in the centre that is edible and used widely in cuisine across the globe and available all through the year.

The Pistachio Plant

The pistachio tree is native to Central Asia, Iran and Afghanistan. In India, it is grown in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that has an ideal temperature for its cultivation. The tree requires a ray of good sunshine to grow and it is highly tolerant to saline soil as well, while special care has to be given during the process of growing young seedlings. The pistachio trees thrive in temperatures ranging between -10 C in winter and 48 C in summer and are prone to spoil if they get too much water in winter. Hot, long summer months are needed for proper ripening of the fruit. The tree grows up to 10 m long with deciduous pinnate leaves, while the flowers are unisexually borne in panicles and have a separate male and female tree. The pistachio kernel has light green flesh with a unique flavour, as the fruit ripens, the shell changes colour from green to yellow/red and splits partly open, which is known as dehiscence and occurs with an audible pop.
pista tree

Also Read: Pistachio: 5 Incredible Reasons Why You Should Include This Nutritious Nut In Your Diet

The nuts are harvested using a machine to remove the drupe, after the process of hulling and drying, then the seeds are graded based on the type - open mouth shell and closed mouth shell. The seeds are roasted and further processed to make pistachio kernel. Pistachios are versatile nuts for its unique, mildly sweet flavour as well as for enthralling vibrant hues. The kernels are enjoyed fresh or roasted as a standalone snack, topped on a salad, blended with trail mix, used extensively in baking, confectioneries, ice-creams or as a crunchy layering for fish or meat.

Pistachios Nutrition Content

Pistachios are prized nuts for its well-balanced nutritional profile encompassing all the essential macronutrients - carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and dietary fibre along with notable amounts of vital micronutrients phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, and essential vitamins like A, C, E, and K, as well as choline and betaine that manages weight, control, hypertension and uplifts brain, skin and eye health. Pistachios are one of the most vitamin B6 rich sources that hold a significant role in regulating blood sugar and the formation of haemoglobin. While it also contains a host of phytosterol compounds, a kind of anti-inflammatory plant hormone associated with enhanced immune function. It has negligible amounts of fat and low-calorie content when compared to most other nuts to promote cardiac wellness.

Nutrient Values In A 100 g  Serving Of Pistachio:

Energy  557 Kcal

Carbohydrates  27.97 g     

Protein   20.60 g

Total Fat    44.44 g

Cholesterol   0 mg

Dietary Fiber   10.3g         

Vitamins

Folate   51 µg        

Niacin   1.3 mg    

Pantothenic acid    0.520 mg  

Pyridoxine 1.7 mg      

Riboflavin  0.160 mg  

Thiamin     0.870 mg  

Vitamin A  553 IU       

Vitamin C   5 mg

Vitamin E   22.60 mg  

Electrolytes

Sodium   1 mg       

Potassium  1025 mg   

Minerals

Calcium  107 mg     

Copper    1.3 mg      

Iron   4.15 mg

Magnesium  121 mg     

Manganese   1.2 mg      

Phosphorus     376 mg     

Selenium   7 µg 

Zinc   2.20 mg

Source As Per USDA

    Pistachio nut     

Incredible Health Benefits Of Pistachios

Potent Antioxidant Effects

Antioxidants are essential compounds that hold a significant role in boosting overall health, they prevent cell damage and lowers the risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and inflammation. Pistachios are an abundant source of antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin that protect eyes from damage caused by age-related macular degeneration and promote vision. Noteworthy levels of polyphenols and tocopherol in pistachios may help prevent the risk of cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, the antioxidants in pistachios are easily assessable and well absorbed during digestion.

Augment Heart Wellness

Adding pistachios in a well-balanced diet in moderate amounts help in optimizing cardiac health. Laden with healthy monounsaturated fatty acids pistachios helps regulate high blood pressure. Rich in L-arginine, which is converted into nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels, this averts fatty deposit in heart vessels, easing cardiac muscle function and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis. Aside these, the richness of phytosterols in pistachios lowers the absorption of dietary cholesterol from foods reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, if you wish to keep heart healthy, make sure you have a fistful of nuts that also includes pistachios.

Also Read: 5 Incredible Nuts To Boost Your Heart Health - Infographic

Supports Weight Loss

Nuts are a good lot of foods that can be added as a healthy snack in a weight loss regimen. Pistachios abundant in dietary fibre and protein keep you satiated, reduces overall calorie intake and control unwanted hunger pangs. Several studies have also disclosed that consuming pistachios reduces fat content and overtime keep inches off your waist.

Promotes Gut Health

Pistachios are a great source of fibre providing 3 grams per serving. The gut bacteria ferment this fibre and make short-chain fatty acids which offer several health benefits. Butyrate is one such valuable fatty acids and its consumption increases good bacteria in the gut that eases the digestion process and lowers the risk of digestive disorders.

Manages Diabetes

Being low on glycaemic index, pistachios don’t spike blood sugar levels, while it also increases the levels of peptide 1, a hormone that regulates glucose levels. Evidence also stated that dietary addition of pistachios can have positive impacts on glycaemic profile, blood pressure, reduces inflammation and obesity in diabetic patients. Moreover, pistachios bestowed with antioxidants, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds are beneficial for blood glucose control.

Also Read: Groundnuts/Peanuts: Nutrition, Health Benefits For Heart, Diabetes And Weight Loss

Good For Vision

Immense volumes of lutein and zeaxanthin present in pistachios are valuable in promoting eye health. Adding adequate quantities of these antioxidants in the diet prevents vision problems like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. While it is also a good source of zinc, where a deficiency of this mineral has been linked to poor night vision. Apart from this, packed with healthy fatty acids, pistachios may also contribute to improved eye health.

Pistachios For Pregnant Women

Pistachios supply a daily dose of vital nutrients that are essential for women during pregnancy. Endowed with vitamins such as B6, A, C and K that maintain healthy blood levels, promotes growth and development of the foetus. They also serve as a wholesome snack for breastfeeding mothers and help them meet the increasing demands of energy.

Roasted pistachio
Boosts Cognitive Health

The comprehensive nutrient profile of pistachio was found to combat brain inflammation and boost cognitive function. Bestowed with vitamin E, healthy fats and protein, nuts enhance cognitive performance, learning skills, attention span and memory power. While pistachios also play a key role in protecting brain cells from detrimental toxins and potential damages caused by certain drugs.

Also Read: 5 Nuts to Include In Your Daily Diet

Improves Sexual Health

Pistachios are valued as a potent aphrodisiac that boosts fertility and sexual health in men. Anecdotal evidence reveals that consuming a handful of nuts on a daily basis was found to improve vitality and libido. Pistachios are known to encompass highest volumes of phytoestrogen that may increase estrogen levels and regulate the normal menstrual cycle. Apart from this, laden with arginine, phytosterol and antioxidants it is also beneficial to treat erectile dysfunction.

Also Read: The Ultimate Aphrodisiac Food Guide

Anti-ageing Effects

Pistachio is composed of vitamin E, phenolic acids and flavonoids that are excellent antioxidants, which eliminates detrimental toxins. This promotes regeneration of new skin cells, concealing fine lines, wrinkles and slows down ageing. In addition, vast reserves of cooper in pista help boost elastin production and treats sagging skin.

How Many Pista To Eat Per Day?

Pistachios deliver umpteen health benefits and well-known to uplift overall health. It is suggested to consume about an ounce that is roughly around 30 grams or a fistful of serving per day. Regular addition of pistachio in the diet meets the daily dose of proteins, fats, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

Why Is Pista Salty?

One of the oldest ways to stock nuts is to use a drying process. In this process salt is added, which prevent food spoilage, increase shelf life and makes it easy to pack, transport and store. These are the reasons why are pistachios salted.

Pista Recipes

The versatile nature of pistachio nut, coupled with its crunchiness and flavour, makes it easy to add it into different types of recipes ranging from traditional Indian desserts, curries to continental baked produce. It can be used for culinary purposes in form of fresh, roasted, fried or ground flour.

Pista Barfi

Pista Barfi is an extremely delicious dessert with a mildly nutty flavour and has an appealing colour that makes it very tempting.

pista barfi

Ingredients

½ cup of pistachios

½ cup of skinned almonds

1 cup of sugar

¼ cup of water

2 tbsp milk powder

2 drops green food colour, optional

1 tsp ghee

¼ tsp elachi powder

2 tbsp chopped almonds & pistachios

Method

In a blender add pistachios, almonds and blend into a fine powder, keep it aside

In a pan add sugar, 1/4 cup of water and prepare sugar syrup one string consistency.

Now add powdered mixture and milk powder, a drop of green food colour.

Keep stirring continuously on low to medium flame till it forms a thick paste, add ghee and cardamom powder.

Transfer the mixture onto the greased tray, tap and level dough.

Garnish with chopped nuts and press slightly.

Allow the barfi to set for 10 minutes and cut into pieces.

Serve pista barfi once cooled completely or store in an airtight container.

Nutritional Facts

Pistachios possess notable quantities of healthy fatty acids, which uplifts heart health by diminishing cholesterol and raising good HDL cholesterol levels. While almonds added in the barfi helps in regulating blood pressure, as they supply an adequate amount of potassium, an essential mineral for optimising cardiac muscle function. Elachi is a storehouse of antioxidants which bolsters immunity and combat bad breath.

Pistachio Soup

A green soup always reminds you of spinach or herb, well here is a creamy soup that breaks away from all norms and gives you an enthralling experience.
Pistachio soup

Ingredients

5 tbsp pistachios

31/2 cup clear vegetable stock

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp all-purpose flour

2 drops green food colour

Salt to taste

1 tsp pepper powder

1/2 tsp jeera powder

1 tsp chopped garlic

For garnish

1 tsp celery leaves

Method

Add the pistachios in a blender make a fine powder and keep it aside

Heat butter in a pan sauté garlic, then add maida and cook on a low flame for 1 minute.

Add the stock, pistachio powder, green colour, pepper and jeera powder stir well and cook on a medium flame for 5 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Garnish with celery leaves and serve hot.

Nutritional Facts

Pistachios are abundant in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants trigger the immune system and boost brain and eye health. Vegetable stock packed with essential nutrients and dietary fibres that enrich the functioning of the digestive system. While pepper with potent anti-inflammatory properties fights inflammation and lower the risk of cancer. Jeera powder endowed with vital nutrients boost metabolism and keeps seasonal infections at bay.

Side Effects

Eating about a fistful of pistachios every day either fresh or unsalted, is generally well assimilated by most people. Like all foods, overeating pista on a regular basis will certainly lead to health problems such as abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhoea. Furthermore, if a person suffers from heart ailments and high blood pressure, it is advised not to consume roasted pistachio that is high in salt.

Conclusion

Pistachios come with a plethora of nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, protein and healthy fatty acids. They offer countless incredible health benefits from augmenting cardiac health, regulating diabetes, promoting brain activity, to easing digestion and enhancing sexual and eye health. Adding them in the diet regimen is fairly easy, these nuts can be consumed fresh, roasted or blended to make delightful desserts and curries. Pistachios are indeed a wholesome food that offers numerous wellness incentives for better well-being.