What makes pistachio one of the healthiest nuts there is?
Much more than an ice cream addition – the pistachios are not only delicious and fun to crack (apart from the closed ones), they are also super healthy. Pistachios are an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and thiamine.Israel is the largest consumer of milk pistachios in the world in terms of number of people, but we are not really the first to discover the virtues of pistachios. Throughout history, nuts have been a part of the diet around the world. Documents of eating pistachios even date to the Stone Age of 7000 BC. The Persians, the Arabs, the Romans and later also the Europeans and Chinese – all discovered the virtues of the nut on the menu and as time went on it became a very expensive dish. In Scandinavian countries, nuts have been dried and stored as food for use during the long and harsh winter.

Of the nuts, which are known to have a high fat content, pistachio has a significantly lower fat and energy percentage. One serving of 50 grams of pistachios (about 28 pistachios) includes the following nutritional values:
8 grams of carbohydrate
3 grams of fiber
6 grams of protein
13 grams of fat (90% of which constitute unsaturated fat)
Vitamin B6
Thiamine, (21% of the recommended daily allowance)
Minerals. Phosphorus (11% of the recommended daily allowance), copper (41% of the recommended daily allowance) and manganese (15% of the recommended daily allowance)

An important source of antioxidants

Pistachios contain a high amount of antioxidants relative to nuts and other seeds. As is well known, antioxidants prevent cell damage and play a key role in reducing the risk of developing cancer.

Two important antioxidants are lutein and saxanthin. These antioxidants are in high concentration in our retina and are essential for its health. They act as a filter that protects the retina from blue light and reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress. Studies have shown that lutein and saxanthin may reduce the risk of various eye diseases as well as retinal degeneration due to age.

Pistachio also contains high levels of additional antioxidants such as tocopherol, phytosterols, carotenoids and xanthophylls. These antioxidants are quickly accessible in the stomach, thus maximizing the possibility of absorption in the upper small intestine.

Blood pressure balance

Pistachios are one of the foods rich in both the mineral potassium that helps balance blood pressure and the vitamin B6 that our body needs to regulate sugar levels and create hemoglobin in our body.

Little fat, lots of protein

Compared to other nuts, pistachios are low in fat and calories. 28 grams of them (50 pistachios) contain only 159 calories and unsaturated fatty acids, oleic and linoleic. These fatty acids are known for their properties in preventing cardiovascular disease.

Also, pistachios are a good source of vegetable protein that makes up 20% of their total weight. They contain more protein than all the other nuts with a high ratio of essential amino acids to our body. It is important to understand that our body does not know how to produce amino acids and therefore it must get them from our diet. One of the semi-essential amino acids present in pistachios is arginine (L-ARGININE) which helps the blood vessels in our body to dilate and cause better blood flow. This is important for normal blood pressure levels, muscle and bone growth, heart health and more.

Moreover, pistachios will help you lose weight due to the low amount of carbohydrates in them and the high amount of fiber. Fiber content is important because studies show that consuming fiber consistently loses weight, reducing the risk of diabetes and certain types of cancer. It should also be noted that pistachios have a low glycemic index, which helps maintain satiety over time and lower blood sugar levels after a meal.

In a 12-week study, in people with type 2 diabetes, a 9% decrease in fasting blood glucose was observed after eating 25 grams of pistachios twice a day. Another study showed that pistachios inside the peel, will help more weight loss than peeled pistachios. The reason is that looking at the empty shells encourages conscious eating.

Digestive problems

Pistachios are rich in dietary fiber that contributes to the health of our colon. Eating pistachios may increase our population of gut bacteria that produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids like butyrate. Butyrate has a key role that includes reducing the risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders, cancer and other diseases of the colon.

Reducing blood cholesterol

A study examining the effect of adding 2 servings of pistachios to a subjects’ daily low-fat diet showed that adding lowered the bad LDL cholesterol by 9%. And if that wasn’t enough, a diet that included 20% of its calories from pistachios lowered LDL cholesterol by 12%.

Moreover, pistachios appear to lower blood pressure more than other nuts. A review of 21 studies found that eating pistachios reduced the upper limit of blood pressure by 1.82 mm / kg and the lower limit by 0.8 mm / kg.

Kaddif Ricotta Recipe (3 servings)

Ingredients:
75 grams of kaddif noodles
250 grams of ricotta cheese
For garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios + 9 small berries / 3 small strawberries

Preparation:

  • Arrange the kaddif hairs in 3 sockets at the bottom of a baking tray, spray with oil and bake lightly until crispy and slightly browned.
  • Pour ricotta cheese into the saucers of the kaddif and garnish with a little chopped pistachio and 3 units of chopped berries or one strawberry.
  • Those who like sweeter can mix the cheese with a little artificial sweetener.

Eleanor Hinga Mizrahi, Clinical Dietitian BSc. RD and group facilitator at Heli Maman, a network that specializes in a healthy lifestyle.

By Editor

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