Pistachio is a nutritious and ideal snack for the calorie conscious. It is abundant in nutrients that keep you healthy from head to toe. More and more doctors recommend that you make these nuts as a part of your diet and add them to your snack list.
Origin and Biology
Pistachio is a fruit with a dry, hard, outer egg shaped shell, with a tasty kernel inside. Botanically known as Pistacia vera, it is a fruit bearing tree which is native to Syria, Greece, Iran and Western Asia. It was first cultivated in western part of Asia and spread to the Mediterranean lands, through Central Iran. They were already popular in Europe, by the rise of the Roman empire.
The pistachio trees grow about 10 meters high on an average. It is a desert plant, which explains its origin in western Asia. The pistachio nut is a culinary nut. Pistachio tree grows well, even in high salinity soil. Every pistachio tree doles out about 50 kg of Pistachio seeds every year! Iran is the largest producer and exporter of Pistachio.
Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
A pistachio is a unique combination of nutrients, unlike any other type of fruit. Here are some of the nutrition facts that will convince you to make it a part of your regular snacks.
Pistachio Supplies Arginine
Pistachios are stockpiles of Arginine, which play an important role in the metabolic processes of the body. It helps in increasing the nitric oxide levels of the body. Now, how is that important? It is important because, nitric oxide prevents the buildup of blockages along the arterial walls of the body. Arginine, better known as L-Arginine, is known as the miracle molecule, which helps in improving functioning of many body processes.
Pistachio are Stocked with Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats do not get saturated inside the body. Especially, they do not get stored along the inside walls of arteries. In short, they are the good fats which get burned easily, without getting piled up. One of the interesting facts is that it has copious amounts of these monounsaturated fats.
Pistachio Reduces Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
After intense research, it has been found that, consumption of pistachios reduces the amount of cholesterol in blood. One cup of pistachio nuts, there are about 713 calories. Out of these, 512 calories come from fats. The majority of fat content is in the form of monounsaturated fats, which reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol is the main culprit behind most of the heart disorders.
Though not yet confirmed, pistachio consumption may possibly increase the levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL Cholesterol). So, make it a point to include about two to three ounces of pistachio in your daily diet. It will reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Pistachio Reduces Stress Reaction
Pistachio consumption reduces the stress related, elevated blood pressure levels, by as much as 10%. This is one of the most important nutrition facts, you will come across.
Pistachios are Full of Protein and Anti-Oxidants
Pistachios are storehouses of important anti-oxidants, which can prevent the damage to the cells of the body. Higher anti-oxidant levels in the body reduce cell death and risk of cancer. The anti-oxidants present in pistachios are vitamin A, vitamin E and Lutein. It is also a rich source of proteins, which help in building up of the body.
Pistachios Supply Phytosterols
Another reason for including pistachios in your diet is their phytosterol content, which helps reduce cholesterol levels, leading to a drop in cardiovascular heart disease risk. Research has revealed the ability of phytosterols in reducing cancer risk as well. About 100 gm of pistachios contain 279 mg of phytosterols!
Pistachios are loaded with Minerals
Half a cup of pistachios can supply adequate quantities of some of the most important minerals required by the body like Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Copper! It's especially well stocked with calcium and iron, which are minerals playing very important roles in the body.
It is very important that we read about such nutrition facts and be well informed about what we consume as food. This goes a long way in designing a balanced diet which supplies the body with all essential nutrients.