Pistachios: You’re Not Nuts

Written by Professor Anna Gray, Updated on April 2nd, 2024
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A lot of people think that pistachios are a kind of nut. But they’re not nuts. They’re actually the seeds of the pistachio tree.

And, as you probably already know, boy are they yummy! But it’s not only your palate that benefits when you eat pistachios – your health can benefit too. Here are some of the health benefits of eating pistachios.

• Studies have shown that eating pistachios can actually increase the healthy ability of your blood vessels to move and flex.

Eating pistachios can lower the amount of sugar in the human bloodstream.

• Eating pistachios can also lower the amount of fat in your bloodstream.

• The high amount of protein and fiber in pistachios can make your body feel satisfied for longer periods of time, thus reducing the tendency to overeat.

• Fiber from pistachios is good for your gut biome, acting as a probiotic by encouraging the growth of the good bacteria that your body needs.

• Pistachios are full of unsaturated fats, the kind that’s good for you.

• Pistachios contain beneficial trace minerals.

• Eating pistachios has been shown to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure.

• Eating pistachios helps to keep bad cholesterol levels down.

Overall, eating pistachios lowers your risk for many different kinds of cardiovascular disease.

• Pistachios help you maintain good levels of potassium, necessary for optimal health.

• Pistachios act as an antioxidant, helping to slow down the negative effects of aging.

• Pistachios have an anti-inflammatory effect, which can add to your ability to resist disease symptoms and increases your sense of well-being.

Although shelled pistachios are easier to eat, those in the shell – the ones you have to break open yourself – are preferred if you have a tendency to overeat, since the shelling slows the rate of consumption considerably. And unshelled pistachios are much less expensive, too.

It takes 50 kernels of pistachios to make a 1-ounce serving, and that serving has: 160 calories; 5.75 grams of protein; 3.1 grams of fiber; 7.75 grams of carbohydrates; and 13 grams of fat. There is no cholesterol found in pistachios.

Pistachios are naturally low in sodium, but roasted pistachios are usually salted, too, so expect to get more than 500mg of sodium per cup (though, remember, a cup is a lot and probably more than you’d eat at one sitting) of the roasted variety.

Some of the beneficial vitamins and trace minerals to be found in pistachios include: vitamin B6, manganese, copper, phosphorous, and, as mentioned already, a powerful dose of potassium.

It’s not often that a food we love and are excited to eat and which makes a perfect movie snack or salad or yogurt topper – in short, a fantastically good-tasting food – is also a food that is very, very good for us. So, enjoy pistachios! They are a pleasure that in no way could be described as “guilty” – they’re a delight for our taste buds and health food that makes us look better, perform better, reduce health risks, and feel great – all in one!

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