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Pistachio: Definition, Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits

Pistachios provide our body with a lot of nutrients, this is the reason it is considered a very healthy nut.
 
Pistachios have traditionally been known for their health benefits.

 

Pistachios are one of the most beneficial fruits that exist because of their amount of nutrients that it provides the organism. Their gastronomic use is also highly interesting both for lovers of oriental cuisine and for the inexperienced ones.

To learn more about this nut, in this article we will find out what pistachios are and what nutrition facts and health benefits they have. As well as their uses and research about their impact on people's health.

What are pistachios?

The pistachio is the fruit of a tree from the Pistacia family, called Pistacia vera. The pistachio tree resists desert climates and extreme temperatures both day and night and can reach 10 meters in height. 

This nut originates from Central Asia and also from some countries from the Middle East. It is a greenish color and 1 centimeter long. Its texture is fibrous, and it is covered by a brown skin, which in turn is covered by a hard white or light brown shell.

Without even cooking it, it has a salty taste, due to the tolerance of the tree to saline soil. It also has an aromatic flavor, what makes it an excellent option to use in confectionary, especially in the Muslim world. 

History

As we previously said, pistachios originate from Central Asia, particularly from Iran, Turkmenistan, Kirguistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Syria and some parts of Greece. Cultivation began in Central Asia, from where it was introduced progressively to the west, mainly in Iran and Syria.

From there, its production was introduced in the eastern part of the Mediterranean as far as Greece. Although it was a food known by the Europeans at the end of the Roman period, it was not until the Middle Ages that it started being cultivated in Europe. 

The first cultivations in more occidental zones, specifically in the United States, date from the 20th century. However, 20 years had to go by for this fruit to be popular in North America, and by extension in the rest of the world. 

Production

In general, the production of the pistachio tree is laborious, and it needs time to achieve the maximum amount of food produced, up to 10 years after planting the tree. Among the largest producers, we can find Iran, the United States, Turkey, Syria, and Greece. The first two producers together produce more than 70% of the world production.

Currently, Iran, the world's largest producer, produces approximately 415,000 tonnes per year.

Pistachos are used in many recipes worldwide.

 

Nutrition facts

Pistachios contain many nutrients necessaries for the body. This nut is rich in natural oils and fats but low in bad fats, and calories which makes it a superfood.

Their main properties are proteins, vitamins, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates and a high amount of healthy vegetable fats. 100 grams of these nuts have approximately 560 calories, which many of them come from the fats. 

They provide vitamins A, B12, C, and D. The minerals they mainly contain are sodium, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

Health benefits of pistachios

Pistachios are very nutritious foods that provide us with a high number of benefits for the organism if we have them regularly. In the following lines, we highlight their main properties and health benefits.

1. They favor cholesterol reduction

Having them periodically has as the primary health benefit the prevention of a large number of diseases. The main benefits we find in this nut is that they contribute to minimizing the risk of contracting cardiovascular diseases, as they reduce the amount of cholesterol in the blood, balance and lower blood pressure, prevent anemia, arteriosclerosis and also the onset of diabetes.

2. They are antioxidants

According to some studies, the content of vitamin E and other antioxidant nutrients in pistachios means that one of their main benefits is the reduction of cellular aging and thus the possible prevention of some types of cancer.

Research is currently underway on how regular consumption of this nut could help to minimize the risk of developing, for example, lung or colon cancer. However, these studies have not yet found clear evidence of these facts, so we have to be very cautious.

3. They are diuretic

Regular consumption of this food can benefit the elimination of liquids and all kind of substances that the body rejects. This can be beneficial when it comes to losing weight and following a healthy diet. 

They can also act as laxatives for those who have constipation or any other digestive problem.

4. They modulate mood

Eating pistachios regularly can help reduce the levels of stress or anxiety of people with this kind of problems, because of their high levels of magnesium. 

This property can also help reduce problems related to the lack of sleep and rest, such as insomnia. 

5. They favor intestinal transit

To finish, another benefit of pistachios is their high content in fiber and their contribution to favor the intestinal transit. A diet rich in pistachios and other nuts, a part of also different fruits and vegetables will help us have a good digestive health. 

References

Nugent, J.; Boniface, J. (2005). Pistachio Nuts. Permaculture Plants: A Selection. Permanent Publications. p. 41

United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, Statistics Division (FAOSTAT). 2017. Pistachio production in 2014; Crops/Regions/World list/Production quantity (from pick lists). FAO.

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