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The Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts

Published on Sep 11, 2016 in Natural Ingredients

Okay, okay, this is a confession. I am utterly in love with pistachios, so this post is basically going to be me gushing over this amazing nut. Are you ready for it? Because here we go! These nuts are closely related to cashew nuts (and don’t get me start on them…), and they grow on a small tree named Pistacia vera, which is native to the Mid-East and parts of Asia. Pistachios have a long history with modern man, and it goes back about 9,000 years or so. Some researchers have found evidence of the nut being consumed close to 80,000 years ago by our hominid (prehistoric) ancestors. Pretty amazing, really. This seed – that’s right, it is not a nut, but actually a seed! – has been a close friend to our kind and its predecessors, and rightly so. It is delicious, healthy, and wonderfully nutty. It is known as a culinary nut, but it is technically a botanical seed. These are the Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts!

Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts and Pistachio Nut Oil

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Pistachio Nut Oil

So, what about the health benefits? Well, this seed is really chockful of healthy nutrients. I would certainly include it in the superfoods family along Goji Berries, Macadamia Nuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Brazil Nuts, Flaxseed, Mulberries, Almonds, and more! with It is a good source of protein, various fats, and trace minerals, all which are vital for those who wish to stay fit, inside and out. Eating a handful of pistachios a day can seriously help you out. A partial list of nutrients which are present in the seed is oleic acids (also known as omega-9 fatty acids), vitamin E, copper (over 140% of the daily recommended amount!), vitamin B6, carotene, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Pistachios can help with your digestion, give you clearer and more radiant skin, assist in managing your weight (whether you are gaining or losing it), lower your blood’s bad cholesterol levels, and some research has shown it can even help with cases of diabetes. A lower amount of calories, high level of plant protein, low amount of saturated fat, and high levels of unsaturated fats make this nut/seed one of the healthiest things to consume on a regular basis. The oil which is made from pistachios is one of the healthier edible oils out there. The smoke point is not high, but it makes up for that in flavor. In other words, perhaps do not use it to fry things, but certainly add it to soups, salads, dishes, and any time when you want to add a nice nutty flavor to the mix.

Growing and Eating Pistachio Nuts

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Pistachio Nut Tree

The pistachio tree has been through a lot over the generations, but it lives on, and it provides us with tasty pistachios. The pistachio trees have been known to thrive in warm, moist environments. However, if the environment is too moist or too warm, there is a high chance of the tree rotting. It needs the right conditions in order to develop, and ripening the nuts is not an easy task. There are many different ways to consume the pistachio’s fruit. You can eat it fresh, salted, roasted (my personal favorite), caramel-coated, and honey coated. Pistachios can be made into a mouth-watering ice cream, into butter, into halva, and even into a paste. Here in the U.S., pistachio salad is a common way to get our pistachio groove on. With pudding and pineapple, it is a treat which is difficult to resist, truly.

Pistachio Nut Allergies and Producers

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Single Pistachio Nut

A word on nut allergies. Allergic reactions to nuts are a serious matter, and sometimes it can even be life-threatening. Those who are sensitive, or prone to allergies, or who already have some kind of nut or food allergy, should consult with their physician or dietician before making pistachios a part of their regular diet, in any form or method of consumption. The top producers of pistachios these days are Iran, the U.S., and Turkey. There was some concern in the 90’s over Iran’s products, and the EU even went so far as to ban Iranian pistachios, but in the later 90’s the ban was lifted after Iran improved their product’s quality and safety regulations. There was a concern because the pistachio needs to be free of any contamination. That is partly the reason for the nut’s hull or shell. However, during harvesting, the shell splits open, and if not taken care of properly, the pistachios can become contaminated.

Where to Purchase and Store Pistachio Nuts

Storing pistachio nuts is easy, but it depends on the kind which you purchase. These amazing nuts are available all year round, and you can get them at any local store or market. Shelled, unshelled, sweetened, roasted, salted and unsalted. There are so many ways to choose to enjoy these. For long-term storage, it is best to buy whole pistachios with shells, as opposed to processed, shelled ones. Pistachios which are unshelled can be stored in a cool and dry place for many months. Many times, companies will sell them in airtight packages. Alternatively, un-shelled, raw nuts can be bought in bulk at health food stores. Kernels which have been shelled should be stored in an airtight container, and kept in the fridge. That is the best way to avoid them going bad. Once that shell is open, there isn’t a lot to do. Eventually, if not eaten, they will go bad. And without the shell, it will happen sooner than later.

How to Eat Pistachio Nuts

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Pistachio Nut Bread

For me, one of the best things to do over the weekend is open up a huge bag of pistachios and split them with the family. There is nothing like going through a whole bag of them. I mean, this is just me. Did I mention the fact that I will be gushing over these things? They are also an excellent addition to any salad (fruits or veggies), especially when they are broken up. Ground, but not fine at all. Make the grind nice and coarse, so you can in that satisfying CRUNCH sound, along with the pleasantly nutty flavor being released in your mouth. On a final note, compared to other nuts (such as macadamia or Brazil nuts) the cost of pistachios is significantly lower. The taste is unique, the health benefits are undeniable, the price is right, and I actually find myself craving some pistachios right this very second…

Thanks for reading up on Pistachio Nuts – check out our other superfoods features here at MapleHolistics!