Pistachios are little green seeds (no, they're not technically nuts), sometimes referred to as "green almonds," but they are members of the cashew family. They are green because of their rich antioxidant content that are bursting with nutrients. They are an excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamin K, thiamin, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese, and selenium. Because these "nuts" are full of so many essential vitamins and minerals, there are a great many health benefits to eating them.
Because pistachios are full of antioxidants and healthy fats, they can lower ‘bad' LDL cholesterol levels. Normally, when a person has high LDL cholesterol levels, the result is inflammation and buildup inside the arteries, causing them to narrow and endangering the heart. The antioxidants prevent LDL from oxidizing and from building up inside the blood vessels.
Pistachios contain antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin which are both essential in protecting the eyes from dangerous free radicals in the form of cigarette smoke, air pollution, or sunlight damage. Lutein and zeaxanthin go straight to the part of the eye called the macula, which absorbs harmful sun-rays and other damaging light. These antioxidants help to maintain vision long-term.
Pistachios contain a lot of healthy dietary fiber which is necessary for digestion and elimination. One ounce or 28 grams of nuts contains 2.9 grams of fiber which is 12% of your recommended daily intake (RDI).
The body relies on the nervous system for, well, everything. The nervous system is made up of many nerves all over the body which transmits signals to the brain in reaction to stimuli such as light, sound, or touch. For a properly functioning nervous system, you need to consume foods with B vitamins—especially vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays a major role in the synthesis of amino acids that the body requires to communicate through the nervous system. Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6. In just one ounce, you receive 18% of your RDI of vitamin B6.
Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin E—a nutrient essential for skin cell regeneration and repair. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting the skin from damaging sun rays, and ridding the body of free radicals which are responsible for aging the skin. They also keep the skin hydrated and eliminate dryness due to their saturated fat content.
Free radicals are dangerous compounds that enter the body through the air we breathe, the UV rays we are exposed to, and the foods we eat. They are dangerous because they alter healthy cell DNA, raising the risk of developing cancer. Luckily, we can combat harmful free radicals by eating foods high in antioxidants, like this magic green nut. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and protect the cells in the body, reducing the risk of inflammation and many different types of cancer.
In one study, participants with diabetes followed a diet with pistachios after following the same diet without pistachios. After eating pistachios, glucose and insulin levels were lower, and glucagon-like peptide 1 levels were higher. Also, the antioxidant content in then can prevent glycation, a process in which the sugars form unsuitable bonds with proteins, rendering them unusable.
Pistachios are an excellent source of copper which aids in the absorption of iron into the body. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks the proper volume of red blood cells. Symptoms of anemia include fatigue, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, difficulty concentrating, and dizziness. These nuts also contain magnesium, a mineral essential in regulating calcium levels, in the synthesis of vitamin D, and in the absorption of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
Foods high in sugar cause a quick release of sugars into the bloodstream which is followed by a dramatic downswing in blood sugar levels, causing a crash. If you want a boost of energy that won't leave you feeling sluggish soon after eating, reach for a handful of pistachios. Pistachios are full of great nutrients which will kick your brain into high gear but won't cause you to crash soon after that.
Phosphorus is a mineral essential to bone formation, brain function, hormone balance, and prevention of type 2 diabetes. Many seeds and nuts are excellent sources of phosphorus, and pistachios are no exception. One ounce of pistachios contains 14% of your RDA of phosphorus.
Pistachios may work as an aphrodisiac for men who struggle with erectile dysfunction. A 2011 study of 17 men who suffered from erectile dysfunction found that after three weeks there was a significant improvement in erectile function. The men who participated in the study consumed 100 grams of pistachios daily for three weeks.
Pistachios are a great snack choice for dieters because of their high fiber and protein content. True, they do contain fat, but we're talking about the right kind of fat. The kind that flushes out ‘bad' LDL cholesterol. Because of their fiber and protein content, they will keep you full and satisfied for a long time. Every ‘nut' is worth the calories because of their high nutrition content. So, if you're craving something crunchy and nutty, pistachios may be the perfect fix.
Pistachios are incredibly nutritious seeds that you can easily incorporate into your diet. Cook them into rice, make a pistachio dessert, or use them to coat your chicken instead of breadcrumbs! Any way you eat them, you'll benefit from their varied, nutritious profile and surprisingly nutty flavor!
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