While all nuts have a range of health benefits, there are some in particular with more unique and helpful properties than others. One of which is pistachio nuts, which came into existence some sixty centuries ago in Asia.
They are physically different from other nuts because the shell splits on its own during its growth, making for less work than peeling open other shelled nuts.
Not only that, but pistachios are multifaceted in flavor and can be used in thousands of recipes of differing cuisines.
Health Benefits of Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio nuts contain various helpful vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that make for a multipurpose health benefit super snack.
1. Lowers Blood Sugar
A large population of individuals today are not diagnosed with diabetes but have higher blood sugars then what a normal individual would have. This means anyone at risk for developing diabetes has a chance to lower their insulin resistance before it becomes irreversible.
Consumption of pistachios lowers blood sugar by reducing the glycemic response to other foods high in carbohydrates. The glycemic response of a particular food or meal is the influence it has after consumption on individuals’ glucose levels.
Instead of being synthesized in the blood to glucose, the majority of the carbohydrates from the pistachios remain in the food as it passes through the stomach and the lower digestive tract.
This effectively gives nutrients and carbohydrates to the individual consuming the pistachios without raising their blood glucose.
2. Reduces Blood Pressure
Several studies have been published that show pistachios have a significant effect on high blood pressure. The beneficial influence of pistachios on blood pressure is attributed to the monounsaturated fatty acids and large quantities of phytosterols.
Pistachio nuts also cause a decrease in oxidized low-density lipoprotein cholesterol due to some other nutrient qualities contained in them. Pistachios also offer rich sources of polyphenols, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin C, which all have a positive effect on the elasticity of the blood vessels.
Essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium, which all assist with the regulation of metabolic processes and lower blood pressure, are also present in pistachios.
Pistachio nuts are included in numerous diets designed for cardiovascular health for their strong effect on blood pressure. While other types of nuts are also known to lower blood pressure, pistachios are the only nuts that significantly reduce the blood pressure of both the diastolic and systolic values.
In addition, pistachios also have the property of lowering bad cholesterol, which also lends a helping hand to obtaining lower blood pressure.
3. Assists with Weight Loss
Eating pistachio assists with weight loss in individuals who are obese or overweight. Most cases of obesity are linked to a poor diet that is too high in fat, carbohydrates, and sugars.
Because pistachios are high in protein and fiber, they tend to fill an individual up and replace unhealthy snacks such as potato chips and sweets. There is also a psychological component to how pistachios help with weight loss, as they have to be individually unshelled manually and eaten.
This process is known to help with portion control, as it is with other nuts that have to be individually unshelled. Lower levels of bad cholesterol and improved metabolic processing of glucose are both associated with weight loss and proper weight management.
In addition, the monosaturated fatty acids pistachios contain are good belly fat targeting agents. Pistachios contain a rich source of potassium, which tends to stop the muscles from becoming over fatigued.
This means individuals with higher potassium are more likely to continue physical activities for longer periods than those who have lower potassium.
4. Boosts Healthy Gut Bacteria
There are somewhere between three to five hundred different types of bacteria that live inside the gut. These healthy gut bacteria can be found on the lining throughout the entire digestive tract from the mouth all the way to the colon.
Pistachio nuts consumption boosts healthy gut bacteria, which is important because imbalanced gut bacteria can result in the development of certain conditions and diseases.
Individuals with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis have less of a certain type of healthy bacteria in the gut while those who have heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity may have too much of a certain type of bacteria in their gut.
Colon cancer and arthritis, are also associated with having an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria. Most individuals do not have enough healthy bacteria due to a poor diet lacking in vegetables, beans, whole grains, and probiotic foods.
Pistachios boost healthy gut bacteria due to the rich source of dietary fiber contained within them. Dietary fiber serves as food for the healthy bacteria, thus encouraging the growth of it.
5. Full of Antioxidants
Pistachios are bright green, an indication of how they are full of antioxidants. Pistachios also are a source of potent compounds with anti-inflammatory properties called oleanolic acid and beta-carotene.
In addition to improving high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the anti-inflammatory plant-derived hormone called phytosterol is known to enhance immune system functions.
Antioxidants also have the ability to help prevent damage to cells from harmful molecules called free radicals, which are electrically charged and unstable molecules that can interact with molecules such as DNA.
Cancer is caused by damaged DNA that mutates and then reproduces itself. Because free radicals are unstable, the antioxidants give them an extra electron, effectively stabilizing it. If the quantity of free radicals exceeds the quantity of antioxidants, oxidative stress can occur.
Oxidative stress leads to mass cell death and tissue damage. Therefore, antioxidants from pistachio nuts aid in the prevention of many types of cancers and help reduce the risks of damage to organs from cell death.