Almonds and walnuts get a lot of attention for their health benefits these days. And as a cancer fighter, Brazil nuts are having their moment in the sun too.
But there’s one tasty nut that has managed to stay mostly off the healthy foods radar: pistachios. Because although pistachios are popular, they seldom are found on any healthy nuts lists.
Which is strange when you take a closer look at some of the pistachio benefits. And we will in just a moment. But first let’s take a quick look at what you get in just an ounce of pistachios.
One ounce of these delicious nuts delivers…
- 6 grams of protein
- 13 grams of healthy fats
- 3 grams of fiber
And while you only get 10 to 20 nuts in a single ounce of most other nuts, you get a stunning 49 pistachios in an ounce.
Pistachio benefits give you a reason to eat more nuts
But pistachios aren’t just about quantity. They’re about quality, as well.
Following are five incredible pistachio benefits that will make them your new favorite healthy snack…
1. Fight cancer and heart disease:
Most nuts are a good source of disease-fighting antioxidants, and pistachios are no exception. In fact, experts say two of the antioxidants that pistachios are the richest in, polyphenols and tocopherols, have been shown to specifically combat cancer and heart disease.
But the pistachio benefits don’t end there. According to researchers, pistachios also allow your body to absorb antioxidants more efficiently. And although more studies are under way to figure out why this happens, the experts agree it means pistachios are a terrific way to get these vital antioxidants.
2. Protect your eyesight:
If you want to protect your peepers and stay eagle eyed for life, the beta-carotene in carrots alone isn’t going to cut it. You need to add more lutein and zeaxanthin to your diet too. And it turns out pistachios could be just the way to do it.
Lutein and zeaxanthin can help protect your vision from light damage and macular degeneration. And pistachios have more of both of these vision-saving nutrients than any other nut.
3. Eat less and lose weight:
If you’re worried about pistachios making you gain weight, don’t be. As long as you’re sticking to a serving, these delicious nuts can help keep you from packing on the pounds. Pistachios are high in fiber and protein both of which can help curb hunger pangs, so you eat less.
But when it comes to weight, the pistachio benefits don’t end there. Studies have linked pistachios to weight loss, lower BMI, and smaller waist lines, especially when compared to other snacks.
In other words, they could also help you shed a few pounds. Because while a serving of pistachios contains plenty of palette-pleasing, belly-satisfying fats, researchers say we likely don’t absorb all of them.
Pick pistachios still in the shell and you’re likely to fill up even faster, helping you trim your tummy. A study found folks who eat in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories overall than those who ate already shelled nuts. Experts believe the act of shelling the nuts, and seeing the shells pile up, helps signal your brain that you’re satisfied sooner.
4. Lower cholesterol and blood pressure:
We explained earlier that the antioxidants in pistachios help fight heart disease. But it turns out the benefits to your ticker go even further.
A number of studies have found that folks we regularly eat pistachios have lower…
- LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels
- total cholesterol levels
- triglyceride levels
Plus a meta-analysis, which took a deeper dive into 21 different studies, found potential blood pressure benefits too. According to the researchers, eating pistachios could significantly decrease your blood pressure.
5. Control your blood sugar:
Despite being a bit high in carbohydrates, pistachios are low on the glycemic index. That means they are an excellent snack for folks worried about keeping their blood sugar on an even keel, or even lowering it.
In a study out of Canada researchers found that two ounces of pistachios could help lower blood sugar levels in healthy individuals, even after they ate a high-carb meal. And according to another study, those same two ounces of pistachios lowered fasting blood sugar by 9 percent in a group of volunteers with diabetes.
Walnuts and almonds might continue to suck up most of the attention. But now you know pistachios deserve praise too. Because when it comes to overall health, it’s hard to beat those pistachio benefits.