6 Reasons Why Pistachios are the Bomb

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
by Elle Penner, MPH, RD
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6 Reasons Why Pistachios are the Bomb

Today in food holidays, February 26th is National Pistachio Day. How about a quick round of pistachio trivia?

True or False: Pistachio nuts can self-ignite. As in, light themselves on fire.

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn’t it?

We thought so too but it turns out this fun fact is actually true!

Before you go running to your kitchen cabinet with a fire extinguisher in hand, relax. This is really only a concern when shipping pistachios in large batches—-like in cargo ships and tractor trailers.

Basically, pistachios are the bomb. Not just literally, but nutritionally as well. In honor of National Pistachio Day, here are 5 nutritional benefits these little green nuts have to offer:

1. As far as healthy nuts go, pistachios rank high. They’re among the lowest in fat and calories and tend to be higher in protein and potassium, when compared with other nut varieties. A one-ounce serving (about 49 pistachios) has 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and as much potassium as half of a large banana.

2. Pistachios pack antioxidant power. Per 100 grams, they actually have more antioxidants than blueberries, blackberries, garlic and pomegranate juice.

3. They’re good for your eyes. Pistachios have more lutein than any other nut– a compound that’s a big player in maintaining eye health.

4. Pistachios are a good source of heart healthy fats. Almost 90% of the fat in a serving of of pistachios is unsaturated, 55% coming from monounsaturated fats and 32% from polyunsaturated fats.

5. Their phytosterols can positively impact cholesterol. During digestion, a pistachio’s plant compounds actually compete with dietary cholesterol for absorption, which may benefit our cardiovascular health and lower LDL cholesterol. Some research even suggests that pistachios may even elevate healthy HDL cholesterol levels when eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat—something other nuts might not be able to do.

Does this post have you craving a handful of nuts? Great! Here are a few tips for making pistachios a sensible snack:

  • If your doctor has you on a low sodium diet, go for the unsalted variety.
  • One serving is 49 nuts so be sure to count them out. They’re so good it’s easy to get carried away.
  • Sure it might take a bit more work to get to them, but a pile of pistachios still in their shells will last longer.
  • Pistachios are a form of tree nut–just something to keep in mind if you have nut sensitivities or food allergies.

About the Author

Elle Penner, MPH, RD
Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Elle is a nutrition and wellness writer, recipe developer, blogger and nutrition consultant whose favorite things include her camera, carbs and quality time with her toddler. For more from this busy mama, check out Elle’s lifestyle blog or connect with her on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

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