Thursday, August 7, 2014

Why Pistachios Are So Good for You

It’s always been a tug of war when it comes to which side of the fence nuts are on. Many think that nuts are bad for you but that is not the case. Nuts are actually one of healthiest foods you can eat, and that includes pistachios.

We hear a lot about these green nuts. They are found at circuses and in ice cream, but is that all? Are they just occasional treats? We will revisit the ice cream later, but right now we are going to focus on plain nuts.

The Skinny on Nuts

English: Pistachios Español: Pistachos
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nuts have always gotten a bad rap. They are high in fat which is true, but their value goes deeper than that. All fat is not created equal. There are saturated fats, unsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

While people think that saturated fat is bad, that's actually not the case (see our main blog for several articles on this topic). The body needs a certain amount of saturated fats each day to help with cellular membrane integrity, immune function, brain health, and many other areas. Also, the amount of saturated fat found in some nuts, particularly pistachios, is minimal.

Unsaturated fats are also good fats. They help to increase the HDL (good) cholesterol numbers. This is the type of cholesterol that keeps blood vessels clean and elastic so they can function properly. Nuts contain some of this type of fat as well.

Polyunsaturated fats are the bad ones; these are what you find in most processed vegetable oils. But most nuts contain little of this type of fat.

Nuts also contain protein. Eating protein at each meal can reduce cravings for sugar throughout the day. Nuts make a great snack! They provide energy and keep you from feeling hungry between meals.

Speaking of Pistachios

Now, let’s get down to the pistachios. Speaking of them specifically, a one-ounce serving of this nut contains about 13 grams of fat. This may seem like a lot, but most of the fat is unsaturated so it contributes to the good cholesterol profile.

Pistachios (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Pistachios are also low in carbohydrates. Since many people are looking for what carbs they can eat and maintain a healthy diet, here is one good choice. They also contain dietary fiber which works to fill you up and keep your blood sugar level throughout the day.

If you are in need of vitamins and minerals, try eating pistachios. They are full of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for a healthy metabolism, healthy skin, muscles, eyes and nerve tissue. Other essential elements include arginine, copper and manganese. All are important for immune and nerve function.


When it comes to nuts there are a few things to beware of. For one, eat in moderation. Nuts are good for you but eating too many can increase your fat and caloric intake, which can be a problem for those looking to lose weight. Stick to one serving at a time for a snack.

Also, nuts that you purchase in the store can contain some extra unneeded ingredients. Don’t purchase nuts that have added salt and sugar in the form of honey roasted or praline nuts. And, a word about pistachio ice cream (or any ice cream) – use as an occasional treat. Otherwise, stick with plain pistachios.

But if you love pistachios, keep eating them. They are good for you!

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