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Health Benefits of Pistachios

By Paul Rothbart

A popular snack that can be used in savory or sweet dishes, versatile pistachios are also a tasty ice cream flavor. What are pistachios? You might hear one of many people's favorite nuts referenced this way on Jeopardy!:"Pistachios are a snack that, like potato chips, are difficult to eat just one." While watching sports or a movie you might find yourself going through an entire bowl. They have a unique flavor that a lot of people crave. Fortunately, they are also excellent for your health.

Lots of Nutrition

Pistachios contain many essential nutrients. A one-ounce serving, which is about 49 nuts, contains 159 calories, six grams of protein, and three grams of fiber. It also has 13 grams of fat, 90 percent of which are unsaturated, or healthy fats. That same serving contains 41 percent of the recommended daily allowance of copper, 28 percent of the recommended B6, and 21 percent of the recommended thiamine. Pistachios also have significant amounts of manganese and phosphorus. 

Few Calories, Plenty of Protein

Pistachios have the advantage of being one of the lowest-calorie nuts. The 159 calories per serving compare favorably with walnuts at 185 and pecans which contain 193 in a serving. Pistachios provide plenty of bang for the buck as about 20 percent of their weight is protein. The ratio of essential amino acids in that protein is the highest of any type of nut. The amino acid L-arginine, which helps blood flow, is one of the primary nutrients in pistachio protein.


Antioxidants are plant compounds that are vital to good health. Chemicals called free radicals can form in the body. They attack cells, damage them, and can cause them to mutate. Damage can lead to several forms of cancer and other diseases. Pistachios are third among nuts when it comes to antioxidant content. They contain the highest amounts of two antioxidants, lutein, and zeaxanthin. These compounds are good for eye health. They can help prevent macular degeneration, common in older adults, and protect your eyes from blue light.

Good for Heart Health

Research has found that pistachios may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which promote heart health and help prevent heart attack and stroke. One study found that a diet consisting of 20 percent pistachios lowered LDL cholesterol in subjects by 12 percent in four weeks. 

Sometimes, you just need a crunchy snack. Many of them contain almost no nutrition. Nuts are a good choice and pistachios are one of the best. With their delicious flavor, satisfying texture, and many health benefits, they are one of the best choices when snack time comes.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in College Station, Tex.

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