One of The World's Greatest Snacks -- A Healthy Treat for a Lean Body
Why pistachios not only taste delicious, but are also jam-packed with nutrition for a lean healthy body, and improved gut-health!
by Cat Ebeling, RN, BSN & Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist
co-authors: The Fat Burning Kitchen & The Top 101 Foods that FIGHT Aging
Some people mistakenly think that pistachios are a "fattening" food... but despite having loads of healthy fats, these yummy little snacks can actually HELP you to burn off stomach fat. Let's see why...
Do you remember eating pistachios when they used to be dyed a deep pinkish/red? They were always so delicious, but after eating a bunch of those bright "red" nuts, your fingers and hands would be stained red.
Pistachios, as we now know, do not grow as magenta-colored nuts but come in a nice natural tan colored shell with a mild-tasting, crunchy, green and yellow interior. Nuts have risen in popularity lately, but did you know that pistachios are probably one of the most nutritious of all nuts?
It's hard to compare anything to the nutritional benefit of nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pecans... but pistachios give them a run for the money!
One of the best things about nuts in general, is that they are full of minerals that are VITAL to our body's proper functioning. And if you have paid much attention to nutrition news lately, you may be aware that minerals are getting harder and harder to obtain from our diet, and many people are mineral-deficient in one way or another.
So what are these great nutrients in pistachios?
Well for starters, pistachios are full of copper, phosphorus, and manganese (different from magnesium).
Copper is made up of multiple enzymes that help to create many of the necessary biochemical reactions in your body and also forms connective tissue. Manganese also helps form connective and skeletal tissue, and is instrumental in growth, reproduction and (this is good!) carbohydrate and fat metabolism. Phosphorus is very important for strong bones and teeth and works with calcium to prevent osteoporosis.
Other important minerals are magnesium -- necessary for more than 300 different important biochemical reactions in your body, and good for your heart and blood pressure; potassium --an electrolyte that keeps the body in the correct acid/base balance and also helps in forming proteins, metabolizing carbohydrates and building muscle.
And there is more to this nutritional powerhouse...
Pistachios are a rich source of B vitamins. B vitamins are essential for good nerve transmission, muscle building, a good mood, lots of energy, and infection-fighting power. They are also one of the highest protein nuts (as well as healthy fats), so they make a great satisfying snack that keeps your blood sugar and insulin at a good steady level.
In one study on pistachios and antioxidants, pistachios ranked up in the group with the highest amount of antioxidant activity above over 100 other foods. Antioxidants help to prevent free radical damage, which saves your cells and prevents aging and disease among other things.
We hear a lot about eye health and nutrients for the eyes lately, and guess what-- pistachios contain generous amount of lutein and zeaxanthin which prevent macular degeneration and other eye diseases related to aging.
Pistachios are full of appetite satisfying fiber -- as much as a serving of oatmeal, but without all of the starch that oatmeal contains, which is generally just empty calories unless you're a super active athlete.
Nuts in general are a great source of fiber, which is valuable for fighting cancer, controlling blood sugar, and aids in a feeling of fullness. Most people only get about half the recommended amount of fiber they need in their diets, so eating pistachios will help add to your dietary intake.
Pistachios & Gut Health
A University of Florida study showed that people who ate 3 oz of pistachios for 19 days during the study had improved levels of beneficial gut bacteria, and an increase in beneficial butyrates, which are substances formed from good bacteria that help to heal the gut lining. This study also found that pistachios had more gut health benefits than almonds did.
With the increase in gut disorders and leaky gut lately (which can be a cause of autoimmune issues), this is good news that pistachios can be an important food to help heal your gut.
While eating extremely large quantities of pistachios would be a LOT of calories... the good news is that the protein, good fats and fiber in them are nutritious and satisfy so much of the nutrient needs of your body, it's VERY difficult to overeat them.
Even when only eating small servings of these nuts, they have been proven to provide a high rate of satiety. Besides, having to shell all those pistachios actually ends up making you eat them much more slowly, so the message to your brain that you are full happens on less nuts than if you were eating something already out of its shell.
Unfortunately, whenever we buy a big bad of pistachios at our house, they seem to disappear really fast, and I have a hard time getting any...turns out my wife is a huge fan of pistachios and does her squirrel impersonation as I always catch her with a huge pile of shells at her desk or near the couch. Oh well, good for her!
Enjoy your delicious pistachios and stay lean!
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Cat Ebeling & Mike Geary
Co-authors - The Fat Burning Kitchen
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