Pistachios: Undercover benefits

Enclosed in the shells of pistachios is loads of nutrition

Pistachios in a hand

Pistachios contain more than 10 different antioxidants that help fight free radicals. They are packed with protein and are loaded with minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and copper. Let’s explore more reasons to munch on this all-time favourite snack.

Why you must eat it

  • Pistachios are a rich source of vegetable protein.
  • Cholesterol-free and high in monounsaturated fats [90 per cent of its total fat content], pistachios help reduce the bad cholesterol and boost the good cholesterol. This helps prevent cardiovascular diseases.
  • The presence of vitamins and minerals in pistachios help build immunity and combat diseases. They also help in building strong bones and teeth, strengthen nerves, and purify blood.
  • The phytonutrient content in pistachios helps fight degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis and cancer.
  • Pistachios are packed with fibre [3g per serving] that curbs food cravings, thus making them a good diet snack. The fibre also eases constipation and haemorrhoids.
  • The vitamin B6 in pistachios boosts production of amino acid GABA [gamma-aminobutyric acid], which acts as a mood elevator and stress reliever.
  • The magnesium content in pistachios relaxes the nerve cell activity in the uterine muscles helping relieve menstrual cramps.
  • Being rich in potassium, pistachios act as antidote for those suffering from high blood pressure.
  • Pistachios have carotenoids like lutein and zeaxanthin in significant amounts. This helps reduce the risk of macular degeneration. It is lutein that lends these nuts its green colour
  • Pistachios have good amounts of vitamin A, C, E and folic acidnutrients that are good for your skin.

How much to eat

peeled pistachiosPistachios are high in mono and polyunsaturated fat and protein. The recommended intake is 1oz [28g] or a handful for not more than four times a week. A handful of plain unsalted pistachios provide approximately 150  200 calories.

What you must know

  • Eat pistachios in limited quantity, else you may suffer its side effects.
  • Pistachios go rancid if not stored properly in a cool dark place due to their high fat content. The nuts are more protected in their shells.
  • To cut down on the sodium and fat intake, avoid having salted or fried pistachios.

In your diet

Here are some ways to include pistachios in your diet:

  • Add them to your breakfast cereal, pancakes, breads or muffins.
  • Add them to your soups and salads to get that extra crunch.
  • Snack on them in between your meals to curb hunger pangs.
  • Mash dates after removing the seeds.
  • Make round balls of it and stuff some crushed pistachios into them to make excellent dessert.

This was first published in the May 2011 issue of Complete Wellbeing.

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Prachee Naringrekar-Naik
Prachee Naringrekar-Naik is a Mumbai-based nutritionist and diet consultant who has completed her Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics from SNDT Women’s University. In her over experience of over five years, she has worked as a consultant with many well-known corporate houses.


  1. I was always given to believe that Pistachio are not good for Diabetic type II. However, reading thru on net I didn’t find this to be true. Magnesium very important for curing Calci stone in Kidney is in abundance in Pistachio.
    wish to know more about how to cure small kidney stones without operating.


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