Pistachio is a tree grown in saline soil without water stagnation. The tree bears thousands of pistachio nuts. It is a biennial crop. The top five countries producing pistachios are Iran, United States, Turkey, China and Syria in the order of quantity of production.
Pistachio fruit has a hard and greenish shell with green flesh inside. When ripe, the shell split making the flesh visible. The nuts with split shells are considered good quality nuts. Pistachio is a culinary nut.
You can consume raw or salted and roasted pistachio kernels. It is also liberally used in ice-creams and sweets.
In addition to being a delicious food, pistachio contains lots of nutrients. Just 100 gm. of pistachio provides as much as 562 calories of energy, 27.51 gm. of Carbohydrates, 7.66 gm. of sugar, 10.3 gm. of dietary fiber, 45.39 gm. of fat and 20.27 gm. of protein. The fat in pistachio consists of 5.556 gm. saturated, 23.820 mono saturated and 13.744 gm. poly unsaturated fat components.
Pistachio provides lot of vitamins and minerals. It contains very high quantities of vitamin B6 and thiamine. It has 131% RDA of vitamin B6 and 76% RDA of thiamine. The other smaller quantities of vitamins in pistachio are, 1205 microgram of vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
Pistachio nuts contain minerals, calcium 105 mg, iron 3.92 mg, magnesium 121 mg, manganese 1.2 mg, phosphorous 490 mg, potassium 1025 mg and zinc 2.2 mg.
Pistachios have a low glycemic index and are hence suitable for diabetics.
Health benefits of Pistachios
The high level of monounsaturated fatty acids and poly unsaturated fatty acids amounting to 37.564 gm. in 100 gm of pistachio helps in reducing the harmful LDL cholesterol and raising the HDL or good cholesterol thereby preventing heart diseases.
The most important dietary fiber of 103 gm in 100 gm pistachio optimize the functioning of the digestive system and enhance digestion.
Phosphorous availability of 490 mg in 100 gm. of pistachio is equal to 70% of RDA which is found to prevent even type-2 diabetes. In addition to preventing such diabetes phosphorous splits the protein into amino acids resulting in enhancement of glucose tolerance.
The carotenoid anti-oxidants, namely, lutein and zeaxanthin present in pistachios acts against macular degeneration, an age related vision defect occurring in elderly persons. When you consume pistachios with vegetables, it supplies lot of lutein and zeaxanthin to the body.
Pistachios provide 131% RDA of vitamin B6 which is highly beneficial to the nervous system. By the creation of myelin sheath around the fibers of the nerves, vitamin B6 facilitates proper transmission of messages from one nerve to the other.
Vitamin B6 promotes a healthy nervous system, a healthy brain and healthy glands. It is also known to be an enhancer of haemoglobin level in blood.
The essential fatty acids present in pistachio keeps the skin moisturized and glowing. In addition to this the anti- oxidants eliminates the free radicals by which it ensures soft and smoothening of the skin.
When consumed regularly, the biotin found in pistachio prevents falling of hair unduly. Due to its moisturizing quality pistachio prevents splitting of hair and stimulates hair growth with healthy strands and silky appearance.
Maintain Blood pressure
Since pistachio contains very little sodium and a very high amount of potassium it reduces and maintain the blood pressure and keep the heart healthy. Phosphorous contained in pistachio splits the protein into amino acids through which it acts against increase in blood glucose level.
Prevention of cancer
Pistachios are rich in phyto-chemicals (lutein and zeaxanthin), carotene, fatty acids, poly phonetic anti-oxidants and vitamin E. All of these help to remove cancer causing free radicals form the body and prevents prostate cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer.
Pistachio contains aphrodisiac properties which stimulates sexual desire in men and also increases the erectile function and blood flow. Arginine in pistachio produces nitric-oxide which increases flow of blood to male sex organ.
Eating indiscreetly high quantities of pistachio may lead to serious health issues including food poisoning in some cases. Consuming pistachios over the limit, will lead to weight gain, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, bloating, constipation and abdominal cramps. Always consume pistachios in small quantities to derive optimum benefits.