13 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Pistachios

Pistachio

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Pistachio pastry, pistachio ice-cream, pistachio cookies, pistachio cakes! Phew! There’s a plethora of uses of this incredible nut. The low calorie content, high nutritional value and nutty flavor makes pistachio an excellent snack for both kids and adults. This delicious nut has been revered as a symbol of robust health since ancient times.

 

The pistachio tree belongs to the Anacaradiaceae family and is native to Syria, Greece and Western Asia. The tree is medium in size and grows to about 10 meters in height. This green colored nut comes enclosed in an egg-shaped shell. There are many varieties of pistachio, the Kerman variety being the most popular. It is grown commercially in the United States. Iran is the largest producer and exporter of pistachio.

Pistachio Benefits for Skin:

One of the most talked about benefits of pistachio is its effect on skin health. Healthy-looking skin can be a distant dream if you are not consuming pistachio on a regular basis.

1. Acne:

Pistachio influences the insulin levels and controls blood circulation, preventing the onset of acne. Blood sugar shifts often produce excess oil, leading to pimples and acne. Pistachio contains selenium, which works in conjunction with Vitamin E to reduce skin inflammation and the appearance of scars.

2. Free radical damage:

The presence of powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C and E in pistachio safeguards the skin against UV radiation damage. Selenium also aids in the creation of glutathione, which neutralizes the free radical damage that deteriorates healthy skin cells.

3. Ageing:

The high concentration of Vitamin E in pistachio helps to improve the skin’s elasticity. It fights the ageing process and prevents the onset of wrinkles, giving you youthful skin. Vitamin E protects the cell membranes, making it healthy and shiny.

4. Skin dryness:

The essential oil present in pistachio alleviates skin dryness. It hydrates the skin and regulates the production of sebum, the skin’s natural conditioner.

Pistachio Health Benefits:

5. Antioxidants:

Pistachio is a storehouse of antioxidants like lutein, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Carotenes and Vitamin E found in pistachio protect the body from oxidative free radical damage.

6. Heart health:

Eating pistachio in moderation can be very beneficial for the health of the heart. It is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help to reduce high blood pressure. Phytosterol in pistachio reduces the absorption of dietary cholesterol from different foods. This helps to bring down the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Bad cholesterol chokes up the arteries, preventing the blood supply to the heart. Consumption of pistachio also reduces stress related to elevated blood pressure.

7. Immune system:

An adequate intake of pistachio can help you achieve a healthy immune system. It contains high concentrations of Vitamin B6, which is vital for keeping the immune system functioning properly. The high levels of antioxidants in pistachio aid in the defense of various microbial diseases.

8. Eye health:

Pistachio can also help to improve vision. It contains carotenoids that protect the eyes from age-related disorders like cataracts and macular degeneration. Lutein and zeaxanthin present in pistachio prevent the eyes from harmful UV radiation damage.

9. Arginine:

Pistachio is one of the best sources of arginine. This miracle molecule helps in improving the functioning of many body processes. Arginine plays a vital role in the regulation of metabolic processes in the body. It increases nitric oxide levels in the body, which prevents the buildup of arterial wall blockage.

10. Cancer:

Pistachio is rich in antioxidants that help to reduce the possibility of skin, prostate and lung cancer. It is rich in gamma-tocopherol that inhibits the penetration of harmful sun radiation into the skin.

11. Nervous system:

The high levels of Vitamin B6 in pistachio help in the formation of amino acids. Amino acid, in turn develops amines that act as neurotransmitters. Vitamin B6 also synthesizes myelin, which forms an insulating cover around the nerve fiber for proper transportation of signals. Pistachio also produces serotonin, melatonin and GABA, which help to reduce stress. It also contains trace amounts of copper, which is responsible for neurotransmission.

12. Weight management:

Pistachio is high in monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are soluble in nature; they do not cause weight gain. It is rich in fiber, which keeps you full for a longer time, preventing overeating. Protein in pistachio uses the fats and burns them, instead of storing them. Do not consume pistachio in high quantities, as it is a calorie-rich food.

13. Pista oil:

Pista oil is used in skin care products for its emollient properties. It is used on the skin to keep dryness at bay. The oil is also used as a carrier or base oil in aromatherapy, massage therapy and the cosmetic industry.

Uses:

  • Pistachio nut is usually eaten raw or is enjoyed roasted, salted or sweetened. It has a nutty taste and a very pleasant aroma. Pistachios are used extensively in baking and cooking.
  • Roasted and chopped pistachio nuts are added to salads, entrees and pasta. It also makes an amazing addition to Kulfi. It is used to garnish sweets and other desserts.
  • Pistachio is used to prepare Baklava, a sweet pastry filled with pistachio, almonds and cashew nuts. This pastry is very popular in Turkey, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries.

Pistachio Nutritional Value:

  • Pistachio is a nutritionally rich nut. The nut is packed with B complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate and thiamin. It is rich in minerals like copper, magnesium, selenium, protein, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. One cup of pistachio provides around 520 calories. Around 450 calories of those in pistachio come from monounsaturated fats. Take a glimpse at the pistachio nutrition facts below:
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy557 Kcal29%
Carbohydrates27.97 g21.5%
Protein20.60 g37%
Total Fat44.44 g148%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber10.3g27%
Vitamins
Folates51 µg13%
Niacin1.3 mg8%
Pantothenic acid0.520 mg10%
Pyridoxine1.7 mg131%
Riboflavin0.160 mg12%
Thiamin0.870 mg72.5%
Vitamin A553 IU18%
Vitamin C5 mg8%
Vitamin E-γ22.60 mg150%
Electrolytes
Sodium1 mg0%
Potassium1025 mg22%
Minerals
Calcium107 mg11%
Copper1.3 mg144%
Iron4.15 mg52%
Magnesium121 mg30%
Manganese1.2 mg52%
Phosphorus376 mg54%
Selenium7 µg13%
Zinc2.20 mg20%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-β332 µg
Crypto-xanthin-β0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin0 µg

Baklava recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce of package phyllo dough
  • 1 ounce of chopped pistachio
  • 1-cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of honey

Direction:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom of a 9×13 pan and leave it aside. Chop the pistachios and toss with cinnamon. Unroll the phyllo dough and cut the stack in half to fit the pan. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside. Place two sheets of dough in a pan and apply butter on it. Repeat until all eight sheets are layered. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of pistachio on the top layer. Top it with two sheets of dough, butter, nuts. Do this for all the sheets. The top layer should be six sheets deep. Cut it into diamond shape and bake for 50 minutes until the baklava turns golden and crisp.

Syrup:

Boil sugar and water until the sugar melts. Add vanilla extract and honey, and simmer for 20 minutes. Take out the baklava from the oven and spoon sauce over it. Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy the delicious, nutty taste of pistachios and do leave us a comment below!

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