Pistachios (Pistacia vera) are one of the oldest, and most nutritious, edible nuts. Pistacia vera originated in West Asia and Middle-East countries like Iran and Iraq. Today, they also grow abundantly in countries like Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Greece.
Pistacia vera often is confused with other species in the genus Pistacia that are also known as pistachio. These species can be distinguished from P. vera by their geographic distributions (in the wild), and their seeds which are much smaller and have a shell that is soft.
Pistachios are known for their power to curb the appetite, which is great for people who are trying to shed some weight. They are a good-tasting nut with a unique look. Unlike other nuts which are mostly shades of beige, pistachios are green with a semi-opened shell. This is why they are referred to as the "happy nut" in China and the "smiling pistachio" in Iran.
Pistachios offer people easy and healthy consumption. A good way to include pistachios in your diet plan is to eat a handful per day. This portion is enough to meet the daily recommended dose of antioxidants, protein, minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients.
According to experts, people who want to lose weight should substitute pistachios for regular snacks. This is mainly because this nut is very low in calories and can leave you with a feeling of being full. Each serving can include around 50 nuts that equate to around 170 calories. Although this snack alternative is highly recommended, individuals should still watch out for portion sizes. Pistachios are undoubtedly nutritious, but the amount consumed should still be controlled in order to succeed in the weight loss plan.
Studies claimed that pistachios can help reduce the body’s bad cholesterol or LDL. Results suggest that individuals who consume 20 percent of their calories from pistachios during a diet lost about 14 percent of LDL and had a 25 percent increase in good cholesterol or HDL. This equates to a 12 percent total cholesterol reduction. With the right amount of pistachios consumed regularly, people can lower the risk of developing heart disease.
In addition, pistachios have antioxidant properties. They contain phytochemicals such as carotene, lutein, polyphenolic antioxidants and vitamin E. These compounds help remove free radicals that destroy the cells. This process is important in reducing the amount of inflammation in the blood vessels that is also one of the essential determinants of heart disease risk. A good amount of pistachios in the diet can increase lutein levels to protect the body against oxidized LDL.
Furthermore, the antioxidant properties in pistachios can help treat diabetes and related conditions. This is because these nuts have the capability to stop the glycation process where sugar bonds with protein inappropriately.
Zeaxanthin and lutein found in pistachios have protective antioxidant properties. These two carotenoids are not commonly found in other nuts. These antioxidants protect the body tissues from harmful free radicals. This is especially true in delicate body organs like the eyes. With a sufficient supply of zeaxanthin and lutein, eyes can be protected from age-related macular degeneration that commonly leads to acquired blindness and visual impairment.
Pistachios also contain copper, vitamin b6 and manganese. These elements are essential in tissue and bone development and fat and carbohydrate metabolism. They also help boost immune system function. Pistachios are also rich in fiber that is great for digestion.
Pistachios are best consumed unsalted and unroasted. Food high in sodium increases the risk of developing hypertension. People should also avoid dyed pistachios because they can be harmful to health. This is especially true for ADHD patients as food additives can be bad for them. During the holidays, pistachios come out in a variety of colors. The best ones to pick are light green with beige shells. The rest are artificially dyed and obviously not healthy.
Today, there are pistachio supplements in oil form and nut extract in gel capsules. These supplements provide the same nutrients found in fresh pistachios. They contain carotenoids and other vitamins that are present in fresh pistachios. The main advantage of opting for these supplements rather than real nuts is that they are easy to consume and contain a relatively small amount of calories. There is no need for individuals to count every nut they eat to make sure they meet the required daily serving.
Pistachio oil is also used to treat dry skin. It has excellent emollient properties with a nutty aroma that can be used in traditional treatments like aromatherapy and massage therapy. In the cosmetics industry, they are also used in makeup and other beauty products that serve as a moisturizer.
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