Pistachios are one of the oldest nuts native to the Middle East.
These small but mighty snacks have been enjoyed for thousands of years and have even been mentioned in the Bible!
These green nuts are not just a tasty snack but are also packed with nutrition that can benefit your health in numerous ways.
Table of Contents
In this article, we will explore what happens to your body when you eat pistachios every day and why you should start including them in your diet.
So, let’s crack open some pistachios and get started!
1. Cleans your gut bacteria
Pistachios have always been a popular nut, commonly enjoyed as a snack or used as an ingredient in various dishes.
But did you know that this nut can also benefit your gut bacteria?
Recent research suggests that consuming pistachios can help to improve the health of your gut microbiome, leading to better digestion and overall health.
The gut microbiome is the collection of microorganisms that live in your digestive tract.
These tiny organisms play a vital role in maintaining good digestive health by breaking down food, producing essential nutrients, and regulating the immune system.
When the balance of gut bacteria is disrupted, it can lead to a host of health problems such as digestive issues, inflammation, and even autoimmune diseases.
Studies have shown that pistachios contain prebiotic fiber (1), which is a type of fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut, promoting their growth and activity.
This fiber can help to increase the number of beneficial bacteria in the gut, leading to a healthier microbiome.
Additionally, pistachios are also high in antioxidants (2), which can help to reduce inflammation in the gut, improving overall gut health.
2. Can improve your mood
Pistachios are a great source of many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium, all of which can play a role in improving your mood.
One of the ways that pistachios can improve your mood is through their high levels of protein.
Protein is essential for the production of serotonin (3), which is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep.
Eating pistachios as a snack can help boost your protein intake, which in turn can increase your levels of serotonin, helping you feel happier and more relaxed.
In addition to their protein content, pistachios also contain high levels of magnesium, which can help regulate stress levels and reduce anxiety.
Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Pistachios also contain healthy fats, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (4), which have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve brain function.
Inflammation is a common factor in many mood disorders, and by reducing inflammation in the body, pistachios may be able to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.
3. May promote weight loss
Pistachios are not only delicious, but they can also help you shed unwanted pounds.
One reason pistachios promote weight loss is that they are high in protein and fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied.
A one-ounce serving of pistachios contains about six grams of protein and three grams of fiber, making them a filling and nutritious snack option.
Moreover, pistachios also have a low-calorie density, which means that they have fewer calories per gram than other snack options.
In fact, one study found that people who added pistachios to their diet had a lower overall calorie intake compared to those who didn’t.
4. Lowers bad cholesterol levels
Cholesterol is a type of fat that is necessary for the body but can become harmful when the levels in the blood become too high.
High levels of bad cholesterol can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other health complications.
Fortunately, research has shown that eating pistachios can help to lower bad cholesterol levels, also known as LDL cholesterol (5).
Pistachios are a rich source of unsaturated fats, fiber, and plant sterols, all of which have been linked to lower cholesterol levels.
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that participants who consumed pistachios daily for four weeks experienced a significant decrease in their LDL cholesterol levels.
The study also found that pistachios did not affect the participants’ total cholesterol levels or their levels of good cholesterol, also known as HDL cholesterol.
Pistachios also contain plant sterols, which are natural compounds that can block the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
5. Improves heart health
Numerous studies have shown that adding pistachios to your diet can help lower your risk of heart disease.
One of the primary ways that pistachios promote heart health is by reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
They are rich in plant-based compounds, such as phytosterols (6) and fiber, that help block the absorption of cholesterol in the gut.
In addition, pistachios contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that help raise the levels of good cholesterol in the blood, which in turn lowers the risk of heart disease.
Moreover, pistachios are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which are crucial for preventing heart disease.
Pistachios also contain high levels of vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that helps protect the cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Aside from that, pistachios also help lower blood pressure, another major risk factor for heart disease.
6. Strengthens eye vision
Recent research has shown that consuming pistachios regularly can help strengthen your vision and protect your eyes from age-related diseases.
Pistachios are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin (7), which are crucial for maintaining healthy eyesight.
Vitamin E, in particular, is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the eyes from oxidative stress and inflammation.
Both are factors that contribute to age-related eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts (8).
Lutein and zeaxanthin, on the other hand, are two carotenoids that are found in high concentrations in the retina, which is the part of the eye responsible for processing visual information.
These nutrients act as natural sunscreens, filtering out harmful blue light and protecting the delicate cells in the retina from damage.
Studies have also shown that consuming pistachios can improve blood flow to the eyes, which can help reduce the risk of glaucoma and other eye diseases that are caused by poor circulation.
Pistachios are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and improve overall eye health.
So, how much pistachios should you eat to reap these benefits?
Well, experts recommend consuming about an ounce or 28 grams of pistachios per day.
This amount contains roughly 160 calories and provides a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
7. Might reduce the risk of certain cancers
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells in the body.
It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with millions of people being diagnosed every year.
Several studies have shown that eating pistachios may reduce the risk of certain cancers, including lung, prostate, and colon cancer.
Pistachios also contain high levels of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol and improve digestion.
Fiber can also help reduce the risk of colon cancer by keeping the digestive system healthy and preventing the formation of polyps, which can turn into cancer.
Moreover, pistachios are a good source of vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells from damage.
Vitamin E has been linked to a reduced risk of several types of cancer, including lung, breast, and prostate cancer.
8. Balances blood sugar levels
For those with diabetes or at risk of developing the condition, incorporating pistachios into their diet can be incredibly beneficial.
Studies have shown that consuming pistachios can help to reduce blood sugar levels, both after meals and while fasting.
This is due to the high fiber content in pistachios, which slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream.
This slow release of glucose helps to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels, which can be damaging to the body.
In addition to their fiber content, pistachios also contain healthy fats, protein, and antioxidants, all of which can help to regulate blood sugar levels.
The healthy fats in pistachios help to improve insulin sensitivity (9), which is important for those with diabetes or insulin resistance.
Protein, on the other hand, helps to slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, further helping to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
Furthermore, the antioxidants in pistachios can help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is often a contributing factor to high blood sugar levels.
By reducing inflammation, the body is better able to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent damage to organs and tissues.
9. Keeps blood vessels healthy
One of the benefits of pistachios that often goes overlooked is their ability to keep blood vessels healthy.
Studies have shown that consuming pistachios can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
This is because they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are good for the heart.
While pistachios have numerous health benefits, it is essential to consume them in moderation.
Eating too many pistachios can lead to excessive calorie consumption, which can result in weight gain.
Additionally, pistachios are high in oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones (10) in some people.
Therefore, it is recommended to limit your intake to a handful of pistachios per day.
Incorporating pistachios into a balanced diet can be a smart way to boost your overall health, but it’s crucial to remember that moderation is key to reap their benefits.
So, if you’re looking for a delicious and healthy snack, reach for a handful of pistachios!