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Pistachios are one of the oldest nuts that were commonly used in the world. They are native to Asia, particularly in Iran and Iraq. A pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. Pistachios are a drupe, where the fruit has a large seed in the center. This seed is edible. The nuts of pistachio are not seasonal and are available all year long. They are one of the few nuts that contain most of the nutrients that are required by humans for complete health. There are many health benefits of pistachios such as discussed below.
One of the biggest health benefits of pistachios is that they are heart-friendly nuts. Research on pistachios suggests that regular pistachio consumption can decrease the levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) are great for promoting a healthy heart.
Pistachios are also the first choice for people who are dieting. Evidence suggests that pistachios, with their lower calories, high protein, low saturated fat, and high unsaturated fats, are an ideal contender as compared to other nuts and dried fruits for ideal weight management.
Pistachios contain carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help in reducing the risk of contracting age-related macular disease in the elderly, according to the research conducted by Chen CYO and Blumberg JB from Tufts University, Boston, USA. They can be included, along with vegetables, for an increased supply of lutein and zeaxanthin.
Pistachios also help in eliminating dryness from the skin. The saturated fat plays a major role in this aspect. The fat also acts as a good carrier or base oil as it is used as an ingredient in traditional therapies like aromatherapy and traditional massage therapy.
One of the other health benefits of pistachios is that it is a good source of dietary fiber, which helps in the smooth digestion of food. A serving of about 1 ounce or 30 grams of pistachios contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber, more than enough to get your digestive tracts working at optimum capacity.
According to research , pistachios greatly influence sexual vitality in men. Studies have shown that those men who had a daily intake of about 100 grams of pistachios for three weeks improved their erectile function by around 50 percent.
Even the shells of pistachios are found to contain a considerable amount of antioxidants. Researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University, in Tehran, Iran were able to successfully identify and extract these antioxidants to be added to other foods. Antioxidants neutralize the free radicals that form in the body after cellular metabolism and can cause conditions like cancer and heart disease.
One of the final health benefits of pistachios is that they function in controlling diabetes. In people suffering from diabetes, the sugars from inappropriate bonds with proteins and make them unusable. This process is known as glycation. The antioxidants present in pistachios help in reducing the process of glycation and thus can help in controlling diabetes.
Pistachios have a high copper content, which helps in the higher absorption of iron into the body from food sources. This can help combat conditions like anemia.
Pistachios are available today in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. The shell on the nut protects it from physical damage and various infections. On the other hand, salted and sweetened pistachios may not be a good choice because of their high sodium and sugar content. The ideal way is to buy unshelled nuts, as they are in their natural form and are the least processed. Pistachios must be stored in airtight containers in cool and dry places so that they can last for many months without going bad. The above nutritional details show that pistachios are not just another nut, but actually a very good food to be consumed at any point throughout the day. In fact, it is a wholesome food all by itself.
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