Wrapped in ivory shells, pistachio nuts, with their bright green color and sophisticated appeal, have been called “emerald gems.” A favorite snack with drinks, the pistachio’s rich flavor and aroma have earned it the title, “the queen of nuts.” People do not know, though, of this nut’s nutritious content.
MORE FIBER THAN BURDOCK ROOT
Pistachios contain an abundance of fiber which produces beneficial effects against lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and intestinal cancer. Though apples and sweet potatoes have 1.3 and 1.7 g of fiber per 100 grains, respectively, and burdock root, a vegetable known for high fiber content, has 8.5 g, pistachios contain 9.2 g of fiber!
Pistachio nuts are also rich in quality proteins, vitamins and minerals essential to life processes. They are especially high in potassium, which helps prevent blood pressure from increasing; in iron, which tends to be deficient in women; in calcium, important to bone and teeth formation; and in carotene, which becomes the body’s vitamin A.
FATS ARE ESSENTIAL NUTRIENTS
You might be wondering, “They’re still nuts, right? Aren’t they full of fat which is bad for the body?” True: half a pistachio’s nutritional value comes in the form of fat. But fats get a bad rap; they are actually nutrients essential to keeping a living organism functioning normally. A fat deficiency can lead to skin issues and reduce the ability of tissues to regenerate, causing many problems such as susceptibility to disease. It is unwise to indiscriminately avoid all fats.
What is actually important is fatty acid composition. Fatty acids come in saturated and unsaturated varieties; unsaturated fatty acids are further divided into mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated types. Because each type of fat serves a different function, it is important to consume each type in the right balance.
GOOD FATS AND ZERO CHOLESTEROL
Pistachios contain a minimal amount of saturated fats that are plentiful in meats, and are instead full of monounsaturated fats. These fats lower the level of bad cholesterol in the blood without lowering good cholesterol level, so monounsaturated fats are viewed as helpful against arteriosclerosis. Moreover, because pistachio nuts are a vegetable food, they have zero cholesterol. They thus serve as an outstanding protein source for those whose diets lean towards animal products.
Yuji Ando of the California Pistachio Commission’s Japan office once summarized that “A study by epidemiologists in the 1970s and a 1993 health study conducted in Iowa on women made it clear that nuts have a beneficial effect on heart disease. Ever since then, pistachios have become established as a health food… (especially) where people have become concerned about consuming too much animal products.”
(Translated by Roy Mashima)
(The information provided should not be construed as medical advice or instruction. Consult your physician before attempting any new program. Readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of developing serious medical conditions.)