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December 25, 2022

Pistachios: A Perfect Heart-Healthy Snack

Posted In: Fitness & Wellness

Pistachios make you work to eat them, but they’re so tasty, it’s well worth the effort. Not only are they good, but they’re good for you. They have loads of nutrition and are extremely heart healthy. Pistachios are high in healthy fats and a great source of fiber, antioxidants and protein. They’re not just heart-healthy, but also good for gut health and weight loss. One serving of pistachios is about 49 nuts. It has 8 carbs, 159 calories, 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 13 grams of fat—but it’s a healthy fat. They’re extremely high in vitamin B6, at 28% RDI. They also contain potassium, thiamine, copper, manganese and phosphorus. A single 1 oz. serving has as much potassium as half a banana.

Maintaining a proper weight is important for heart health.

Obesity can be at the root of many serious conditions that affect heart health. It can cause blood pressure to rise, cause insulin resistance, cause increased bad cholesterol and increase the risk of diabetes, all of which are factors for heart disease. Unlike many other nuts, pistachios are lower in calories than most. Almost 20% of their weight is from protein, and they have a higher percentage of essential amino acids.

Eating pistachios helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

You’ll definitely be helping your heart if you keep your blood pressure lower. Several studies have shown pistachios can help do this and even improve blood cholesterol levels. One study showed that getting 10% of their daily calories from pistachios lowered their LDL—bad cholesterol—by 9%. When 20% of the calories came from pistachios, LDL levels were lowered by 12%. Blood pressure studies showed that eating pistachios also lowered both upper and lower blood pressure.

Pistachios are high in antioxidants.

While most nuts and seeds are extremely healthy and contain antioxidants, pistachios are one of the leaders. They high amounts, only topped by pecans and walnuts. Two of the antioxidants that are extremely high in pistachios are polyphenols and tocopherols. Those two antioxidants help prevent heart disease and cancer. They’re also high in fiber, so they help boost gut-health by feeding beneficial microbes, which in turn make short-chain fatty acids. The short-chain fatty acids also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Interestingly, the antioxidants in pistachios are very accessible in the stomach. Therefore, they are more likely to be absorbed during digestion.
  • Pistachios contain L-arginine, an amino acid, which converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
  • With the high amount of protein and fiber in pistachios, they help you feel full longer, so you’ll eat less. Studies have shown that eating pistachios as a snack, compared to other snacks, like pretzels, can help you lose weight.
  • Pistachios have a low glycemic index, so it won’t spike blood sugar levels. One study showed that when 2 ounces of pistachios were added to the diet, blood sugar levels after a meal were lowered by 20 to 30%.
  • The fiber in pistachios and healthy fat are part of the reason they help control blood sugar levels; another part of the reason is the high antioxidant content. They’re a far better snack than sugary treats and can satisfy hunger for longer.

For more information, contact us today at Prime Fitness Studio