Pistachios – how healthy are the green kernels?

Hard shell, tasty core. This is typical for many  nuts  , but also for the pistachio, which not only stands out because of its green color, but also because of its valuable ingredients. Pistachios are often served as a snack and are used as an ingredient in cakes or  cookies  . But what are the nutritional values ​​of pistachios? In this article you will also learn what pistachios actually are, whether you can eat pistachios raw, where they grow and how healthy pistachios are despite the high number of calories.

Are pistachios nuts?

Pistachios are the fruit of the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera), which belongs to the sumac family. Botanically speaking, pistachios are the stone fruits of the tree and not nuts. The typical green kernel of the pistachio is hidden in the very hard, beige shell of the stone – and with it what is usually referred to as a pistachio. This stone of the pistachio fruit is surrounded by a greenish-reddish pulp, which in turn is surrounded by a reddish seed coat.

Pistachios: Calories and Nutritional Values

Pistachios are real energy bombs because they have a high nutritional value: 100 grams of the green kernels provide the body with 608 kilocalories, or 2,546 kilojoules.

The high calorie content is mainly due to the high fat content: a pistachio kernel consists of a good 50 percent healthy, mostly unsaturated fatty acids. It is also made up of 21 percent protein, twelve percent carbohydrates and around six percent water.

Healthy ingredients

Overall, the pistachio is an excellent supplier of numerous vitamins and  minerals that are essential for many bodily functions. Particularly noteworthy are:

    • Vitamin B1 (thiamine):  0.69 milligrams of the vitamin are found in 100 grams of pistachios. Vitamin B1 is involved in the body’s energy metabolism and supports the normal function of nerve and muscle tissue.
    • Vitamin B7  (biotin):  100 grams of pistachios contain 0.018 milligrams of biotin, which is involved in many metabolic processes in the body and has a positive effect on skin and hair.
    • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid):  1.2 milligrams of the vitamin are in 100 grams of pistachios. Pantothenic acid contributes to the normal functioning of many bodily functions, including energy metabolism, hormone production and mental performance.
    • Vitamin B6  (pyridoxide):  Vitamin B6 is required for the regulation of blood sugar levels and the formation of the blood pigment hemoglobin. With 0.25 milligrams per 100 grams of kernels, pistachios are rich in vitamin B6.
    • Vitamin B9 ( folic acid ):  100 grams of pistachios contain about 0.058 milligrams of folic acid. This is required for cell growth, for example. Pistachios are also a healthy snack during pregnancy.
    • Vitamin E:  100 grams of pistachios contain a good 5 milligrams of the vitamin. It has an antioxidant effect and protects the body from cell-damaging free radicals. It also supports the immune system and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
    • Gamma tocopherol:  A special form of vitamin E is the so-called gamma tocopherol. It is a particularly effective antioxidant and is found in abundance in pistachios. The results of a clinical study indicate that the daily consumption of pistachios and thus the intake of gamma-tocopherol can reduce the risk of various forms of cancer, including  lung cancer .
    • Potassium There is around one milligram of the mineral in 100 grams of pistachios. Potassium is essential for nerve and muscle function. It is also involved in the regulation of fluid balance and blood pressure.
    • Iron :  There are 7.3 milligrams of iron in 100 grams of pistachios. Iron is important for blood formation and for the absorption and transport of oxygen in the blood.

Are pistachios healthy?

The vitamins and minerals contained in pistachios support numerous functions in the body and contribute to a balanced diet. And although pistachios are high in calories, they are considered very healthy. The reason: the calories are in many unsaturated fatty acids, with  omega-3 fatty acids in particular  helping to reduce blood lipid levels and thus the risk of cardiovascular disease. They promote heart and vascular health.

The high content of high-quality proteins (protein) in pistachios is particularly interesting for people who want to avoid animal protein sources. Protein is important for building muscles and tissues and is also indispensable for  metabolism  and energy production. In addition, the many proteins in pistachios ensure a long-lasting feeling of satiety and can help you lose weight as part of a diet (enjoyed in moderation).

In addition, the fiber contained in pistachios is   good for digestion and supports intestinal health.

Pistachios as a healthy supplement

Consuming large amounts of pistachios (more than 70 grams per day over a longer period of time) should be avoided due to the high nutritional value, as this inevitably leads to weight gain.

It’s best to replace a less healthy snack, such as a candy bar, with a handful of pistachios. The pistachio can support a healthy diet and have a long-term positive effect on health.

Critically question scientific studies

Studies from the USA show American pistachios to be a particularly good and high-quality source of protein. Pistachios are also said to help regulate blood sugar levels, even with  diabetes  during pregnancy.

Since the “American Pistachio Growers”, the association of American pistachio growers, was involved in financing the studies, such study results must be examined very carefully. When in doubt, independent sources of information should be consulted to confirm statements of this nature.

Can pistachios be unhealthy?

Pistachios are basically a healthy food with numerous valuable ingredients. However, pistachios can be bad for your health in the following cases:

  1. Caution is advised for allergy sufferers. Because these people can experience unpleasant side effects such as  itching  or burning in the mouth after eating pistachios.
  2. You should also be careful with moldy or bad-smelling pistachios. This can hide an infestation with a mold that produces a toxin, the aflatoxin. This can have a damaging effect on the liver and is considered carcinogenic. For this reason, pistachios should not be kept for too long. It is also advisable to store pistachios in a dark, cool and dry place.
  3. It can happen that pistachios are treated with pesticides in the countries of origin that are harmful to health. Pistachio imports into the EU are now strictly checked. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, one should look out for organic pistachios that do not use such pesticides.

Allergy to pistachios

There are people who are allergic to pistachios. An allergy to the seeds becomes noticeable   when it itches or burns in the mouth after consumption. Sometimes pustules,  pimples  or eczema can form, very rarely anaphylactic shock, i.e. an extremely strong allergic reaction. A pistachio allergy can also lead to  cross allergies  to other fruits of the sumac family, such as mango or cashew nuts.

Where can you buy pistachios?

Pistachios are commercially available all year round. The kernels are usually sold salted and roasted in the shell. But you can also buy them raw and peeled, or chopped up as a baking ingredient, as well as a cream or pistachio milk, a vegan milk substitute.

Pistachios – a variety of pleasures

Pistachios shine through their versatility: They are raw and unroasted or roasted and salted directly from the shell, a delicious and healthy snack.  The kernels are also delicious as a sweet pistachio cream or in mortadella on  bread . They enrich the muesli in chopped form or are used ground as an ingredient in cakes.

 The pistachio has also found its way into  marzipan . Not to be forgotten is the aromatic pistachio ice cream, which is very popular and a real eye-catcher thanks to its green colour.

Where do pistachios grow?

The pistachios originally came from the Middle East. Even today, the pistachio is mainly grown in Iran and imported to Europe from there. Other important growing areas include Turkey, Syria, China and the USA.

Cultivation outdoors in this country is often difficult, because the pistachio tree needs a lot of heat. In addition, at least two trees must be planted, a male and a female tree, so that fertilization can take place and the fruit can then develop.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *