Pistachios and Health
Pistachio consumption has been linked to various health benefits, from glycaemic control to heart health. Pistachios are high in fibre and monounsaturates, a source of protein and provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals alongside anthocyanins, carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolic acids. Polyphenols in pistachios are known to exert antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effects.
Many studies have looked at links between pistachio eating and markers of health. Some aspects of health that have been studied include: appetite, body weight, glycaemic control, diabetes, and prediabetes (including during pregnancy), cancer and roles in cognitive function and gut health, including gut microbiota profile.
A new review recently published in Nutrients Journal, Special Issue "Plant-Based Diets: Benefits and Concerns" looked at studies focusing on pistachios and health. Nuts are now well recognised for their role in reinforcing heart health. In 2003, the U.S. FDA authorised the health claim that: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz (42.5 g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”.
Pistachio consumption may also have an important role as part of weight management programmes, due to their satiety effects and when consumed in moderation, their fatty acid profile does not appear to impact on body weight. There is evidence that pistachios can exert glucose and insulin-lowering effects. They are high in chromium, which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood glucose levels. This may be beneficial for management of prediabetes, diabetes, and gestational diabetes. Evidence is building in these areas.
Tree nut consumption has been linked to better cancer outcomes, possibly due to their potent antioxidant effects. Eating pistachios has also been linked to restored and improved profile of gut microbiota. Ongoing research is needed to find out more.
Further information is available via:
Derbyshire E, Higgs J, Feeney MJ & Carughi A (2023) Believe It or ‘Nut’: Why It Is Time to Set the Record Straight on Nut Protein Quality: Pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) Focus. Nutrients 15(9): 2158. Available via: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/15/9/2158
This work was supported by the American Pistachio Growers.