These beautiful looking green colored pistachios are delicious, fun to eat and very nutritious. In reality, these nuts are the edible seeds of the Pistacia vera tree that is rich in healthy fats and is a good source of protein, fiber and antioxidants. They are also a powerhouse of other essential nutrients and can aid in weight management and heart and gut health. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of pistachio.
Health Shots contacted Dr. Nirupama Rao, Nutritionist, Rejua Energy Centre, Mumbai, to know the health benefits of pistachio and its possible side effects if you eat too much of it.
Health benefits of pistachio
The various health benefits of consuming pistachio or pista are:
1. Heart health
“Pistachios are rich in monounsaturated fats, which are heart-healthy fats that can help lower bad cholesterol levels. They also contain antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which support overall cardiovascular health,” says the expert.
2. Diabetes management
Pistachios have a low glycemic index, meaning they have minimal impact on blood sugar levels. The fiber and protein content can also help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
3. Eye health
The antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin in pistachios are beneficial for eye health. They can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
4. Digestive health
Pistachios are a good source of dietary fiber, which promotes digestion and helps prevent constipation.
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5. Rich in nutrients
Pistachios are packed with essential nutrients such as vitamin B6, thiamin and phosphorus. They also contain minerals such as magnesium and potassium, which are important for various bodily functions.
6. Antioxidant properties
These nuts are rich in antioxidants, including vitamin E. Antioxidants help fight oxidative stress in the body, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and support overall well-being.
Also read: Add these 5 nuts to your diet to accelerate your weight loss journey
What happens if you eat too many pistachios?
Eating too many pistachios can have some potential side effects despite their health benefits. Here are some concerns to keep in mind:
1. Weight gain
“Pistachios are high in calories and excessive consumption can lead to weight gain. One cup of pistachios contains more than 700 calories, so portion control is crucial, especially if you are watching your calorie intake,” states Dr. Rao.
2. Digestive problems
Eating too many pistachios at once can overload your digestive system. Their high fiber content can cause digestive problems, including bloating, gas and diarrhea.
3. High sodium intake
According to Dr. Rao, “Many commercially available pistachios are salted, which can contribute to excess sodium intake if consumed in large quantities. High sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure and other health problems.”
4. Oxalate content
Pistachios contain oxalates, compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Consuming too many pistachios can increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
So if you’re wondering, “How many pistachios per day is too much?”, it’s important to consume them in moderation because they are high in calories. A typical serving size is about 25 grams or a small handful. Including pistachios in a balanced diet can be a delicious way to improve your health.