Are pistachios good for you? the health benefits and risks

  • Pistachios are beneficial to health because they contain fiber, protein, and healthy fats.
  • One serving of pistachios has 159 calories, 6 grams of protein, and nearly 30 mg of calcium.
  • Make sure you opt for pistachios that have no added salt or high sodium flavorings.
  • Visit the Insider Health Reference Library for more advice.

Pistachios are one of the healthiest nuts you can eat, as they are lower in calories and fat than many nuts, while also providing a good amount of protein and fiber. The typical serving of pistachios is one ounce (or about 49 shelled walnuts), which contains:

  • 159 calories
  • 5.73 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 12.8 grams of fat

Thanks to their nutritional value, pistachios can help support the health of your heart, intestines and immune system. Here are six benefits of pistachios.

1. Rich in nutrients

Pistachios contain a nutritious punch, containing numerous vitamins and minerals, says Jinan Banna, PhD, registered dietitian and professor of nutrition at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

In a one-ounce serving of pistachios, you will consume:

  • 29.8 milligrams of calcium
  • 34.3 milligrams of magnesium
  • 289 milligrams of potassium
  • 1.11 milligrams of iron
  • 139 milligrams of phosphorus
  • 14.5 milligrams of folate
  • 0.482 milligrams of vitamin B6

2. Good source of fiber

With one ounce of pistachios containing three grams of fiber, pistachios help contribute to your daily fiber requirement, says Banna. It is recommended that men under 50 consume 38 grams of fiber per day and men over 50 consume 30 grams per day. Women under 50 should aim to consume 25 grams, and women over 50 should have 21 grams.

Fiber is great for gut health and healthy digestion, as it can help regulate bowel movements, preventing both diarrhea and constipation.

Additionally, Banna says fiber can help you stay fuller for longer by preventing overeating, which can be helpful if you’re looking to


lose weight

.

3. Good source of protein

A one-ounce serving of pistachios contains nearly six grams of protein, making it an excellent source of this important macronutrient, says Antonette Hardie, MS, a registered dietitian at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.

Protein is essential for bodily functions such as building and maintaining lean muscle mass, strengthening the immune system and helping digest food. Plus, along with fiber, protein can help you stay fuller for longer, which can help you lose weight, says Hardie.

4. Rich in antioxidants

Pistachios contain antioxidants that can improve your overall health and offer protection from disease, says Banna. This is due to the phenolic compounds in pistachios, which are plant compounds such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, and phenolic acids.

These antioxidants help fight oxidative stress caused by free radicals, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer.

5. High in healthy fats

Pistachios are a good source of unsaturated fats, known as “good” fats with anti-inflammatory effects, says Hardie. This type of fat is known to cause various health benefits such as:

  • Improve heart health
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce the risk of premature death
  • Reduce inflammation associated with chronic diseases

6. They are versatile and delicious

Healthy foods don’t need to taste bland or appetizing, and pistachios can be a snack or addition to a meal you’ll be looking forward to, says Hardie. The taste is overall delicate: nutty with a hint of sweetness.

You can eat them on their own as a healthy snack or add them to salads, desserts, or even a crunchy coating for roasted meat or vegetables, Hardie says.

Risks of Eating Pistachios

As with any food, it is important to eat pistachios in moderation. Consuming too many pistachios could carry the following risks:

  • Excess calorie intake: Although pistachios are low in calories compared to many other nuts, they are still relatively calorie dense. So eating too many can “possibly contribute to weight gain if you eat too much chronically,” says Banna.
  • Not ideal if you have kidney disease: Because of their phosphorus and potassium content, Banna says pistachios should be avoided if you have kidney disease as these minerals need to be limited when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly.
  • Excess sodium intake: If you’re eating salted pistachios, you run the risk of consuming excess sodium, which can lead to unwanted bloating and increased risk of hypertension, Hardie says. To avoid this, opt for unsalted or lightly salted nuts.

Takeaway from the insider

Pistachios are a great nutrient-rich addition to your diet, containing fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and healthy fats, all of which help improve your overall health. However, you should make sure you consume them in moderation.

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