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Articles Fitness Nutrition

The Nutrition of Pistachio Nuts

Apr 12, 2010

Pistachio nuts rank near the top of the healthiest nuts you should keep in your diet. Grounding up dry roasted pistachios and sprinkling them on top of your yogurt, or tossing a few into your salad are great ways of making your food more delicious and much more nutritious. Studies have linked the regular intake of pistachios with reduced levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the blood. They are full of healthy fats, proteins, fiber, vitamins and minerals that help to maintain functional integrity of your body and improve your overall health.

In terms of diet and fitness, pistachios have the lowest calorie count and are the least fattening relative to all other nuts. On average, an ounce of pistachios (about 28 nuts) contains about 160 calories and 13 grams of fat. To get the maximum dietary benefit, make sure you buy them unsalted and dry roasted.

Healthy Fats

The fat content of pistachios comes mainly from the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

  • Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA): this vegetarian omega-3 fatty acid is one of the most important reasons why eating pistachios is so good for you. Studies have shown that ALA intake can reduce the risks for cardiac arrhythmia and other cardiovascular diseases. You body can also convert ALA into DHA and EPA, which are powerful agents in the prevention of many neurological disorders and cancer.
  • Linoleic Acid (LA): this omega-6 fatty acid is also richly found in pistachios. It helps to protect you against cancer and improve your body's ability to heal itself. Studies have also shown that increased intake of LA can help reduce diabetic complications.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and zeaxanthin are two highly valuable amino acids that are found in pistachios. These trace nutrients are critical to the maintenance of healthy vision. Lutein is concentrated in your retina, where as zeaxanthin is located in the macular lutea. Sufficient intake of these essential amino acids can help lower your risks for cataract development and protect you against age related macular degeneration.

Vitamin B6

Pistachios are a rich source of vitamin B6. Every ounce of pistachios supplies you with 18% of your daily need for this vitamin. Vitamin B6 is important to many cell functions such as protein metabolism and conversion of glucose to glycogen. A diet lacking in vitamin B6 can cause diseases like seborrheic dermatitis, ulceration and neurological symptoms like confusion, somnolence and neuropathy.

Copper

Copper is a necessary factor that helps to facilitate iron uptake by your body. You need sufficient amounts of copper in your blood to be well oxygenated. Copper is also involved in the maintenance of your blood vessels and bone integrity. An ounce of pistachios contribute about 19% of your daily requirement for copper.

Manganese

Pistachios are also a rich source of manganese. Each ounce contains 18% of your daily need. This essential mineral is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your cells against free-radical attacks. They have strong detoxification actions and help to strengthen your immunity against viral infections and cancer. 

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