Why we love pistachios and their endless health benefits
Monday 01 October 2012
Loved by health conscious athletes and celebrities the world over, the “skinny nut” (actually a seed) is bursting with nutritional benefits.
But don’t just take our word for it. American Pistachios are the snack of choice for the USA Women’s Water Polo Team who won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The team was fuelled by American Pistachios during training and while in residence at the Olympic Village and swears by pistachios as a healthy snack to power up during their training
And if that wasn’t reason enough, we have the lowdown on why these sweet treats trump their fellow ‘healthy snacks’ when it comes to keeping you healthy, nourished and bursting with energy, especially for athletes.
Full of good fats
Pistachios are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid. This can help lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood, which in turn can prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. More importantly, they have no nasty trans fats whatsoever.
Good source of protein
A well-kept secret of vegetarians is that nuts are secret protein givers. One serving of pistachios provides more protein than in a half cup of broccoli, which makes them ideal for athletes wanting to rebuild muscle after training.
Research has shown that including pistachios as part of a healthy diet could positively reduce the body’s response to the stresses of everyday life, and help reduce high blood pressure.
Pistachios contain carotenes and vitamin E, and are high in other antioxidant compounds that can help rid the body of nasty free radicals, which can cause cancer, infections and other diseases if not fought off.
These little nuts contain pretty much every vital mineral you can think of, including manganese, potassium, iron and calcium, and are an excellent source of copper. Copper is needed for vital processes such as metabolism and neuro-transmission so get snacking now.
As well as being rich in life-giving minerals, pistachios are also high in arginine – a nutrient that prevents the hardening of arteries – good news for your heart!
Most of us associate fibre with wholegrain bread and fruit, however just one serving of pistachios contains more fibre than a whole piece of fruit.
Research has also shown that pistachios can protect the body from lipid peroxides – which can accelerate the ageing process. So not only are they good for you waistline, they’re also perfect for your skin.
Vitamin B6 is needed for healthy red blood cells (which carry oxygen around the body- so they are particularly important for athletes), and luckily pistachios provide 15% of your recommended daily allowance (RDA).
More than any other nut, pistachios contain carotenoids lutein and zeaxinthin that are essential for keeping your eyes healthy.
With all these health benefits included in such a tasty snack it’s no wonder the US Water Polo team picked up the sought-after gold medal this year.
Visit www.americanpistachios.org for more information about the health benefits of pistachios.