When it comes to nuts, pistachios are often overlooked—even though they are tiny nutritional goldmines. “These little morsels are rich in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and are a good source of satiating protein,” says Maya Feller, M.S., R.D., C.D.N., founder of Maya Feller Nutrition and author of The Southern Comfort Food Diabetes Cookbook: Over 100 Recipes for a Healthy Life. Keep reading to find out exactly how these yummy nuts can benefit your health.
1. Pistachios are packed with nutrients.
“Pistachios are nutrition powerhouses loaded with antioxidants that help to minimize free radical and combat oxidative stress in the body,” says Feller. “They also contain an incredible amount of vitamin B6, whose properties support healthy brain development and immune and nervous system functions.” But that’s not all. “A pistachio is a pretty cool nut,” says Becci Twombley, R.D., C.S.S.D., a sports dietitian for the Los Angeles Angels and Lakers as well as a partner with American Pistachios. “It has every essential nutrient, except for vitamin C. Pistachios are high in omega-three fatty acids and they have three different types of antioxidants. They also have protein, healthy fats, good carbohydrates, fiber, and vitamin A. The amount of nutrition that’s contained in just one pistachio is really impressive.”
2. The protein in pistachios is key.
It’s helpful to know that one serving of pistachios is 1 ounce or 28 grams or about 49 nuts. That might sound like a lot, but they’re pretty small without their shells. “Pistachios offer 6 grams of plant-based protein per serving and help fuel your body with essential amino acids,” says Feller. “As one of the highest-protein snack nuts, pistachios are an excellent addition to a well-balanced pattern of eating.” This means they can be especially helpful for vegetarians or people trying to cut back on the protein they get from animal sources.
3. Fiber gives pistachios superpowers.
“Pistachios are rich in fiber, which research shows encourages stable blood glucose levels and digestive regularity,” says Feller. One serving contains 3 grams of fiber. “The nuts act as a prebiotic and provide nutrients for good bacteria located in the gut microbiome, which is essential for gut and overall health,” adds Feller. Plus, high-fiber foods help you feel full so you’re less likely to reach for less nutritious foods.
4. Pistachios are a boon for your heart.
“Studies show that including pistachios in your everyday nutrition plan can be beneficial to cardiovascular health and decrease associated disease risk factors,” says Feller. “Nearly 90% of the fats found in pistachios fall under the better-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated types, which have been shown to have positive effects on LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and in fact decrease their levels.” On top of that, Twombley notes that research shows pistachios can support blood flow and blood pressure. “We use them in the…