The pistachio is a member of the cashew family. It is the fruit of a small desert tree native to central Asia and the Near East. It is resistant to drastic temperature fluctuations from 14°F (-10°C) during the winter to 104°F (40°C) during the summer.
Pistachios are popular throughout the world and are widely used in the preparation of desserts or as main courses. Pistachios are among the healthiest nuts, consisting of an abundance of nutrients that are good for our health. They help us maintain a healthy weight, while regular consumption decreases the risk of cardiovascular issues.
These nuts contain fewer calories than others and more potassium and vitamin K. As well, pistachios provide 25% of our daily values of vitamin B6, 15% of our needed thiamine and phosphorus, and 10% of the required magnesium.
Even though most of the fats in pistachios are healthy unsaturated, they still do contain an abundance of calories, so eat them in moderation.
An interesting study has shown that participants ate less pistachios if they ate them with their shells. This is a good solution for limiting the amount of pistachios eaten.
It has been proven that a light breakfast with pistachios can lower cholesterol. Participants in a 2008 study consumed low-calorie foods for 4 weeks, with 10-20% of their daily calories coming from pistachios. At the same time, a second group of volunteers tried to lower their cholesterol with a standard diet. The end results showed that pistachios were the winner in this match as well.
This nut also contains L-arginine, which makes blood vessels more flexible, leading to a decreased risk of blood clots from forming. In turn, this also lowers the risk of heart attack. Preliminary studies have also shown that pistachios have an antibacterial action against the intestinal pathogens E. coli and Listeria.
And to add a curious fact: China is the #1 consumer of pistachios worldwide with an annual consumption of 80 000 tons. The US consumes 45 000 tons, Russia - 15 000 tons and India - 10 000 tons.