Pistachio nuts are a healthy whole food snack that has beneficial health effects; so add a handful or two to your lunch box every day.
The kernels are often eaten whole, either fresh or roasted and salted, and are also used in ice cream and confections such as baklava. They taste good, so beware of eating too many at one time.
These nuts come from the oldest flowering nut tree and have been eaten for over 9,000 years. Pistachios are one of only two nuts that are mentioned in the Bible, in Genesis 43:11. They were given as part of a present of rare and expensive foods. According to legend, the Queen of Sheba liked pistachios so much that she demanded the whole of the pistachio harvest to be kept for her alone!
Research has shown that a handful of pistachios a day can reduce LDL by 16 points and your triglycerides by 10 points.
The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) says that pistachios contain more anti-oxidants than green tea. Pistachios are packed with vitamins, fiber and nutrients, and just adding a handful or two of pistachios to your daily diet can make a big difference in helping reduce the risk of heart disease, say the researchers. They do of course contain fat but almost 90% is the “good” unsaturated fat, and they are also a source of protein.
In July 2003 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first qualified health claim specific to nuts lowering the risk of heart disease: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (42.5g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”.
Pennsylvania State U’s Department of Nutrition and Sciences conducted related research on other health benefits of pistachios, including an April 2007 study concluding that pistachios may calm acute stress reaction, and a June 2007 study on the cardiovascular health benefits of eating pistachios.
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