Thursday, June 21, 2012


Wondering how something so delicious could also be good for you? Or want something to grab for ? Perhaps you can look for this --- PISTACHIO ! It's one of the most nutritious among the nuts.

Brief Description Of PISTACHIO

 Pistachio ~

Wonderfully delicious pistachio nuts have been revered as symbol of wellness and robust health since ancient times. The nuts are enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients that are essential for optimum health.

Pistachio nuts are dry fruits of species of trees belonging to the anacardaceae family, of the genus: Pistacia. The plant is a medium sized broad, bushy, dioecious, deciduous tree, believed to be originating in the mountain ranges of western Asian region. Several cultivars exist but the most popular variety grown for commercial purpose is the kerman.

Pistachios grow well under hot, dry climates with cool winters. They are currently being cultivated in large scale in the orchards in the USA, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and China. After plantation, the plant takes approximately eight to ten years until it produces its first major crop. Once established, it keeps bearing fruits for centuries.

The fruit, in fact, is a drupe (a fruit with large central single seed) and the seed kernel is actually the edible portion. They are borne in heavy clusters somewhat like that of grapes bunch. Exteriorly, the mature fruit features off white colored, hard, shell with splits apart exposing yellow-light green colored oblong kernel, which measures about 1 inch in length and 1/2 inch in diameter.


The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia (Iran) which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan (especially in the provinces of Samangan and Badghis), and the United States, specifically in California. The tree produces an important culinary nut.

Pistacia vera often is confused with other species in the genus Pistacia that are also known as pistachio. These species can be distinguished from P. vera by their geographic distributions (in the wild) and their nuts. Their nuts are much smaller, have a strong flavor of turpentine, and have a shell that is not hard.

Pistachio is one of the oldest nuts to be used in the world. It is native to Asia, particularly in Iran and Iraq. Archeological evidence dates the association of pistachio and man as early as 6000 BC. It was cultivated in Iran, Iraq, and Syria and was introduced to the Romans only in 100 AD. Today, apart from Iran, Iraq and Syria it is being produced in many countries such as the United States, New Mexico, Australia, Turkey and China amongst others.
Pistachio nuts belong to the anacardaceae family from the genus: Pistacia. Pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. Pistachio is a drupe where the fruit has a large seed in the centre. This seed is edible. The nuts of pistachio are not seasonal and are available all year long. They can be bought from the nearest grocery store. Pistachios are available today in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. The shell on the nut protects it from physical damage and infections. On the other hand, salted and sweetened pistachios may not be a good choice because of high sodium and sugar content. The ideal way is to buy unshelled nuts as they are in their natural form and least processed. Pistachios must be stored in airtight containers at, cool and dry places so that they can enjoy long life for months together.

Health Benefits Of PISTACHIO
A. Study No.1
o    According to Thomas and Gebhardt (2006) pistachios contain lower calorie content amounting to 160 per one ounce in comparison to other nuts and dried fruits such as cashew nuts, walnuts, almonds, pecan, hazelnut, Brazil nut, chestnuts, etc.
o    Pistachios contain higher amount of protein in comparison with other nuts such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans and walnuts. The amount of protein found in pistachios is 6 g per 1 ounce, which is the highest in comparison to other nuts.
o    The fat content in pistachios is also the lowest compared to other nuts. Statistics collected by Thomas and Gebhardt (2006) show that the fat content in pistachios is 13 g per 1 ounce.
o    Pistachios are also very good source for mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and antioxidants. Taking pistachios on a regular basis is known to be effective in decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL) bad cholesterol and helps in the increase of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) good cholesterol.
o    Trace elements or minerals found in pistachio include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Importantly, pistachios contain the highest amount of phosphorus along with almonds and cashews. Further, pistachios also contain the highest amount of potassium with respect to all nuts.
o    The amount of sodium found in pistachios is zero apart from other nuts like hazelnuts and pecans. This is good news for people suffering from hypertension who constantly have to check the intake of sodium in their diet.
o    The above specs show that pistachio is not just another nut, but a very good breakfast. In fact, it is a wholesome food in itself.
§  Pistachios are rich source of energy; 100 g of nuts contain 557 calories. Nonetheless, the nuts contain many health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health.

§  The nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of antioxidants. Regular intake of pistachios in the diet help to lower total as well as bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet that is rich in dietary fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
§  They are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including carotenes, vitamin E, and polyphenolic antioxidant compounds. Research studies have been suggestive of that these compounds help body remove toxic oxygen free radicals and thus, protect body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections.
§  Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol;contain about 23g per100 g. vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin; offers protection from harmful oxygen free radicals.
§  The nuts are packed with many important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.
§  These nuts are storehouse of minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium,iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. 100 g nuts provide 144% of daily-recommended levels of copper. Copper is an essential trace mineral that is required in neuro-transmission, metabolism, as well as red blood cell (RBC) synthesis.
§  Pistachio nut oil has flavorful nutty aroma and has an excellent emollient properties. It helps to keep skin well protected from dryness. It has also been used in cooking, and as “carrier or base oil” in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aromatherapy, in pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industry.
Just a hand full of pistachios a day provides enough recommended levels of phenolic anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins, and protein.

B. Study No. 2
o   Healthy heart: One of the biggest health benefits of pistachio is that it is a heat friendly nut. Research on pistachios suggests that regular pistachio consumption can decrease the levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids) are great in promoting a healthy heart.
o   Weight management: Pistachios are also the first choice for people who are on diet. Evidence suggests that pistachios with their lower calories, high protein, lower saturated fat and higher unsaturated fats are an ideal contender as compared to other nuts and dried fruits for ideal weight management.
o    Reduced risk of age-related macular disease or (AMD): Pistachios have carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. These antioxidants help in reducing the risk of contracting age-related macular disease in the elderly, according to the research conducted by Chen CYO and Blumberg JB from Tufts University, Boston, USA. They can be included along with vegetables for increased supply of lutein and zeaxanthin.
o    Eliminates skin dryness: Pistachios also help in eliminating dryness from skin. The saturated fat plays a major role here. The fat also acts as a good carrier or base oil as it is used as an ingredient in traditional therapies like aromatherapy and traditional massage therapy.
o    Dietary fiber: One of the other health benefits of pistachios is that it is a good source of dietary fiber which helps in smooth digestion of food. A serving of about 1 ounce or 30 grams of pistachios contains about 3 grams of dietary fiber.

o    Aphrodisiac properties: According to research conducted by Aldemir et al (2011), pistachios greatly influence the vitality in men. Studies have shown that those men who had a daily intake of about 100 grams of pistachios for three weeks improved their erectile function by around 50 percent. This was confirmed with ultrasound scans of blood flow in penis.
o    Antioxidant properties: Even the shells of pistachios are found to contain a considerable amount of antioxidants. Researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran were able to successfully identify and extract these antioxidants to be added to other foods.

o    Defense against diabetes: One of the health benefits of pistachio is that they function in controlling diabetes. In people suffering with diabetes, the sugars form inappropriate bonds with proteins and make them unusable. This process is known as glycation. The antioxidants present in pistachios help in reducing the process of glycation and thus help in controlling diabetes.
o    Absorption of iron: Pistachios have high copper content which helps in higher absorption of iron in the body.

C. Study No. 3

Can Pistachio Nuts Lower Cholesterol?

Pistachio Nuts Are Healthy Nuts With Heart-Friendly Benefits
Pistachio nuts are seed fruits of the pistachio tree (Pistacia vera) and a close relative of cashews. This tree is native primarily to the Middle East, especially Turkey and Iran. Although the shells typically have a light brown color, pistachio nuts may be dyed red or green to hide damage of the outer shell inflicted during processing. Pistachio nuts are a popular snack, and chock-full of nutrients, such as thiamin, potassium, fiber, phytosterols, magnesium and vitamin B6. Additionally, pistachios contain high amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to improving cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.
The Good News
Most studies examining the effects of pistachios nuts on cholesterol involved people consuming pistachios -- about 15 to 20 percent of their daily caloric intake. Additionally, participants with and without high cholesterol were studied. Most studies indicate that eating three ounces of pistachio nuts a day for one month can raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good" cholesterol, up to an average of 15 percent. This roughly equals to about two handfuls of pistachio nuts a day.
Although low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and triglycerides appeared to be slightly lowered in these studies, it was not lowered enough to be considered significant. Although more research would be needed to confirm this, the studies performed so fat suggest that pistachio nuts can raise your “good” cholesterol.
High Calories
Pistachios, as well as other nuts, can contain a lot of calories due to their high fat content. In fact, approximately three ounces of pistachio nuts are 400 calories. Although this may seem like a high calorie snack, these studies did not see any significant weight gain in the participants eating pistachio nuts on a daily basis.
Bottom Line
Pistachios are a healthy snack to add your diet. They may also help with raising your good cholesterol levels, but further study is needed.

D. Study No. 4
Nut contains fat, but you can get many benefits from this your health too. So if you take pistachio nut on a daily basis, there will be some pistachios health benefits which will be truly good to support the efforts to live a healthy life appropriately. Pistachio contains various substances which are required by human body to keep the good function of human organs and prevent various diseases too. Here the benefits will be explained in details. After reading the facts below, you can conclude whether you should take it or leave it based on your health condition.
On talking about pistachios health benefits, we should know firstly about the substances contained in this nut. Pistachio is a good source of energy. In every 100 g of pistachios, there are approximately 557 calories. Surely, energy is not enough for living a healthy life. Human body needs minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, and fortunately pistachio contains those substances. Pistachio is a very good source of vitamin E which offers several advantages. Basically, vitamin E plays an important role in human body. It is useful to protect human body from some possible problems, including free radical damage which finally causes the more serious side effects, such as cancer.
The next pistachios health benefits has string relation to the high content of antioxidants. By consuming pistachio nut, your body would have got more protection since antioxidant is the essential aspect which will strengthen the immune system. It is also beneficial on slowing down the aging process as well.

What else? High content of Vitamin B-complex in pistachio nut becomes another reason why you should take it on a daily basis. Vitamin B-complex is much more important than the other vitamins, especially for energy production. Proper nervous system functioning also requires this vitamin, especially B5, B6 and B12. When someone does not consume enough vitamins (B-complex), there are at least three possible side effects: stress, anxiety and even depression.
You probably never realize that good digestive system is also determined by the adequate supply of vitamins. By taking adequate amount of vitamin B-complex, your body can produce HCl appropriately, the substance required to break down the fats and carbohydrates. A good digestive system is particularly supported by Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6. Absolutely, you never expect to suffer from any troubles which are caused by improper digestive system, right? So, the plenty pistachios health benefits are all you need to get as a part of your effort to live a healthy life suitably.
Anyway, the benefits are not always about the substances, but also the nutty aroma of pistachio which has been used for aromatherapy and also cosmetic industry. This good news is for you, all women who want to try something different which offers good effects for your beauty. Nowadays, pistachio aromatherapy and pistachio nut oil are getting more and more popular for some reasons. First is surely about the nutty aroma and the second is about the great function to keep the skin moist, smooth and flawless. Generally, this is only for external use. In conclusion, there will be so many pistachios health benefits when you consider consuming this nut regularly. You will not only be healthier, but also look fresh and more beautiful.

Are pistachios good for you?
If nuts and seeds are unhealthy and detrimental for human health, you will never read the stories about the nutritionist who recommend people to consume those foods due to the plenty health benefits especially for everyone who is in a diet program. Nuts contain fat, but it won’t bring serious side effects or raise body weight dramatically when taken in moderation. Instead of bringing some side effects, this food can be a perfect choice to lower cholesterol level and supply adequate healthy fat on a daily basis. Are pistachios healthy? The initial clues above are the answer.
Healthy fats, vitamin (A and E) and a large amount of antioxidants are the major substances found in pistachio. For women, antioxidant is beneficial on protecting cells and skin. It is also useful to protect them from aging and various diseases. Are pistachios good for you especially to manage the level of cholesterol in your body? Yes, absolutely. The health fats in this nut will keep the arteries healthy. As a result, the high cholesterol levels can be managed very well. Again, it will happen if you don’t take pistachio excessively. 
How much is the ideal intake? One cup is good, and it is enough to supply approximately 700 calories. This also contains about 50 grams of fat. Some of you probably don’t know that pistachio has plenty dietary fiber too. For better advantages, it is probably good to take the unsalted organic one.
Next is about the benefits of pistachios which most people never realize before.
Are pistachios good for you to treat some pain?
You probably say no and assume that nuts and pain have no correlation. In fact, both things have strong relation. Toothache is really painful, and pistachio is the best gift from nature you can use as a great treatment option through the consumption of pistachio powder. However, this is not a good option for you who have pistachio allergy, so consuming this nut will only put your health at risk. If you don’t have any serious problem of adding it into your daily menu, you will never regret to mix with the other ingredients while cooking in the kitchen. The delicious taste of pistachio is irreplaceable, from cakes, ice cream and even the delicious cookies.
Are pistachios healthy enough if compared to the other popular nuts which are considered as the nutritious snacks?
The good benefits of pistachio can be fairly compared with walnut which is popular as the healthiest nut. Pistachio and the other nuts have truly amazing benefits for human health, from promoting weight loss, maintaining heart health, alleviating the symptoms of cancer. In short, pistachio is an amazing source of beneficial substances which promote many good things for someone’s overall well being.

Are pistachios good for you and worthy to be a part of your daily menu?
The answer is obvious: you may take it and enjoy the benefits then.

Pistachios Offer Multiple Benefits, Study Suggests
ScienceDaily (May 20, 2010) — Pistachio nuts, eaten as part of a healthy diet, can increase the levels of antioxidants in the blood of adults with high cholesterol, according to an international team of nutritional scientists.

 "Our previous study showed the benefits of pistachios in lowering lipids and lipoproteins, which are a risk factor for heart disease," said Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished professor of nutrition, Penn State. "This new study shows an additional effect of pistachios so now there are multiple health benefits of eating pistachios."

The researchers note in the May 20 issue of the Journal of Nutrition that "pistachios are high in lutein, beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol relative to other nuts; however, studies of the effects of pistachios on oxidative status are lacking."

 Beta-carotene is the precursor to vitamin A and gamma-tocopherol is a common form of vitamin E. Lutein is found in dark green leafy vegetables and is important in vision and healthy skin. All three compounds are oil soluble vitamins.

Antioxidants are of interest because oxidized low-density lipoproteins (LDL) are implicated in inflammation and plaque buildup inside blood vessels. Antioxidants should prevent LDLs from oxidizing, migrating into the blood vessel walls and causing inflammation.

 "Currently, studies on antioxidants do not show major benefits," said Kris-Etherton. "Maybe we are not studying people long enough. Maybe there is something in the food that travels with the antioxidants. The antioxidant story is very disappointing to the scientific community."

 The reason for the disappointment is that studies on specific antioxidants currently do not show health benefits, but epidemiological studies seem to indicate benefits. Many people feel that we have not figured out antioxidants yet, said Kris-Etherton. If antioxidants are important, then pistachios fit the bill as antioxidant-laden food.

 The researchers conducted a randomized, crossover design, controlled feeding experiment to test the effects of pistachios on antioxidant levels when added to a heart healthy moderate-fat diet. Controlled feeding experiments provide all the food eaten by study subjects for the duration of the study period.

The participants began the study by eating a typical American diet consisting of 35 percent total fat and 11 percent saturated fat for two weeks. They then tested three diets for four weeks each with about a two-week break between each diet. All three diets were variations on the Step I Diet, a cholesterol-lowering diet in general use. The diets included, as a control, a Step I Diet with no pistachios and about 25 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat. The pistachio-enhanced diets were Step I Diets with 10 and 20 percent of the energy supplied by pistachio nuts, respectively. The 10 percent pistachio diet had 30 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat and the 20 percent pistachio diet had 34 percent total fat and 8 percent saturated fat. The actual amounts of pistachios included in each diet were 1.5 ounces and 3 ounces for the 10 and 20 percent diets, respectively.
 Both pistachio diets produced higher blood serum levels of beta-carotene, lutein and gamma-tocopherol than the typical American diet. Compared to the pistachio free Step I Diet, the pistachio-enhanced diets produced greater blood plasma levels of lutein and gamma-tocopherol. After eating both pistachio-enriched diets, the participants had lower oxidized-LDL concentrations in their blood than after the control Step I Diet.

 When the researchers controlled for the change in LDL-cholesterol produced by the pistachio-enhanced diets, increases in beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol were still associated with decreased oxidized-LDL for the 3-ounce pistachio-enhanced diet.

"Our results suggest that a heart-healthy diet including pistachios contributes to a decrease in serum oxidized-LDL levels, in part through cholesterol lowering, and also due to an added benefit of the antioxidants in the pistachios," said Kris-Etherton.

 Other researchers in the study include Sheila West, associate professor of biobehavioral health, Penn State; Sarah Gebauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Md. and Colin D. Kay, lecturer, University of East Anglia.

The Western Pistachio Association supported this work. Partial support also came from the NIH- supported General Clinical Research Center at Penn State.


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