Islamabad: Who knew that simple dietary additions, such as adding pistachios, in Pakistan, can lead to multiple health benefits? With a low glycemic index, pistachios are naturally cholesterol-free and a source of protein, fibre and antioxidants. Whether sprinkled over homemade kheer or on your mother’s special halwa, pistachios are also a taste-elevator. One serving contains about 150 calories and several vitamins, including potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B6, thiamine, copper and manganese and is also a whopping six grams of protein.
The fat content is 90% unsaturated fat. This one serving also gives you a good source of fibre, which helps your gut produce healthy bacteria. Pistas (Pistachios) are also high in beta-carotene and the compound oleanolic acid, both of which are potent anti-inflammatory compounds, and phytosterols, a type of anti-inflammatory plant hormone associated with improved immune function.
Super Health Benefits of Pistachios
As compiled from the Men’s Health magazine and livestrong.com, here is why pistachios are ‘pista-cular’.
Reduce the risk of heart disease:
Our green friend has been shown to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase HDL (good) cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protect blood vessels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Next time you crave something sweet, do your heart a favour and opt for pasta baklava in moderation, of course.
Prevent the onset of diabetes:
Eating pistachios may help in preventing Type 2 diabetes. One cup of pistachios contains 60 per cent of the recommended daily intake of mineral phosphorous. Since Pakistanis are overly fond of meetha, adding pistachios to the diet can aid glucose tolerance.
Prevent eye-tissue damage:
Pistachios contain two carotenoids named lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not found in most nuts. These function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. They have been linked with a decrease in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairment. Replace your box of butter popcorn with a packet of pistas while watching your favourite television serials minus.
Offer daily defence for skin:
These nuts are a great source of Vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining cell membranes and often recommended for healthy skin. Vitamin E helps in protecting the skin from UV damage, providing daily defence against premature ageing and skin cancer. Be kind to your skin while getting out in Pakistan’s sweltering heat by keeping a packet of pistas in your hand-carry.
Pistachios are rich in fibre, which makes make you feel full. This, in turn, makes you eat less. So, if you are planning to lose those extra pounds before Eidul Azha, plan a trip to the supermarket to stock up on this superfood. If you’re upping your health regimen, skip the pista kulfi and munch on pistachios.
Boosts the Immune System:
Daily consumption of pistachios can help in keeping your immunity levels up. It has high amounts of vitamin B6 which is vital for the immune system to function properly. It also contains antioxidants that may help keep infections at bay; this is done by boosting immunity. You can consume these wonder nuts every day, however, it is important to mix them with other nuts so that you don’t end up adding lots of calories and fats to your day.