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Unveiling the Nutritional Value of Pistachios on this World Hypertension Day

California grown American pistachio, known for their delightful taste and satisfying crunch, are not just a treat for the palate but also a powerhouse of nutrition. Emerging from the seeds of the Pistacia vera tree, these emerald gems are packed with healthy fats, protein, fiber, and antioxidants, making them a versatile ingredient that can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. On this World Hypertension Day, American Pistachio Growers (APG) along with Dr. Varun Katyal, Nutritionist and health expert elaborates the role of pistachios in reducing hypertension along with additional health benefits.

Dr. Varun Katyal, a Nutritionist & Health Expert, explains, “Pistachio nuts contain fiber and substantial amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, all associated with maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, research indicates that consuming pistachios, particularly in comparison to other nuts, leads to reduced blood pressure. Several studies have investigated the impact of pistachio consumption on various heart health risk factors.”

Numerous studies have looked at the effects of eating pistachios on various risk factors for heart health. These studies suggest that eating pistachios daily (one to three ounces or as 10%-20% of calories) may help to improve heart health in five ways:

  • Lowering total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and non-HDL cholesterol
  • Increasing antioxidants in the blood and decreasing oxidized-LDL
  • Decreasing small dense LDL and increasing phytosterols levels in the blood
  • Providing beneficial anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Reducing acute stress by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and peripheral vascular responses.

Here are some additional and important health benefits associated with including pistachios in your diet:

  • High In Antioxidants: American pistachios have many different forms of antioxidants, including vitamin E, polyphenols and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. The antioxidant capacity of pistachios rivals that of foods most commonly thought of as high in antioxidants, including blueberries, pomegranates and red wine.
  • Source Of Complete Protein: Researchers recently looked at the protein quality of American-grown pistachios and found that it qualifies as a complete protein. Pistachios contain all nine essential amino acids needed for growth and development for those ages five and older and are one of the few plant-based sources of complete protein.
  • Weight Management: American pistachios contain healthy fat and are a good source of fiber. Research suggests that people on a weight loss plan can eat pistachios as a calorie-controlled snack and still lose weight. Additionally, a PREDIMED cross-sectional study on over 7,000 people found that those who ate more than three servings of nuts per week, including pistachios, had a lower incidence of obesity. Recent studies have also shown that snacking on pistachios does not lead to weight gain and instead results in an increase in some key nutrient intakes.
  • Promotes Heart Health: Scientific evidence suggests that integrating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, including pistachios, into a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may potentially reduce the risk of heart disease. Numerous studies examining pistachios’ impact on heart health suggest that daily consumption (1 – 3 ounces) may mitigate risk factors associated with heart disease, such as high blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
  • Diabetes: Research has shown that women with prediabetes and gestational diabetes had a lower increase in blood sugar after eating pistachios when compared to eating whole wheat bread. A research review found that 50-57 grams of pistachios daily for 1-4 months may lead to improved fasting glucose, fasting insulin and insulin resistance.
  • Heart Health: Scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may lower the risk of heart disease. Numerous studies have looked at the effect of pistachios on heart health and found that eating pistachios daily (1 – 3 ounces) may help to reduce risk factors for heart disease, including blood pressure and arterial stiffness.
  • Sports Nutrition: Research suggests that pistachios may reduce delayed onset muscle soreness while maintaining muscle strength.
  • Anti-Microbial Properties: In vitro research has shown that pistachio extracts have a strong antibacterial and antiviral activity.

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