Here, a look at the big health benefits of the little pistachio nut.
Pistachios originated in the Middle East and are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, with evidence suggesting that people have enjoyed them from as early as 7,000 B.C.
Today, in China, the pistachio is often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year as a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune — and perhaps for good reason. While enjoyed around the world for their crunchy, delicious taste, studies continue to show the big health benefits of the little pistachio nut.
Pistachios are a nutritional powerhouse, containing more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients including thiamin, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin B6.
And more good news for pistachio fans: studies have shown they deliver a number of health benefits including help with managing diabetes and reducing risk for some cancers and cardiovascular disease.
Lung Cancer. A daily dose of pistachios may help reduce the risk of lung and other cancers, according to data presented at the American Association for Cancer Research Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference. This is because pistachios are a good source of gamma-tocopherol (a form of vitamin E), which is thought to help in the fight against cancer
“It is known that vitamin E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer. Higher intakes of gamma-tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin E, may reduce the risk of lung cancer,” said Ladia M. Hernandez, senior research dietitian at the University of Texas.
Go just a little nuts
While pistachios may contain fewer calories than some other nuts, portion control is still important to avoid weight gain. (Particularly since they’re so dangerously addictive!) Looking for some ways to add healthy ‘nut fat’ to your diet without going overboard? Try these ideas:
–Top hot or cold cereal with a handful of nuts.
— Sprinkle a few crushed pistachios on top of yogurt, low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.
— Slice and add to steamed vegetables, chicken, pasta or salads.
— Add nuts to bread, pancakes, waffles, or muffins.