It seems like every day there’s some new discovery regarding what foods you should or shouldn’t eat. However, one food that’s stood the test of time (literally, as we have evidence it’s been used as a food source since around 7000 BCE) is the humble pistachio. This article talks about the pistachios health benefits and various other great qualities, as well as how you can use them.

Pistachios Health Benefits

The first question you’re likely asking is, “What are the health benefits of pistachios?” The fact is, the pistachios health benefits are so numerous that we can only cover a small amount here. We’ll break down a few of the most important health benefits of pistachios, and outline some that might not be so obvious.

Heart Health

According to the FDA, eating an ounce and a half of tree nuts like pistachios once a day as part of a healthy diet might help lower your risk for heart disease. That same research also provides a link between those who eat tree nuts or consume olive oil regularly (otherwise known as the Mediterranean diet) and lowered bad cholesterol.

Blood Sugar Management

Research suggests that adding pistachios to carb-rich foods (rice, for example) can help regulate your body’s blood glucose levels during digestion. This can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, as well as help diabetics manage their insulin and blood sugar levels.

Weight Management

A single serving of pistachios has only about 160 calories. Replacing snacks high in saturated fats and low in nutrients with pistachios may help with weight loss and weight management. Their high nutritional value and their slow, methodical process for opening and consuming can help curb hunger and provide the benefits normal junk food lacks.

It’s also thought each pistachio may be worth less calories than previously calculated, due to how their fat is metabolized in the body, making them even healthier than we assumed.

Skin Health

Eating pistachios has many positive effects on the skin. By improving circulation and helping to manage insulin production, they can prevent acne forming, especially if eaten with foods high in Vitamin E. Essential oils contained within pistachios can rehydrate your skin as well, and prevent damage from free radicals by acting as an antioxidant.

Pistachios Nutritional Value

Now, we’ll move on to another question: What is the nutritional value of pistachios? This is important to establish, as the pistachios health benefits stem directly from its high nutrient content. Let’s cover some pistachio nutrition facts to show you what you’re consuming when eating pistachios.

Naturally cholesterol and sodium-free, almost all of the 13 grams of fat per serving contained in pistachios are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are easier to break down within the body. As previously discussed, new research suggests these fats may not be fully absorbed during digestion, and will pass through the body, making pistachios naturally low calorie as well.

A serving of pistachios contains:

  • 290 grams of potassium
  • 3 grams of fiber
  • 6 grams of protein
  • several essential vitamins and minerals like thiamin, Vitamin B6, phosphorus, copper, and manganese.

In short, the pistachios health benefits more than warrant the title of “superfood”.

Pistachio Uses

pistachios baklava

Finally, we’ll answer: What are pistachios used for? Well, that’s rather simple. For the most part, pistachios are just eaten as such, but there are many more uses for pistachios besides that. While the pistachios health benefits make simply gobbling them up the most appealing option, refrain as long as you can and explore a few different ideas for what to do with them.

Let’s break down some things you can use them for, besides eating them out of the shell.

Recipes

There are numerous recipes that call for the inclusion of pistachios. Many cooking sites even have lists full of recipes that include pistachios. While there are many new inventions and modifications on classics, none can surpass the classic baklava. Here’s a fun and easy recipe to try, with pistachios providing a great addition in the “mixed nuts” part.

Pistachios Baklava

To make a pistachios baklava yourself, just set an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a 9×13 baking dish before tossing a pound of nuts into a generous teaspoon of cinnamon (if you’re feeling bold, try to improvise with other complimentary spices like cloves or nutmeg, too).

Cut a package of phyllo dough in half and layer two sheets on the bottom of the pan, covering the rest with a damp towel until you’re ready to use them. Brush the sheets with melted butter and add a couple teaspoons of nuts on top, before continuing to layer until you reach the top. Cover everything with sheets of dough.

Cut the baklava four times lengthwise and nine times widthwise to make 36 diamonds, then bake for 50 minutes. Boil a cup of water and white sugar, and add a teaspoon of vanilla and lemon zest and half a cup of honey for the syrup. Brush it over the golden pastry as soon as it comes out of the oven, and wait for it cool and harden.

Gardening

Even your plants can benefit from pistachios. Well, their shells, anyway. Rather than simply tossing them in the trash, there’s plenty you can do with pistachio shells to help improve the health of your lawn.

One technique is to break down the shells into jagged bits and sprinkle them around the base of your plants. This deters pests like slugs from eating everything, as well as creates compost over time, as the shell fragments naturally break down.

They can also be used on potted plants to help with drainage, when placed underneath the soil. It’s important to remove any salt before attempting these options, though, as salt can harm or kill your plants.

As we’ve demonstrated, pistachios health benefits are matched only by their usefulness and versatility in the kitchen and beyond. Whether it be in cooking, gardening, eating raw, or any number of creative uses for this spectacular green nuts, pistachios are a great food to have around the house. Unless you’re allergic to them, we’d recommend keeping at least a bag with you for all occasions.

Remember to leave a comment down below with your thoughts on pistachios. What’s your favorite use for pistachios?