Pistachios (Pista) – Health Benefits, How To Select, How To Store
What Are Pistachios (Pista)?
Pistachios (Pista) are one of the oldest edible nuts and are commonly used all over the world. They are native to Asia, particularly in Iran and Iraq. Archaeological evidence dates the association of pistachios and man as early as 6,000 BC. Today, apart from Iran, Iraq, and Syria, pistachios are being produced in many countries such as the United States, Australia, Turkey, and China, among others.
A pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. They are drupe, where the fruit has a large seed in the center. This seed is edible. The nuts of pistachio are not seasonal and are available all year long. They can be bought from here.
Eating shelled pistachios will help you to know how much you have consumed by counting the leftover shells.
Pistachios (Pista) Health Benefits
Improves Heart Health
They are heart-friendly nuts. Regular pistachio consumption can decrease the levels of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. The antioxidants, phytosterols, and unsaturated fatty acids are great for promoting a healthy heart.
They are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that help reduce high blood pressure. It also contains phytosterols that reduces the absorption of dietary cholesterol from different foods, further keeping the heart healthy.
Promotes Weight Management
Pistachios, with their lower calories, high protein, low saturated fat, and high unsaturated fats, are a perfect contender for ideal weight management.
They are high on fiber that keeps you full for longer, further preventing over-eating. The fiber present in them also helps in boosting your metabolism. Moreover, the monounsaturated fats present in pistachios are soluble in nature and hence help in preventing weight gain.
Prevents Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an age related eye disease which slowly reduces the eye vision making adults unable to read and work properly. It makes them unable to recognize people as well. Free radicals attack the cells and damage them resulting in macular degeneration.
Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two anti-oxidants that are found in Pistachios which fight against these free radicals and destroy them preventing the cells from damage and thus preventing macular degeneration.
The high amount of vitamin E present in the pistachios helps in promoting eye health and also in improving your vision. It also contains carotenoids that protect the eyes from macular degeneration and cataract.
Selection and Storage
Pistachios are available today in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. The shell of the nut protects it from physical damage and various infections. On the other hand, salted and sweetened pistachios may not be a good choice because of their high sodium and sugar content. The ideal way is to buy unshelled nuts, as they are in their natural form. They must be stored in airtight containers in cool and dry places so that they can last for many months without going bad.