Pistachios, considered “smiling pistachios” in Iran or “happy nuts” in China, have insinuated into the heart-healthy diet since research promulgated their nutritional benefits. With a lineage winding back to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern lands, pistachios  have nested in the human diet for 9,000 years. This unique nut arrived in the U.S. a scant four decades prior. Nearly 100% of its domestic production now occurs within the fertile lands of California.

According to The International Tree Nut Council Nutrition Research & Education Foundation (INC NREF), pistachios’ singular purple-green anatomies come clothed in their own cracked capsules, allowing producers to roast and salt these buttery nuts in their casings. Pistachios in their multeity do not discriminate between sweet and savory dishes and, therefore, comfortably reside in desserts and dinners. The International Fruit & Nut Database (INC) further conveys that pistachios are brimming with nutrients essential to human diets including protein and fiber. Pistachios, when compared with other nuts, contain the highest levels of potassium, γ-tocopherol (predominant source of Vitamin E), vitamin K, phytosterols, and xanthophyll carotenoids (antioxidants).

Phytosterols or plant-produced sterols are one of the main health producing benefits within pistachios and are attributed to cholesterol balancing effects in the body. Similar to cholesterol, phytosterols sustain the integrity of each cell membrane, facilitate cell communication, and aid in synthesis of sex hormones and bile acids. To derail high cholesterol that can lead to heart disease, phytosterols prompt cholesterol excretion. These sterols also interfere with cholesterol synthesis and compete for cholesterol receptor sites on the intestinal wall. Simply stated, phytosterols replace cholesterol by mimicking its interactions within the body and lead to a reduced levels of the heart-damaging cholesterol.

With the extensive health benefits, this diminutive nut ends up being a cauldron of nutriment. Pistachios carry the capacity to stymie inflammation of the body, the ability to repair damaged cells, and the potentiality to heal the body when it is injured. These happy nuts are considered to be suitable weight stabilizing or weight reducing snacks, because their contents easily and completely satiate the appetite while also being lower in calories and fat. Their capacity to reduce weight has purportedly been wrapped in the principle known as the “pistachio principle”. This principle indicates  that by being required to remove the pistachios from their shells in order to eat them, people naturally reduce the amount of nuts they consume.

In conclusion, when pistachios are moderately incorporated into a balanced diet, they have an unlimited ability to heal and sustain the body. Specifically, by being able to balance weight, appetite, and cholesterol, pistachios are power-packed with the nutrient components that can lead to a healthy heart. Simply by noshing on a small handful of pistachios, we can all put a smile on our lips and our hearts.
*Top pistachio image from Wilderness Poets
*Second pistachio image from Free Great Picture