With more and more people in the US being diagnosed with diabetes each year, it’s important for us to take steps to keep our blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Not only that, but our blood sugar affects our hormonal, cardiovascular, and metabolic health (just to name a few) — which can also affect our weight! All in all, taking precautions is a good way to lower your risk of serious health conditions — and eating pistachios can do the trick.
If you’ve cracked a pistachio shell in half to get to the salty nut inside, you know they are one of the most delicious nuts out there. But they aren’t just fun to eat, they’re also loaded with health-boosting nutrients.
Pistachios come from the Pistacia vera tree, which is native to the Middle East and Central Asia. The tiny green nut is packed with healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and protein that your body needs to function.
Antioxidants are known for benefiting heart health, and pistachios are packed with them. Studies have shown that pistachios help lower blood cholesterol levels and improve blood pressure — factors that heavily influence heart disease risk. One review of studies concluded that up to 67 percent of studies on pistachios showed that eating the nut lowered “bad” LDL cholesterol and increased “good” HDL cholesterol.
In addition to being good for your heart, pistachios have shown to help balance blood sugar because of their protein, fiber, and fat content. One study found that when a serving of one ounce of pistachios per day was added to a carb-rich diet, healthy subjects’ blood sugar response after a meal was reduced by as much as 20 to 30 percent. Another study of people with type 2 diabetes showed that eating around an ounce of pistachios twice per day resulted in a nine percent reduction in fasting blood sugar after eating. What’s more, pistachios are rich in carotenoids and phenolic compounds — nutrients that have shown to significantly aid blood sugar control.
Since pistachios are high in fiber, they’re also considered a gut-healing superfood and can help regulate digestion and even aid weight loss. In fact, eating pistachios has been associated with better gut health because they cause an increase in “good bacteria” in the intestines. And even though they contain a considerable amount of calories (a whopping 170 calories per ¼ cup), the fiber and protein in pistachios help to increase satiety and decrease hunger. Research shows that eating pistachios leads to more weight loss, too. In one study, subjects who ate about one ounce of pistachios daily had twice the body mass reduction compared to a group eating the same amount of pretzels. Another study over of subjects with excess weight showed that those who ate pistachios lost over a half-an-inch more around their waistlines than subjects who did not eat pistachios in 24 weeks.
With all that being said, you probably want to start eating pistachios every day. Keep in mind, the serving for most of the studies mentioned was one ounce per day which is about 49 nuts. Whether you’re trying to lose a few pounds or keep yourself healthy with good blood sugar and cholesterol levels, eating a few pistachios is a delicious and easy way to do it. You can buy pistachios at your local health food store or online. We love these from Wonderful Pistachios ($6.99, Amazon).
Speaking of pistachios, did you know that eating any type of nut was associated with better brain function? Read more about it, here!