Pistachios are one of the world’s most adored nuts. In Southern Italy, you’ll find pistachios flavouring pasta dishes and tarts. Travel eastward to the Levant to discover pistachios bound with honey, inside sickly-sweet baklava, and adding crunch to rice pilaf.
As is the case with many ingredients widely used across the Mediterranean – their chefs are onto something. Pistachios are full to the brim with vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B6.1 Vitamin B6 helps oxygenate the blood, among other things.2
In this article, we’ll break down the 101 of pistachios. We’ll let you know all the good things about this tasty nut, and warn of any risks associated with consumption.
Benefits of pistachios
Scientific studies have linked pistachios to a wide variety of benefits for health and wellness, including:
Better heart health
One scientific study found that when those on a healthy diet begin to eat pistachios regularly, their cholesterol levels improve.3
Improved eye health
Those who eat pistachios enjoy higher lutein levels in the blood than non-pistachio eaters.4 Lutein is an antioxidant strongly associated with good eye health.5,6
Supports healthy blood flow
Pistachios are jam-packed full of amino acids, including L-arginine.7 L-arginine promotes healthy blood flow by encouraging blood vessels to dilate.8
Lower blood sugar spikes
After eating, frequent blood sugar spikes are associated with a wide range of adverse health outcomes.9 Eating pistachios has been shown to reduce blood sugar response to carbohydrates.10,11
Pistachio nutrition profile
Pistachios contain a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including12:
Just one portion of pistachios provides 37% of your daily intake of Vitamin B6, associated with enhanced metabolism and improved cognitive function.
Potential risks of pistachios
Raw pistachios are a healthy snack, but you should be cautious about eating them roasted with salt. Overeating salt is associated with poor health outcomes and has a significantly negative impact on the heart.
If you’re allergic to pistachios, you should avoid eating them in all circumstances because consumption can cause bloating, irritation, and, in extreme cases, anaphylactic shock. Those with a cashew nut allergy are almost always allergic to pistachios and should avoid them too.13
Last updated: 2 March 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal
- Joined Holland & Barrett: April 2019
- Qualifications: Masters Degree in Toxicology, BSc Hons in Medical Biochemistry
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.
Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines.
In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
Author: Bhupesh Panchal