Are Pistachios Good For You?

Are Pistachios good for you? It’s easy to assume anything that’s a nut has some kind of health benefit, but do these little red, green and brown delights actually have a positive impact on your body? We scoured the latest research for answers, and what we learned might surprise you. These nuts really pack a health punch!

What Are Pistachios?

Pistachios are edible seeds that come from the Asian tree known as the Pistachio, but is produced most in Iran and the United States, which together accounted for over 80% of the world’s population of pistachios as of 2013.[1] As a food item, pistachios can be traced back as early as late 6,000 BCE and have become a fixture in agriculture across the world.

Once a pistachio tree is planted, it can take up to a decade before a significant amount of crop is ready to harvest, however once it begins producing yields it continues to do so thereafter. Pistachio trees, and therefore pistachios themselves, are best grown in hot, dry summers where the heat helps to produce quality nuts.

Are Pistachios Good For You?

Pistachios are healthy because they are a nutrient-dense nut that is chocked full of essential minerals and protein.[2] While pistachios do have a high amount of fat content-per-ounce, it is benefited by being dense in protein and fibers that fill you up faster than many other foods, allowing you to eat less and be comfortable with your meal. And in fact, only a small percentage of the fats in pistachios are the “bad” unsaturated kind that you’ll most often associate with weigh gain and heart disease. According to some studies, despite their high calorie count a pistachio-filled diet had no effects on weight gain. [3]

As it happens, there is evidence to suggest that pistachios are healthy for your heart, too, as they can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and spur on a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol.[4] Pistachios are also high in antioxidants, among other things, and clinical trials suggest that everything from diabetes, cancer and hypertension can be beneficially impacted by consumption of pistachios. [5]

Which Pistachios Should You Get?

It would be great if we lived in a world where everything were as healthy for you in stores as it is fresh off the farm, but the reality is mass production of products has come with it a necessity to protect yields and a pressure to increase sales. As with any food item, if you want the healthiest pistachios you have to do your due diligence to make sure you aren’t buying a product that has been diluted of its nutrients or relentlessly sprayed with harmful chemicals. That is exactly why I’ve put together a short list of two of my favorite choices for pistachios if you want a healthy, delicious snack that isn’t going to drown you in artificial enhancements.

An Unsalted, Organic & Delicious Choice
One of the major drawbacks to eating nuts is the obsessive amount of salting that takes place by producers, however thankfully there are some great unsalted options out there. One of the best I know of are Fiddyment Farms’ Gourmet Unsalted In-Shell Pistachios. Grown in California, non-GMO and completely unsalted, these are an excellent option for those that want the healthiest pistachios without all the unhealthy additives.

The Fiddyment Farms pistachios come in a 3 lbs resealable bag and are roasted in all natural ingredients. While three whole pounds of pistachios is quite a lot for anyone, the amount of money it will save you to buy in bulk is definitely worth it. Pistachios, when sealed properly and kept at proper room temperature, can last months.

A Salted Option if You Just Can’t Resist
It would be ideal if we could enjoy everything unsalted, but for some people that’s a health benefit that’s too far outside their comfort zone. If you’re the type that needs at least a little bit of salt on your pistachios, then I recommend you try Kirkland’s In-Shell Lightly Salted Pistachios. They’re not nearly as salted as other pistachios you’ll find, and they retain many of the great health benefits that the Fiddyment Farms brand has.

Like the previous recommendation, I’m suggesting the 3-pound bag because I think it’s the perfect size for online orders. You really don’t want to get a few ounces through the mail, only to find out a few days later you need a refill and have to send out for more. With a 3-pound bag, you have plenty to last you a while, while also giving you enough time to restock just as you’re starting to run out. If I’m not mistaken, I do believe Kirkland sells 5-pound bags as well, but I’d say stick with the 3-pound until you know for sure they’re the right pistachios for you.

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