Pistachios are a truly Spartan food. After all, they come armored in a tough shell. They pack a nutritional punch, too, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that the benefits of pistachios are amazing. Take some time to learn about the benefits of pistachios and try some of our delicious pistachio recipes.
Pistachios for Complete Health
The pistachio is a member of the cashew family. It’s a tree nut that originated in Central Asia and the Middle East, and is now largely produced in California and Mexico by over a dozen first, second, and third generation families.
The benefits of pistachios begin with their high protein content. About 50 small pistachio nuts contain six grams of protein; the only nuts with more protein are peanuts and almonds. What are the other nutritional benefits of pistachios? The U.S. Department of Agriculture says eating those 50 pistachios will give you a good dose of magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, Vitamin B-6 and thiamin.
Another of the benefits of pistachios is their abundance of three hard-to-get antioxidants–phytosterols, y-tocopherol, and xanthophyll carotenoids. The humble pistachio also contains lutein, an antioxidant believed to promote eye health. The heart gets a boost from the benefits of pistachios too through cardiovascular protection.
Here’s what else you’ll find in an ounce (about 50 nuts) of pistachios:
- Calories: 150
- Total Fat: 13g
- Monounsaturated Fat: 7g
- Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.5g
- Cholesterol: 0g
- Sodium: 0g
- Total Carbohydrates: 8g
- Fiber: 3g
- Natural Sugar: 2g
- Protein: 6g
- 10% or more of Thiamine, Vit B6, Phosphorus, Copper, and Manganese
The Benefits of Pistachios at Meal Time
The benefits of pistachios can easily be incorporated into meals and snacks. Here are a few simple ways to integrate pistachios into a healthy diet:
- Add crushed pistachios to your morning eggs for a breakfast that keeps your tank full
- Create a post-training snack of a handful of pistachios, full of manganese, for joint health and protein for muscle repair–excellent side benefit of pistachios
- Change up lunch by adding pistachios to your same old salad
- Boost potassium at dinner with a crumbled pistachio topping over veggies
- Enhance vegan dishes by mixing with quinoa
Two Benefits of Pistachios for Weight Management
Long term success in weight management requires at least two strategies:
1) Eat foods that keep you full
When we are able to stay fuller longer, we are less likely to seek out extra snacks that we don’t need. The healthy fats, protein, and fiber in pistachios work in combination to slow digestion and help you feel full longer–one of the most helpful benefits of pistachios.
2) Portion control awareness
Another strategy often recommended to assist weight management is portion awareness. One way to eat smaller portions is to slow down when eating. Pistachios are often sold in their shell, creating a built-in mechanism that forces you to slow down. Instead of popping a handful, you’re limited to cracking just one at a time. And pistachios are among the lowest calorie nut per serving, so enjoy the benefits of pistachios guilt-free!
A Take Anywhere Recovery Snack
Work, family, training for races, travel. Life is busy. You hardly have time to do your proper post-workout stretches before you head to your next task. An on-the-go recovery snack is crucial for helping the body recover, and the benefits of pistachios get the job done. And since Spartans don’t typically belong to fancy gyms with smoothie bars, you probably need something that’s durable in your gym bag too.
Here’s how pistachios’ nutrients help you post-workout:
- B Vitamins to help convert food to fuel
- Protein to support muscle repair
- Iron for blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles
- Phosphorus for bone health
- Manganese for joint support
So train like a Spartan with the benefits of pistachios to spur you on to success.
St Patty’s Pistachio Smoothie
- 2 bags of green tea
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and coarsely chopped
- 1 ripe kiwi, peeled and cut into pieces
- ¼ cup crushed pineapple
1.Prepare extra strong tea by heating eight ounces of water to a boil and steeping two tea bags.
2.Discard tea bags and steep for 5-8 minutes; cool. Place tea, pistachios and fruit in a blender and puree.
Option: Once pureed, add coconut milk until smoothie reaches desired thickness, a tasty way to further enhance the benefits of pistachios in your smoothie!
- 6 Eggs
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- One-half red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- One- half green bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 Tomato, sliced
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Beat eggs and set aside
- Oil a 9 inch quiche pan or round shallow baking dish
- Arrange bell peppers and tomato in dish
- Bake uncovered in 350° F oven for 9 minutes
- Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and onion powder then pour eggs over and sprinkle with pistachios
- Reduce oven to 300° F. Return quiche to oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes longer or until center is set and sides are puffy and golden.
Pistachio Fuel Bites–The Benefits of Pistachios In a Small Package
- 12 Medjool dates, pits removed
- 7 oz. almonds
- ½ orange, juice only
- 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2.5 oz. pistachios, finely chopped
- Place all the ingredients except pistachios in a food processor. (Tip: Let dates sit in a bowl of warm water for 1 hour to soften prior to processing)
- Pulse on high speed until the ingredients come together
- Form mixture into 1” balls and roll them in the chopped pistachios
- Allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Can be stored in the freezer.
Vegan Pistachio Pesto & Quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked Quinoa
- 2 cups basil, packed
- 1/2 cup pistachios
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, rinsed and drained, chopped
- 2 cups of your favorite leafy greens
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- The pesto: Place basil, pistachios, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend until mostly smooth, but leave some chunks for a nice texture.
- Stir desired amount of pesto into quinoa, add chopped tomato, olives, and artichoke hearts and serve on top of greens.
Serve this at dinner and enjoy the benefits of pistachios with friends!
Shredded Veggie Slaw with Chopped Pistachio
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup nonfat plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small red cabbage (shredded)
- 1 red onion (very thinly sliced)
- 2 carrots (grated)
- 2 tablespoons pistachios (roughly chopped)
- Whisk mayo, yogurt, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl
- Add prepared cabbage, onion, and carrots and mix until well combined. Chill for 30 minutes
- Stir one more time before serving. Top with pistachios
Suggested serving: Works great on its own or served in a wrap
Pistachio Turkey Balls
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ½ pound mushrooms, finely diced (adds delicious moisture to the lean turkey)
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- ⅓ cup pistachios, chopped
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 Egg, beaten
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (basically oregano, basil, and parsley)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking tray with foil and spray with cooking spray
- Place the mushrooms in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until finely chopped or chop by hand
- In a skillet over medium heat cook chopped mushrooms until brown and most moisture evaporated (3-5 minutes). Set aside to cool
- In a large bowl combine cooled mushrooms, turkey, seasoning, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg; mix all ingredients until incorporated. Shape mixture balls about the size of a golf ball. Place 1 inch apart on pan
- Bake 20-25 minutes or until meatballs reach 165°F, are cooked through and center is no longer pink.
Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- 2 salmon fillets (approx. 4-6 oz. each ,skin on) Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp honey
- ¼ cup pistachio nuts, shelled, chopped
- 2 Tbsp panko bread crumbs
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375F
- Place salmon on a foil (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard and honey. Spoon mixture and spread evenly over top of each salmon fillet
- Coarsely chop pistachios and combine with panko and olive oil. Spread pistachio mixture on top of salmon, pressing lightly into salmon
- Bake salmon until through and pistachios are golden brown, approx. 15-20 min
So enjoy the benefits of pistachios at every meal!