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The Pistachio Diet - Why We Should Eat A Handful Of Pistachios A Day

Updated on May 17, 2015

Pistachios In the Shell and Out

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Getting Skinny on Pistachios

Researchers have discovered that eating pistachios provides fiber, protein, potassium, and may improve blood pressure.

Here are 7 health benefits:

1. Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free and sodium-free food that contains 13 grams of fat per serving, the majority of which (11.5 grams) comes from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fat contributes only 1.5 grams per serving.

2. One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (290mg, 8% of the Daily Value) as a half of a large banana (250 mg, 7% of the Daily Value) and 3 grams of filling fiber.

3. Removing nuts from their shell help you eat slower and manage how many nuts you can eat, rather than grabbing a handful of nuts out of their shell and plopping them in your mouth.

4. People that ate pistachios lost weight and improved their triglyceride levels (blood fats).

5. Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie nuts with only 160 calories in a single ounce, which is about 49 pistachios.

6. The pistachio nut is filled with fiber and protein which helps consumers feel full and satisfied.

7. A study showed that those who eat pistachios have seen improved measures of cardiovascular health, compared to those who didn't eat pistachios. Pistachios promote healthy hearts, especially in people prone to type 2 diabetes.

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Where do Pistachios Grow?

In the United States, pistachios grow on trees in California. In fact 99% of the commercial production of the American pistachios are grown in California around the Fresno region. The rest grow in New Mexico and Arizona.

Will the drought in California affect the pistachio tree? It may, however grower Sharon Roden told me, "The pistachio tree is hardier than an almond tree. Less water means smaller nuts.”

She added, "Pistachio trees are relatively drought-tolerant compared to many other agricultural crops." APG growers employ the most advanced technologies in direct irrigation, ensuring every drop is used wisely while properly feeding the tree for maximum quality.

The first commercial crop was harvested in 1976. The total production is more than 475 million pounds in 2013 with more than 950 pistachio growers in the United States. Now the U.S. exports to countries around the globe.

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Who Eats Pistachios

The United States is the largest consumer, followed by China and then a collection of countries in the European Union.

Bacon Terrine with Pistachios by Nancy Silverton

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The Multi-colored Nut

A pistachio is not brown like an almond or walnut, it offers a multitude of colors and health benefits.

The yellow hues may protect humans from oxidative damage from free radicals.

The pistachio nut has a deep purple in the skin that may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The yellow and green has luteins and zeaxanthins. There is emerging studies that they can protect eyes from sun damage and some types of macular degeneration.

Nancy Silverton Mozza Pizza with Pistachios

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Jame Beard Award Winning Chef Nancy Silverton Loves Cooking With Pistachios

I had lunch at Silverton's Chi Spacca in Los Angeles next to her award winning Mozza2Go. She along with television super chef Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich own Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza in LA, Newport Beach, San Diego and Singapore.

Silverton made a Pistachio pizza with panna, red onion, Castelvetrano olives, thyme and a dusting of fennel pollen. The flavor profile offered a umami savoriness, with a sweetness from the onions and saltiness from the olives. The pistachios gave this pizza a layer of crunchy texture.

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Curry-Dusted Pistachios By: Chef Grant MacPherson

  • 1 pound American pistachios, in-shell
  • ½ ounce Yellow curry powder
  • 4 tablespoons of Canola oil
  • a pinch or two sea salt

Pistachio Recipes

  1. Instructions: Warm canola oil in a roasting pan or wok on your stove top, add pistachios and lightly toast. Add the curry powder and continue toasting; season with sea salt to taste. Remove from heat and serve warm in the vessel of your choice.
  2. For more pistachio recipes- go to http://www.americanpistachios.org/recipes-and-snacking

Cook Time

Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 10 min
Yields: Serves two four to six people

A Serving of Pistachios

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 49 roasted/salted
Calories 160
Calories from Fat117
% Daily Value *
Fat 13 g20%
Saturated fat 1 g5%
Unsaturated fat 11 g
Carbohydrates 8 g3%
Sugar 2 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 6 g12%
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 120 mg5%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
4 stars from 1 rating of Enhanced Pistachios

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