Pistachio: the health benefits and how to use it

Pistachio: the beneficial effects on health and tips for integrating this fruit in the diet

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Tasty, healthy and excellent for both sweet and savory recipes: the pistachio is one of the main protagonists of Christmas. An unmissable ingredient in the preparation of panettone and the best traditional desserts, this small green fruit is also a delicious snack, as well as an excellent ally for health. THE pistachios I’m a type of dried fruit much appreciated all over the world.

These small fruits are born from a tree that originates in Middle East and which can reach up to 12 meters in height. L’pistachio tree it was introduced in Europe by the Arabs and today represents an excellence of Made in Italy, especially when it comes to Bronte pistachios, which boast the DOP designation, Protected Designation of Origin.

But how many pistachios can you eat in a day? And how can we include this fruit in our favorite dishes and desserts? In this article we will take a little journey to discover pistachio, we will find out how and where it is grown (Sicily is not the only region to produce this delicacy) and when we should avoid eating it.

The origins of the pistachio

The scientific name of the pistachio is “Pistacia vera“. It is a fruit tree from the Middle East, belonging to the family of Anacardiaceae, of the genus of Pistacia. The tree can reach considerable size and is now grown in Italy, Turkey, Spain and other regions of the Mediterranean, as well as in California.

In particular, in Italy there are two most prized varieties of pistachio, namely the aforementioned variety of Bronte, with the name “Green pistachio from Bronte PDO“And the pistachio of Stigliano, in the province of Matera.

Pistachios grown in the United States, especially Californian ones, are also famous.

The characteristics and nutritional properties

As often happens when we talk about dried fruit, even pistachios represent a small treasure trove of extraordinary nutrients. This fruit is indeed rich in vitamins (especially vitamin E, C, and vitamin A), ferro, manganese, copper, zinc, selenium, potassium and phosphorus.

Does pistachio make you fat?

To answer this question, one must consider i nutritional values. 100 grams of pistachios can provide more than 600 calories (more or less like i sunflower seeds), however we cannot say that this food makes you fat if taken with the right moderation.

Moreover, the magnesium present in this type of dried fruit, together with potassium, help improve blood circulation, while the Omega 3 fatty acids and the fibre they help regulate the blood sugar level, reducing hunger pangs.

Of course, like any other type of dried fruit, pistachios must also be consumed in moderate quantities, preferably in the “natural” version. Keep in mind that the salty pistachios that often accompany aperitifs are too rich in sodium, so they are more harmful to the diet.

What are the benefits of pistachio?

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We have found that pistachios provide numerous beneficial substances for our health, but on balance, what is pistachio good for? Studies and researches conducted all over the world have analyzed the beneficial effects of pistachios, providing interesting information about this particular food. So let’s find out what are the properties that make it so loved.

They improve cardiovascular health

Pistachios contain vitamin E in good quantities, like almonds and walnuts, and this helps protect heart health, especially in smokers. The content of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated also helps in lowering levels bad cholesterol and to keep blood pressure under control.

They help fight diabetes

In people with pre-diabetes, pistachio can help lower blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar levels. insulin. This effect is due to the amount of fiber and the particular composition of the fats contained in the pistachio, which are beneficial for patients at risk of developing diabetes.

They help fight cancer

Research and studies have shown that pistachios are great allies in the fight against certain types of cancers, such as pancreatic and breast cancer. A portion of pistachios per day can therefore have a protective function for men and women.

They help keep the line

A little while ago we asked ourselves if pistachios make you fat and we agreed that, if taken in moderate quantities, the risk of gaining weight is almost nil. In fact, this type of food could even promote weight loss. If associated with a balanced diet and healthy physical activity, pistachio can in fact help maintain a healthy weight, reducing the sense of hunger.

They improve the absorption of iron

Pistachios contain copper, such as pumpkin seeds, pecans and peanuts, so they can also help absorb iron better and keep the risk of developing anemia at bay.

Allies even in pregnancy

The high content of Omega 3, Omega 6 and folic acid makes pistachio a valid ally during pregnancy, both to support the development of the fetus and to protect the health of the expectant mother.

Pistachio: a panacea for skin and hair

And if all these benefits aren’t enough, you should know that pistachios are also a panacea for skin and hair health. Pistachio oil, for example, is widely used to carry out perfumed massages, to moisturize the skin and fight dry skin.

How to use pistachio in cooking?

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But how to use pistachio in cooking and recipes? And how many pistachios can you eat a day? The recommended daily dose is around 30 grams of pistachios without salt. With this small fruit with a thousand beneficial properties, delicious dishes and desserts are prepared. Some are typical of the Italian tradition and Sicilian cuisine, such as pistachio ice cream, often combined with the hazelnut one, or the pistachio panettone, inevitable protagonist of our Christmas evenings with the family.

You could also add pistachio to your dishes, such as fresh ones salads, to excellent crepes or to yours cous cous. You could also prepare a good one pistachio pesto, a good alternative to Genoese pesto with pine nuts to season pasta or pizza.

What are pistachios bad for?

Are there any people who shouldn’t eat this fruit? In general, if you suffer from allergy to dried fruit, it will be better to avoid taking it or seek the advice of your doctor first. Also, if you suffer from obesity or follow a low-calorie diet for health reasons, pistachio may not be the ideal food for you.

If you suffer from high pressure, kidney disorders, ulcers and liver problems, it will also be appropriate to avoid consumption.

Pistachio cultivation

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How is pistachio produced? We have already seen that the pistachio plant is native to the Middle East and that it was then introduced in numerous other countries, including Italy.

In particular, Sicily is one of the major pistachio growing regions. Not only for the favorable climate, but also for the lesser danger of the so-called “return of cold”, Which risk putting a strain on the entire year’s crop.

If you decide to grow pistachio, be sure to plant the tree in a sunny but at the same time sheltered area and protect it during the frost period.

In general, the good news is that thepistachio tree it is very resistant and is able to adapt to all types of terrain. The plant grows well even in the less irrigated ones, but this does not mean that it will need to be watered regularly and in the right quantities if you hope to get a good harvest.

The production of pistachios will begin around the seventh year of the tree’s life and will continue for more than 30 years, if kept in optimal conditions.

If you are interested in the home cultivation of pistachio, you should know instead that the plant can be grown both in the garden and in pots, but keep in mind that if exposed to a too cold climate the plant will not produce fruit and can have a purely decorative purpose.

Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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