Globally, pistachio is the connoisseur’s choice, offering not just a relishing taste but exceptional benefits. The nutrient powerhouse delivers antioxidants, fiber and proteins that make the taste more appealing and beneficial to health. The tree nuts come with a unique blend of taste and aroma, that make it a much sought-after ingredient to add in various preparations. As a result of the unmistakable and sometimes irresistible appeal, the urge to overeat the tree nuts is a possibility which could trigger pistachio benefits and side effects. This compilation of possible adverse  effects in certain circumstances will help educate and prevent undesirable outcomes.

Why are pistachios a smashing hit? 

Pistachios are in demand for the amazing range of health benefits that the tree nuts offer. Consumed across geographical locations from as early as 6750 BC, the tree nuts have not lost popularity. Here are a few chronicled benefits from pistachio consumption, that will help understand its popularity in part. The green and purple color on the tree nuts are proof that pistachios are an abundant source of antioxidants.

Pistachios are a nutrient powerhouse

Food products that deliver all round nutrition are always the most sought after, and this makes pistachios hugely popular. With 150 calories, 5 or more gms proteins, 12 gms of fat, and 3 gms of fiber, pistachios contain most of commonly required nutrition. Additionally, the tree nuts also deliver carbohydrates, thiamine, vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and sugar. The combination of all these nutrients make the tree nuts a smashing hit.

Prevents age related health conditions with antioxidants

The anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants make the tree nuts helpful in warding off or delaying the onset of health conditions that are linked to advancing age. This is attributed to the y-tocopherol, xanthophyll carotenoids and phytosterols present in the tree nuts. When compared with other nuts, pistachios contain higher levels of the above nutrients, and this makes it a better choice. The distinct properties of antioxidants help patients lessen the risk of ailments that are linked to cell damage.

Prevents macular degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition that also afflicts individuals with advancing age. The presence of lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants help in preventing this condition and improves vision health. Cataract formation is another condition that can be prevented through consumption of pistachios. However, this needs to be in moderation and excessive intake is not advisable for the elderly.

Helps improve gut health

Digestive health and gut health is linked to the amount of fiber dietary intake. Pistachios contain the right amount of fibers that help improve digestive health and gut health. Increased motility helps keep the system  functioning smoothly. This helps prevent constipation, while countering the effects of bad bacteria through support to good bacteria from the prebiotics in pistachios.

Improves cardiovascular health 

The highlight of pistachios is the effect on cardiovascular health. This is brought about through a reduction in blood pressure levels and cholesterol levels. The impact on systolic pressure and diastolic pressure on individuals free from diabetes helps offer enhanced protection from cardiovascular events. The impact on cardiovascular health and moderate reduction in cholesterol and blood pressure levels help make the tree nuts a part of certain diets.

Reduction in body mass index

Globally, fitness freaks and individuals grappling with overweight issues are constantly looking for means to help achieve effective weight management, through diet and lifestyle modifications. Pistachios offer additional impetus to the efforts from the protein and fiber content. The number of calories from pistachios, the full feeling and the nutrients in the tree nuts help individuals with good dietary options.

Protein rich source for vegetarians

Vegetarians often find themselves looking for the right source of proteins, as most of the best or abundant sources of proteins are no vegetarian. While there are many choices of vegetarian sources for protein, there are probable downsides, such as the need to consume heavy quantities for the right intake. This may make certain products less appealing. However, pistachios are different, with almost 20% of each nut comprising proteins, making it one of the best vegetarian sources. To add to the protein rich source, the combination of fiber content with the amino acids make it a superior option.

Can pistachios result in adverse or undesirable effects?

The possibility of adverse or undesirable effects cannot be ruled out in any product, and pistachios are no different. This is primarily because of over consumption, either due to the relishing nature of the nuts or due to the attempt to get more benefits from additional servings. The actual outcomes may differ from person t person and may not necessarily be uniform. Certain individuals may experience some form of allergies to nuts, and some may experience some effects, while others may not experience any effects whatsoever. Here is a look at the adverse effects part of this compilation of pistachio benefits and side effects.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Pistachios are known for the rich fiber content. The benefits of fiber in the tree nuts have been listed out in detail earlier. However, there is a downside to high intake of fiber content. There is a possibility of irritable bowel syndrome, cramps in the stomach and malabsorption when the amount of fiber is more than the desired or safe levels.

Impact on weight

As pistachios come with high calorie value, the intake needs to be restricted to jut the right amount. When taken in higher amounts, there is a possibility of the individual’s weight management program getting affected. Greater control needs to be exercised on the number of pistachios taken daily, so as to prevent undesirable effects.

Preparation methods that can cause cancer

 

Pistachios are preferred roasted, as this gives the nuts the distinct taste and aroma. It is also used to prevent possible salmonella poisoning. However, there is a downside to this preparation method, as this results in accumulation of acrylamides, which are known to be cancer causing chemicals. Pistachios when roasted, or otherwise, are best consumed in moderate quantities to prevent the possibility of adverse effects. High temperature preparation methods of certain products rich in amino acids and sugar result in formation of acrylamides.

 

Allergic reactions to substances

 

Individuals with a history of allergic reactions to certain substances may experience unwanted effects. The presence of Fructan may be responsible for allergic reactions. This may affect only a small percentage of users, with varying outcomes and effects. Hospitalization is rare but cannot be ruled out among a very small section of users with allergies.

 

High blood pressure

 

High blood pressure is another possible reaction or outcome that is attributed to the method of preparation. Salted and roasted pistachios are considered a delicacy and this contributes to the possibility of increased blood pressure levels. Additionally, roasted nuts are generally consumed along with alcohol, and this combination may contribute to elevated blood pressure levels.

 

Bloating

 

The high calorie content in pistachios may cause indigestion, especially when combined with other food products or ingredients with high calorie value. A bloated feeling is a possibility in such situations and this can be controlled with moderate consumption of the nuts.

 

Not recommended for women in certain stages of pregnancy

 

Pistachios are loaded with nutrients, including manganese in high levels. When consumed in quantities that pile up the manganese levels, pistachios may trigger effects that may cause discomfort; such as cramps, and headaches. Neurological changes are also a possibility if the manganese levels are extremely high. This may have an impact on women in certain stages of pregnancy and may also have an impact on nursing mothers.

 

Kidney problems

 

There is a possibility of formation of kidney stones in patients who have impaired kidney health. The removal of potassium is one of the essential functions of the kidneys and the inability to remove the potassium may result in the formation of kidney stones. This condition will not typically occur in individuals with healthy kidneys, but is a possibility with the aged and patients with renal impairment.

 

Improper harvesting methods can affect the quality

 

Pistachios that are not harvested using the right methods can have an unhealthy impact. There is a possibility of the formation of Aflatoxin in the pistachios, and this cancerous mold can sometimes result in serious consequences.

 

Mythos about pistachios that affect consumption

 

Myths about pistachio benefits and side effects propagated through digital channels have affected consumption patterns. The most common myth about the tree nuts is the belief that the nuts are high in sodium content. The nuts do not have high sodium content, but the manner of preparation causes the nuts to end up with high sodium content. Roasted and salted pistachios are a delicacy, but this method of preparation results in increased sodium content.  The second most common myth is that pistachios contribute to weight gain. This an erroneous and incorrect assumption. While it is true that the calorie value of pistachios are high, moderate consumption will not result in increased weight.

 

On the contrary, pistachios can be an effective choice in holistic weight management programs. The possibility of increase in weight arises only when the nuts are consumed in high quantities. Pistachios do have an effect on appetite if consumed in high quantities, as the fiber content, combined with the proteins can have a filling effect. This can be considered a positive effect for individuals on weight management programs. Individuals who do not have the need to reduce or manage weight, can eat moderately to prevent any possible weight loss.

 

Red pistachios are often passed off as high quality or superior grade pistachios. This is a misleading practice among retailers. Pistachios are not red in color naturally, but the color is added through dyes to make the nuts attractive. This is also passed off with false claims of superior quality. I tis best to avoid red-colored pistachios.

 

Another common myth is that slated pistachios do not extend health benefits. The salted flavor or roasting process is only related to the taste and will not have any effect on the health benefits. Therefore, the claim that salting or roasting will rob the nuts of health benefits is false. The only precaution that needs to be observed is to ensure that consumption is in moderate quantities.

 

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