Despite the seemingly small size of pistachios, the nuts pack a nutritional punch that very few natural products deliver. In addition to being nutrient dense, pistachios are delicious with a smooth texture, a sweet and earthy flavor. The thin edible wrapper, typical of most nuts helps seal in the flavor and the nutrients of pistachios. The green and purple color of the nuts showcase the rich antioxidants in the nuts. Delivering as much protein as one egg, in one serving, pistachio is an exciting mix of antioxidants, fiber and proteins with an appealing and relishing taste. The appeal of the nuts and the taste are strong reasons for it to be consumed in excess, with the possibility of triggering unwanted outcomes. Here is a look at the possible pistachio benefits and side effects to help users take a balanced approach to nutrition.

Overview of the nutrient powerhouse

Pistachios deliver a blend of aroma, taste and nutrition that is unique for the benefits packed in a small quantity. It is a smashing hit globally and consumed with exotic preparations, including other ingredients to increase the appeal. The nuts come with a rich history, dating back to consumption in 6750 BC. The popularity of the nuts has not waned, but have increased recently with more and more individuals taking to the tree nuts for better nutrition and the incredible effect on taste buds. Here is a compilation of the benefits of the drupe. While it is commonly referred to as a nut, it is technically a drupe, where the fruit is discarded and the seeds are consumed.

Nutrient dense profile

One of the reasons that makes the drupe sought after is the all-round nutrition as can be seen from the profile below:

All the nutrients listed above are essential for a healthy body and mind. Pistachios deliver the required nutrition in a palatable form, that make it easier to consume.

Abundant antioxidants

As outlined earlier, the green and purple hue in pistachios is an indication of the antioxidants and this makes it a powerful way of helping manage age related degenerative conditions. Antioxidants contain anti-inflammatory properties, that help to either delay the onset or keep age related health conditions at bay. Specifically, the tree nuts contain y-tocopherol, xanthophyll carotenoids and phytosterols in higher levels and this is one of the primary reasons for the impressive health benefits. Cell damage occurs due to oxidation and the antioxidants help to ward off the effects to a certain extent.

Fights vision related complications

Advancing age brings various complications, including effects on vision. Pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants that are responsible for managing the effects of macular degeneration. Vision related complications include cataract formation and pistachios help in managing this issue to a certain extent. A note of caution is not out of place here; pistachios are not to be consumed in excess by the elderly and the quantity has to be carefully consumed, to prevent undesirable effects.

Impact on health of the heart

Pistachios have a moderate positive effect on systolic and diastolic pressure of patients. It is necessary to bear in mind that this is suitable only for individuals who are not diabetic. The combined effect of reduced blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels helps individuals enjoy better cardiovascular health. This helps prevent possible heart related events commonly experienced by individuals with heart ailments. This is one of the reasons for the tree nuts to be one of the ingredients of specialized diets for individuals with compromised heart health.

Fiber in pistachios help improve motility 

Pistachios contain significant percentage of fiber and this makes it an important ingredient for individuals with digestive and gut health issues. Better motility helps improve the functioning of the digestive system. In addition to preventing the possibility of bouts of constipation, the prebiotics in pistachios neutralize the bad bacteria by boosting the good bacteria.

Note – prebiotics are different from probiotics. The former is a type of fiber that helps good bacteria, while the latter is classified as beneficial bacteria that are typically available in certain food products and supplements.

Helps in weight management and fitness goals

Pistachios are a proven ingredient for effective weight management and for helping individuals achieve fitness goals. Diet and nutrition are key to both weight management and fitness goals and pistachios help users achieve both. This is attributed to the protein content and the fiber content in the drupe. As a result of the rich fiber content, individuals are likely to feel full after consuming pistachios. This will help cut down on binge eating. In addition to preventing overeating, the nutrients help deliver the required nutrition to the body, helping with fitness goals.

Effective vegetarian alternative

A good vegetarian source for protein has always been an obstacle for vegetarians to receive adequate protein intake. While vegetarian sources are available, the actual amount of protein in each serving size is relatively less when compared with most other non-vegetarian sources. This may then push the individual to consume large quantities, which may result in other consequences. This makes the drupe a great choice for vegetarians as it delivers as much as one fifth of each nut in the form of proteins. The fiber and amino acids in pistachios, in addition to the protein, gives the tree nuts a well-balanced nutrient profile.

Are the side effects of pistachios serious in nature? 

While undesirable effects of Pistachios are a possibility among a section of users, most effects are not serious in nature. A large number of undesirable effects are mainly attributed to excessive consumption. This is either due to the taste/flavor of the nuts, or the desire to see results faster. Certain individuals may not experience any kind of side effects whatsoever, while others may experience different types of pistachio benefits and side effects. Here is look at some of the commonly reported side effects.

High fiber intake could contribute to malabsorption

As an abundant source of fiber, Pistachios deliver impressive benefits. But excessive consumption or high fiber intake could result in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and cramps in the stomach. As a result of malabsorption of fiber, individuals may end up with higher fiber levels that may sometimes cause other problems.

High calorie value and impact on weight

As emphasized above, it is necessary to keep intake to moderate or desired levels. By virtue of the high calorie value in the tree nuts, users who consume pistachios in excess may end up with unmet fitness or weight management goals. For instance, other efforts or regimen may actually work to produce results, but excessive consumption of pistachios may result in diluting or reducing the positive effects. Users are to carefully monitor the amount of tree nuts consumed daily.

Roasting and the link to acrylamides


Roasted pistachios are a delicacy, finding preference among users. The aroma and the classic roasted taste, are from the method of preparation – high temperature roasting. While this elevates the taste, this preparation method exposes the individual to the possibility of ending up with acrylamides accumulating in the body. Ingredients that contain sugar and amino acids, that are prepared with high temperature may trigger accumulation of acrylamides. These are known as chemicals that are cancer causing in nature, and therefore the safest option is to keep intake of pistachios limited, regardless of the preparation method.


Allergies to certain ingredients are a possibility, and individuals with a history of being sensitized to allergies may sometimes experience effects that may or may not require hospitalization. Most allergies are attributed to Fructan, and the effects are mainly experienced only by a small section of users.

Salted, roasted pistachios and elevated blood pressure levels

While salted and roasted pistachios are among the most sought preparations of the tree nuts, the preparation method could actually result in elevated blood pressure levels. To compound the problem further, individuals tend to choose roasted nuts along with alcohol. Consequently, there is the possibility of increased blood pressure levels from both alcohol and roasted nuts.


Potassium removal in patients with renal health issues

 The kidneys remove potassium as a routine process, and patients with renal health issues Tare likely to end up with kidney stones. This is because of the inability of the kidneys to process and eliminate potassium.


Effect on pregnant women


High manganese levels may affect pregnant women and nursing mothers. The tree nuts have high manganese content, and this is likely to create neurological complications during specific stages of pregnancy. It is advisable for pregnant women to avoid pistachios to eliminate the possibility of risk to the mother or the fetus.


Reasons that make individuals avoid pistachios


Reason #1

 Individuals are known to avoid the tree nuts due to unsubstantiated claims about pistachio benefits and side effects. Individuals wrongly believe that high sodium content in pistachios make it an unhealthy option. However, this is a misconception as pistachios do not have high sodium content, but salted or roasted varieties push the sodium levels high due to the roasting of the nuts and the added salt.


Reason #2

Many users are apprehensive of possible weight gain due to consumption of pistachios. Though pistachios are high in calories, the nuts will not contribute to weight gain when consumed in moderation, routinely.


Reason #3

Users also wrongly assume that salted nuts will neutralize pistachios of the routine health benefits. Here again, this is a misconception, as the salted flavoring does not have any impact on the benefits of the nuts, but only enhances the taste, apart from the increased sodium levels.




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