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Pistachios - useful properties and contraindications


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Pistachio can be quite a tough nut to crack. Each of them is in a hard and durable shell. If there is a crack along the nut, open it with your fingernail or half the shell from another pistachio. If there are no visible cracks, you will have to use a hammer or tongs.

Chemical composition

Pistachios are a protein-fat product. Proteins in 100 g of these nuts contain about 20%, fat - up to 45%. Pistachios also have a lot of carbohydrates (27-28 g), of which about 10 g are fiber and pectin (dietary fiber). The high content of nutrients in this product determines its high calorie content - 555-560 kcal per 100 g.

The amino acid composition of the proteins of these nuts is complete. These proteins contain all the essential (essential) amino acids that the human body needs to receive daily to build their protein complexes. The content of essential amino acids in pistachios is 7.6-7.8 g per 100 g of nuts, which is 35-36% of the daily allowance for an adult. Among the essential amino acids, 100 g of nuts contains the most valine and isoleucine: 50% and 45% of the daily requirement, respectively.

Fats of pistachio fruits consist of 91-92% of unsaturated fatty acids represented by the omega-9 and omega-6 group. The main representative of the omega-9 group in the fat of these nuts is oleic acid (22.0-23.0 g), and omega-6 is linoleic acid, which is also called vitamin F. The content of vitamin F - vitamin longevity - in 100 g of fruit is up to 135% of his daily requirement.

In pistachio fats in large quantities there are phytosterols. The molecular structure of phytosterols is identical to animal cholesterol. Phytosterols, as well as cholesterol, are the building material from which cell walls are created, therefore they are necessary for the human body. The main phytosterol found in pistachios is beta-sitosterol (beta-sitosterol). In 100 g of nuts, its amount is up to 500% of the daily rate. This hormone-like compound of plant origin is similar to the female sex hormone - estrogen, so these nuts are considered a “female” product.

The carbohydrate composition of these nuts is 37-40% composed of water-insoluble (cellulose) and water-insoluble fiber (pectin). The rest of the carbohydrate consists of mono- and oligosaccharides:

In addition to the main nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates), these nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals, organic acids, tannins.

Name100 g content, milligrams
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)0,9
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)0,2
Vitamin B3 (pantothenic acid)0,5
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)1,7
Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)0,05
Vitamin PP (nicotinic acid)1,3
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)5,5
Vitamin E (alpha tocopherol and gamma tocopherols)24,9
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)0,003
Lutein and Zeaxanthin1,4

The largest amounts of vitamins in pistachios are alpha and gamma tocopherols (150% of the daily intake), vitamin B6 (up to 85%) and vitamin B1 (about 50%).

The mineral base of pistachios is composed of macro- and microelements, of which in significant quantities for human life are contained: vanadium, boron, silicon, manganese, copper, phosphorus, cobalt, zirconium, potassium.

Name100 g content, milligrams

The pistachio kernel is able to accumulate the radioactive element of strontium. 100 g of nuts contain up to 25% of the maximum allowable daily dose - 200 mcg.

Pistachios contain large amounts of purine bases (up to 30% of the daily intake of 100 g) and oxalic acid (more than 12%), which should be considered for people who suffer from gout and urolithiasis.

Beneficial features

Due to its rich chemical composition, pistachios have a large number of beneficial properties. This is an environmentally friendly product, since nuts are suitable for food immediately after harvest. The exception is salted pistachios, which are considered just a snack.

Essential linolenic acid (omega-6) fatty acids:

  • have a regenerative effect on liver cells,
  • liquefy bile, preventing the formation of stones in the bile ducts and bladder,
  • exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the digestive and respiratory organs,
  • bind blood cholesterol, preventing its subsidence in atherosclerotic plaques,
  • increase the elasticity of the vascular walls,
  • help lower blood pressure,
  • improve rheological properties of blood.

Studies of the effect of pistachios on blood cholesterol by American doctors have shown that daily use of two servings of these nuts reduces the amount of atherosclerotic plaques on the walls of blood vessels by seven times. A serving of pistachios, in the American sense, means 49 small nuts, which is one American ounce - 28.35 g.

These nuts are a powerful aphrodisiac because they:

  • stimulate the production of steroid sex hormones,
  • normalize the work of the prostate gland,
  • improve sperm quality,
  • contribute to fertilization.

Vitamin E and carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin) improve vision, prevent eye diseases and help with existing eye diseases.

The astringent and tanning properties of the tannins contained in pistachios are successfully applied externally in cosmetology, as well as in proctology.

Thanks to the dietary fiber contained in pistachio fruits, when used internally, they:

  • bind cholesterol in the intestine, reducing its absorption,
  • precipitated salts of heavy metals, alkaloids, glycosides,
  • they absorb water and swell, which increases the volume of the intestinal contents and stimulate its peristalsis.

The beneficial properties of pistachio fruits can also be attributed to their ability to reduce blood sugar while eating with foods that have a high glycemic index, for example, with wheat bread or buns. This property is used in the preparation of a diet for diabetics.

Pistachios are high-calorie, but a small amount (20-30 g) satisfies hunger and reduces appetite, so they are indicated for overweight people.

The large amount of antioxidants in these fruits allowed the American Cancer Research Association in 2009 to recognize pistachios as a means of cancer prevention.

Medical use

Pistachios are recommended for regular use in diseases of the digestive system:

  • dyskinesia of the bile ducts,
  • cholecystitis
  • after cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder),
  • gallstone disease
  • hepatitis
  • cirrhosis of the liver,
  • inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastritis, duodenitis, enteritis, colitis).

It is useful to introduce pistachio fruits into the diet for patients with cardiovascular diseases:

  • atherosclerosis,
  • transient ischemic attacks (microstrokes),
  • coronary heart disease
  • angiopathies (senile, hypertonic, diabetic),
  • arterial hypertension
  • thrombophilia
  • varicose vein disease,
  • thrombophlebitis.

In emergency cases of poisoning with heavy metal salts, cardiac glycosides or alkaloids, a handful of pistachios can be taken as an emergency detoxification agent.

The antioxidant properties of pistachios help with eye diseases:

  • senile ophthalmopathies,
  • macular degeneration,
  • cataracts
  • worsening twilight vision.

Nuts are useful for women daily to increase sexual desire, and for men with sexual dysfunctions and erectile dysfunction.

Ground pistachios can be used to make rectal suppositories for proctitis, rectal fissures, or hemorrhoids.

How do pistachios grow?

These are the fruits of the pistachio tree (Pististia vera).

How to grow on a tree is shown in the photo.

Homeland Pististia vera - Asia. Today, wild pistachios grow in such countries as Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Iran, India. They can be found in the region of Southern Europe and North Africa. However, all of them are not edible.

One serving of pistachios consists of 49 nuts. That is, when you see that it says something like “the participants in the experiment ate two servings a day,” it means that they ate 98 pieces.

Where did such a strange non-circular number come from? Everything is simple. That is how many units fit in one ounce. And since most of the research was done by American scientists, they measure the weight of nuts in units they are familiar with.

The calorie content of one serving of pistachios is 159 kcal.

In this volume there is:

  • 7 g of carbohydrates,
  • 7 g protein
  • 9 g of fat
  • 3 g of plant fiber
  • 5 mg of vitamin B6 (25% of the daily intake),
  • 3 mg thiamine (20%),
  • 4 mg of copper (20%),
  • 291 mg potassium (8.3%),
  • 34 mg magnesium (8.5%),
  • 1 mg of iron (6.1%),
  • 6 mg of zinc (4%).

The ideal product for weight loss

If we compare weight loss people practicing pistachio snacks and those who lose weight, but do not eat these nuts, we can note that those who eat nuts have a lower body mass index and a smaller waist circumference.

This happens for several reasons.

  1. When people have a snack with nuts, they usually refuse other harmful snacks - chips, cookies, sweets, etc.
  2. The benefits of pistachios for the body of losing weight men and women is that they perfectly saturate. And they not only delay the time of the subsequent more plentiful meal, but also beat off the appetite so much that a person eats less than usual at the next meal.
  3. There are many monounsaturated fatty acids in nuts that are necessary to prevent the accumulation of excess fat in the abdominal region.

The Pistachio Principle

This phenomenon was discovered by Dr. James Painter of the University of Eastern Illinois. And it consists in the following.

  1. Inclusion in the diet of nuts in the shell by 41% reduces the number of calories consumed during the day. And all because opening a nut shell is not so simple. It takes effort and time. For harmful snacks, they no longer remain.
  2. If you leave the shells from pistachios on the table before your eyes, and not throw them away right away, the amount of calories consumed per day can be reduced by 18%. The slide on the table reminds the brain that he has already eaten. And not a little.

Decreased metabolic syndrome

Excess body weight is always associated with the development of metabolic syndrome, which at any minute runs the risk of developing into more serious diseases.

The beneficial properties of pistachios are manifested in the fact that they make 4 main factors of the metabolic syndrome less pronounced:

  • reduce body fat around the internal organs,
  • lower blood pressure (only when necessary)
  • reduce fasting blood sugar
  • improve lipid profile.

Heart disease prevention

  1. Pistachios are useful in that they are rich in the amino acid L-arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide has a multiple positive effect on the functioning of the cardiovascular system. And it is important for people who already have heart and vascular diseases, as well as for those who are at risk, for example, for diabetics.
  2. Improve lipid profile. Reduce the amount of oxidized low density lipoproteins, which are especially dangerous for blood vessels. Also, when eating nuts, the ratio of triglycerides to high density lipoproteins improves. This indicator is one of those that accurately assess the risk of heart disease.
  3. Contribute to the normalization of high blood pressure.

Potency enhancement

Pistachios have special beneficial properties for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. They are considered a natural remedy for impotence.

Nitric oxide formed in the body after a nut meal improves cots in the genital area. And it helps to make an erection more stable and lasting.

Avoid white and discolored nuts.

Pistachios are a quickly perishable product. After removal from the tree within 24 hours, they must be cleaned of the outer shell. If this is not done, the tannins present in it will go to the walnut shell, forming spots on it.

Stained specimens cannot be sold. Therefore, manufacturers often hide their sluggishness. They paint nuts with different colors, for example, red or green. Or, conversely, discolor them.

The true color of the pistachio shell is light beige. However, you can often find white things that are sold even better than the right ones, since white color is associated in people with the concept of freshness. Such nuts are often offered by Chinese companies, calling them "premium."

Bleached pistachios are harmful to the body.

The chemicals that bleach the shells can go into the edible part. And these are inedible compounds.

Bleaching substances destroy the beneficial components that are present in the thin skin surrounding the nut kernel itself.

The danger of aflotoxin

Pistachios, like peanuts, are often contaminated with aflotoxin, which has high carcinogenic activity.

Usually, nuts grown in California are not dangerous. But Iranian and Moroccan quite often carry aflotoxin.

To minimize the chance of getting aflotoxin, try to purchase only California options. Since this is difficult, use the following carcinogen protection methods:

  • buy only unpeeled nuts,
  • never get weird pistachios,
  • never eat sour taste nuts
  • immediately discard those that show mold
  • Avoid using those that have been exposed to moisture.

Side effects

Possible unpleasant effects after eating a large number of pistachios include abdominal pain, abnormal rumbling in the abdomen, diarrhea, or constipation. These phenomena are associated with the fact that the product contains a lot of fructans - substances that cause increased gas formation.

Typically, these symptoms manifest themselves in those people who rarely eat fructans, for example, do not eat fruit at all. As the body gets used to these compounds, unpleasant symptoms of their "overdose" pass.

Those people who find it difficult to digest nuts due to increased gas production can be advised to take activated charcoal, which solves the problem of flatulence.

How to include in the diet?

  • It is necessary to refuse the use of salted pistachios. Especially those that were salted under industrial conditions. Despite the fact that the salt-free diet is hazardous to health, there are so many salts in industrially prepared that it completely eliminates all the benefits of nuts.
  • Do not buy fried or fry them yourself. During the roasting process, many beneficial compounds are destroyed.

  • To maximize the healing properties of pistachios for the human body, you need to eat one serving a day - about 50 pieces. With regular use, half the serving is enough - 25.
  • You can eat during pregnancy. But no more than 15 pieces per day.
  • With breastfeeding, you can also eat 15 pieces a day. However, in the event that there is an allergy to nuts or peanuts in the family, use should be abandoned.

Is it necessary to soak?

Like any other nuts, pistachios contain phytic acid, as well as other antinutrients and protease inhibitors. These substances impair the absorption of certain trace elements and make digestion difficult.

To get rid of them, you need to soak the nuts for 12 hours in cool water.

The soaking procedure is shown for most nuts, in case you want to extract all possible benefits from them. However, the situation is slightly different with pistachios.

To soak the nuts, they must be cleaned. The “pistachio principle” has been described above, which helps people lose weight who are overweight due to overeating. If the nuts are peeled, the “principle” cannot work.

Therefore, soak the nuts or not, decide based on your main goal:

  • if the goal is to extract the maximum number of therapeutic compounds from pistachios, you need to soak,
  • if you just want to indulge in nuts or reduce the number of calories consumed, then do not clean in advance to soak.

Why so expensive?

The question of why pistachios are so expensive torments people not only in our country, but also in many other corners of the globe. For these nuts are practically everywhere. And this is not the speculative mood of the merchants, but the biological characteristics of the pistachio tree.

  1. Pististia vera произрастает лишь там, где есть достаточно холодная зима и длительное жаркое лето. Therefore, this tree is grown in a limited number of regions on our planet - in California, Iran, Morocco, Turkey.
  2. Trees begin to bear fruit only 15-20 years after planting.
  3. The number of nuts on each tree is small. The maximum yield from one tree is 20 kg.
  4. Profuse bearing Pististia vera happens once every two years. In an unsuccessful year, there are very few nuts.
  5. Manually peel nuts from the outside. Moreover, this must be done very quickly - within a day. Of course, manual high-speed operation makes the product more expensive.

Benefits for women

To answer the question of how pistachios are useful for women, the component composition and characteristics of the product should be studied. For example, antioxidants help maintain the beauty and youth of the body.

Useful nuts and for women who want to lose weight. Due to the high calorie content, pistachios can replace some of the daily diet. It is enough to eat 2-3 nuts without shells to reduce appetite and cleanse the intestines of toxins. However, it must be remembered that excessive consumption of pistachios can cause the opposite effect.

Useful pistachio oil, which is used in many cosmetics, is made from nuts. Such a product has the following effect:

  1. Whitens the skin, removes age spots and freckles.
  2. Nourishes and nourishes the skin with useful substances, without leaving an excessively oily sheen.
  3. It removes peeling and inflammation, accelerates wound healing, helps get rid of acne, removes the effects of acne.
  4. Increases skin tone and eliminates sagging.
  5. Protects from weathering in the cold.
  6. Makes hair soft and silky, prevents it from fading in the sun.
  7. Strengthens and smoothes the nail plate.

Pistachio oil is recommended to be used exclusively in fresh form. If you use only 10 ml. product per day, problems with the cardiovascular system can be avoided.

All these beneficial properties of pistachios allow women who often eat nuts to look younger than their age.

The benefits and harms of pistachios for women are largely dependent on the amount of consumption. The recommended daily portion is 20-30 gr. in a day.

Use in Dietetics

Although pistachios are high-calorie, they are often indicated for introduction into the diet to those people who want to lose weight as snacks between main meals. This is explained by:

  • with these useful nuts you can replace harmful chips, sweets and buns,
  • they suppress the appetite, than suppress the feeling of hunger,
  • taken shortly before meals, they help to reduce the serving size,
  • pistachios improve fat metabolism.

The American nutritionist J. Painter discovered the so-called “pistachio principle”. This principle lies in the fact that if you leave the pistachios eaten by him for a whole day in front of a slimming shell, then subconsciously his brain thinks that the body is already full. The doctor proved that thanks to this principle, the amount of calories consumed per day is reduced by 18%.

Pregnancy and lactation benefits

Women often wonder if pistachios are beneficial during pregnancy. So, nuts without salt have a beneficial effect on the body of the expectant mother. They strengthen the immune system, rejuvenate the body and inhibit the development of cancer. Pistachios also smooth out the manifestations of toxicosis and normalize the psychoemotional background of a pregnant woman.

The benefits of pistachios for the body of a nursing woman are undeniable, but the effect of the product on the baby is not so clear. Walnut is a strong allergen, so you need to monitor the reaction of the child's body and not eat more than the daily norm.

During pregnancy and lactation, it is advisable to consume no more than 7-10 nuts without shell per day. Excessive eating of pistachios increases the load on the gastrointestinal tract of the baby.

Benefit for men

The benefits and harms of pistachios for a man’s body are also due to their chemical composition:

  1. Folic acid is involved in sperm production.
  2. Arginine dilates blood vessels, which increases the growth of sexual desire, increases the stamina of men during intimate communication.
  3. Zinc is the most important element for any man, because it is his lack of it that can provoke a decrease in testosterone levels, which will inevitably lead to problems with potency.
  4. Unsaturated fats support healthy blood vessels by preventing the accumulation of cholesterol.

To get the maximum benefit, nuts should be eaten in the morning in an amount of not more than 10-15 pieces. Regular use of seeds in their natural form can already double the sexual function of a man in a month. The usefulness of pistachios as a beer snack is extremely small.

Benefits for children

You can talk about the benefits of pistachios for a long time, but do not forget that this product is the strongest allergen, so you should not feed them to children under 5 years old. However, at the age of 3 years, you can try to treat the baby ½ nut, be sure to monitor the condition of the child's body during the day.

Vitamins and minerals in the composition of pistachios help to form the correct skeleton, are responsible for the growth and development of muscle tissue, maintaining healthy heart function.

Nuts strengthen the immune system, help in the fight against dysbiosis, remove toxins and helminths. Controlled use will put in order the children's psyche, improve the processes of memorization and concentration.

To understand if pistachios are harmful, you need to consider a list of side effects and contraindications.

Despite the beneficial properties, pistachios in some cases can harm the body:

  1. They cause an allergic reaction. If you experience suspicious symptoms, you must immediately interrupt the consumption of nuts and, if necessary, consult a doctor for help.
  2. Increase blood pressure. Pistachios contain very little sodium. But if you eat nuts uncontrollably and salt them before eating, then an overdose of this element is inevitable, which means that the risk of high blood pressure will increase. Hypertensive patients better and completely abandon the use of pistachios.
  3. Contribute to weight gain. As part of a healthy diet and in small amounts, pistachios help to lose weight. However, this product has a high calorie content, so regular and excessive consumption is fraught with such a problem as the accumulation of extra pounds and obesity.
  4. Digestive upset. Nuts can cause gastrointestinal problems in people who are sensitive to fructans. Disorders such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating and abdominal pain are possible.
  5. There is a risk of premature birth. If you eat a large number of pistachios in the last stages of pregnancy, you can encounter the problem of early delivery, since nuts provoke uterine contractions.

While eating pistachios, nutritionists recommend reducing the consumption of butter and vegetable oil.


Pistachios are useful for the human body, but, like any other product, they have a number of contraindications. Nuts and oil from them are not recommended to be introduced into the diet of people who:

  • prone to fullness,
  • are obese of any degree
  • have swelling and unstable pressure (ground and salted nuts are especially harmful),
  • suffer from renal pathology,
  • under the age of 5 due to a high risk of allergies,
  • during breastfeeding.

It is forbidden to crack nuts in the shell if there are prosthetic teeth. However, do not completely abandon the product. You can open the shell and remove the kernel in other ways, for example, armed with household appliances.

It is not recommended to lean on salted nuts, such a product will not bring the body proper benefits.


Having considered in what article are pistachios harmful and useful, we can conclude that if you eat this product in reasonable quantities, in pure form or as part of dishes, you can improve the appearance, saturate the body with the necessary elements and forget about some diseases. Pistachios have a fairly small list of side effects and contraindications.

Harmful properties

Despite the large number of useful properties, pistachios can also bring harm:

  • they are an allergen, so allergy sufferers need to eat them with caution,
  • salted pistachios increase blood pressure and retain water in the body, so they should not be used for hypertensive patients, people with kidney pathologies, as well as losing weight,
  • with large use of pistachios, digestive disorders (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) can occur.

Mold can occur on pistachios if stored improperly. Mold fungi in the process of their life produce toxic substances - aflatoxins. When eating pistachios affected by mold, acute aflatoxin poisoning can occur. These poisons:

  • have toxic effects on liver cells,
  • affect the heart, kidneys and spleen,
  • depress immunity
  • cause impaired fetal development.

With prolonged use in small quantities of such poisoned products, chronic aflatoxin poisoning can occur, which is fraught with the onset of various oncological pathologies, most often liver cancer.

The use of pistachios is not recommended for pregnant and lactating women, because it increases the risk of allergic diseases in them and their children.

The use of these nuts is also not recommended for patients with urolithiasis and gout, as they may develop an exacerbation of their disease.

How to choose and store

Only dried, unsalted nuts and in limited quantities (no more than 50 pieces per day) can be eaten without health risk. To buy healthy pistachios, you must be able to choose them correctly:

  1. The shell of pistachios should only be a natural beige color (without discoloration or staining). In this way, unscrupulous manufacturers hide defects of nuts.
  2. When buying pistachios by weight, they should definitely be sniffed - they should not smell of mold from them.
  3. The pistachio shell should be ajar, and the color of the nut should be green (signs of ripeness of the fruit).

You can not buy peeled nuts, because they very quickly deteriorate, damp, and the fats in them rancid. In addition to an unpleasant taste, such fruits can cause food poisoning. Therefore, you can not eat pistachios with a changed taste (sour, bitter), damp, with traces of mold on the surface of a nut or shell.

Dried pistachios should be stored only in airtight packaging at room temperature for no more than 1 year.

Cooking Application

Pistachios can be eaten fresh, dried and fried. Using them prepare:

  • confectionery (cakes, sweets, ice cream),
  • salads
  • snacks
  • sauces
  • second courses.

Ground nuts are added to a wide variety of different dishes as seasoning.

Pistachio Sauce

For its preparation you will need a handful of unsalted pistachios, one teaspoon of soy sauce and wine vinegar (preferably red), 2-3 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive or other refined vegetable oil, several sprigs of herbs (parsley or cilantro), salt and spices taste. Peeled pistachios and garlic, together with leaves of herbs, grind in a blender bowl until smooth. Then, in a thin stream, introduce vegetable oil into this mass, continuing to whisk. Transfer the semi-finished product to the bowl, add soy sauce and vinegar, mix. Bring to the desired taste with salt and spices. This sauce gives piquancy to fish dishes or grilled vegetables.

Pistachios are not only very tasty, but also very useful nuts. They have a beneficial effect on the digestive system, heart and blood vessels, vision, reproductive functions. In order for them to show their beneficial properties, they need to be consumed daily in small quantities.

Pistachios have a good effect on metabolism, so they can be included in the diet of patients with diabetes and overweight people. Suppressing appetite, these nuts help reduce hunger.

Caution should be taken when eating pistachios for people suffering from gout and urolithiasis, allergies, pregnant and lactating women.

When choosing this product, cleaned, salted, or moldy pistachios should be avoided.