Pistachios: uses and nutritional benefits

Pistachio trees belong to the Anacardiae family. Tree of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and California, it is cultivated for its seed: the Pistachio. Of a bright green color, the Pistachio is the madeleine of Proust of many people. Its fine and reassuring taste is an essential food of the Iranian culinary culture. In addition to these organoleptic qualities, Pistachios are nutrient rich nuts with a healthy nutritional profile. They contain fiber and good fats that help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or vascular complications of diabetes. Healthy for the heart and mind, they are also carriers of carotenoids: lutein and zeaxanthin. Along with zinc, they contribute to reducing vision pathologies caused by aging. On the aging side, the skin and hair benefit from renewed youthfulness thanks to the copper that pistachios carry. In addition, scientific evidence suggests that Pistachios help reduce oxidative stress, inflammation, control weight and blood sugar. Latin name: Pistachio vera L. Botanical family: Anacardiaceae. Part used: Almond.

Recommended consumption

Due to the energy density of Pistachios and their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, daily consumption recommendations are defined. In a classic cure or for pleasure, a portion of Pistachios is estimated at 15 g per day, which represents about 40 Pistachios per day.

In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • In pieces
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Dinner
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to facilitate their intake:

  • Salad
  • Dessert
  • Yoghurt, dairy
  • Aperitif
  • Dish
  • Only
  • Mixed with other dried fruits
Precautions for use
  • Allergen : Nuts and Sesame

Health Nutrition Benefits

15g of Pistachios contain a significant portion of the Population Nutritional Reference (PNR) of the following nutrients Copper, Phosphorus, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6. They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Fiber, Potassium, Iron, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B9.

As such, Pistachios can complement your healthy and varied diet.


The matrix of Pistachios is rich in antioxidants (phenols, vitamin E, zinc, copper, manganese). This effect has been proven by scientific analysis: a group of individuals receiving 20% of their daily energy intake in the form of Pistachios saw their blood antioxidant potential increase.

The control of the oxidative stress is an important point on the reduction of the consequences of chronic pathologies (dyslipidemia and diabetes). Moreover, these Pistachios also limit the absorption of cholesterol because of its lipidic distribution, fibers and phytosterols that they hold. This is what 4 studies have shown: a significant reduction in total cholesterol after adding Pistachios to the diet. Moreover, Pistachios reduce the glycemic load which contributes to regulate glycemia. Therefore, they can contribute to the management of diabetes.

Ocular system

Pistachios have a protective complex of the eyes: lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc. These compounds are grouped in the eyes and contribute to their protection (lutein and zeaxanthin) and to their functioning (zinc). It seems that these nutrients reduce the incidence of age-related macular degeneration.

Cardiac system

A scientific study observes a decrease in systolic blood pressure, with a dose-dependent effect on Pistachio consumption. This effect would come from the potassium and the low sodium content. In addition, pistachios fight against the deficiency of vitamin B1, which causes heart problems (pathology called beriberi).

Digestive system

A diet low in fiber promotes constipation. Pistachios are rich in fiber, they restore intestinal transit (see our guide constipation and diet).

Immune system

Pistachios prevent zinc and iron deficiencies. These deficiencies disturb the immune system. Moreover, Pistachios participate in the formation and functioning of immune cells thanks to vitamins B6, B9 and zinc.

As part of a varied and balanced diet, these nutrients provide Pistachios with immunity benefits.

Nervous system, well-being

In case of fatigue, bet on Pistachios. They contribute to cognitive functions and nervous systems while providing energy to the body. All these properties come from their micronutrients. To begin with, they prevent iron and zinc deficiencies, which can lead to a decrease in cognitive abilities. Moreover, they participate in the propagation of the nervous impulse and synthesis of neurotransmitters thanks to their vitamins B1, B6 and B9 associated with potassium. Finally, like all nuts, they are dense in energy and micronutrients of energy metabolism. Moreover, they provide micronutrients known to reduce fatigue: magnesium, iron, vitamin B9 and vitamin B6.

Body, face and hair care

Graying hair, thinner nails, fragile and thin skin... are natural evolutions of aging. With age, melanin production decreases. This decrease is at the origin of white hair, but also of a decrease in the skin's resistance to the sun's aggressions. Pistachios provide the necessary micronutrients to prevent and moderate the marks of time. The contribution of copper participates in the synthesis of melanin. Zinc strengthens keratin, a protein that forms hair and nails. With an antioxidant power, Pistachios also prevent age spots.

Bone system

A loss of bone mineralization increases their fragility and the risk of fractures. Pistachios are full of minerals and trace elements that are stored in the bones. This mineralization reinforces the solidity of the bones. By providing these minerals, Pistachios contribute to the strength of bones, to be integrated into a balanced diet.

Circulatory system

A deficiency anemia can come from a lack of iron or vitamin B9 (see our guides: iron deficiency anemia and diet, macrocytic anemia and diet). Pistachios provide both of these nutrients. Also, vitamin B6 contributes to red blood cell synthesis. Finally, Pistachios contain copper. The latter improves the transport of iron, and therefore its availability for red blood cell synthesis.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, the nutrients in Pistachios help prevent anemia.

Muscles and joints

Pistachios reinforce the muscular construction. Vitamin B9 and magnesium contribute to the synthesis of amino acids and proteins. Knowing that Pistachios provide proteins, the whole stimulates muscle anabolism. In addition, pistachios are vectors of potassium and magnesium. These prevent muscle contraction disorders (see our guide muscle cramps and diet). In addition, copper and manganese, also represented in Pistachios, contribute to the formation of connective tissue, and thus to the health of the joints.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Photoprotector (lutein, zeaxanthin): lutein and zeaxanthin are two xanthophyll carotenoids responsible for the color of Pistachios. Researchers show that Pistachios contain 1405 mg of lutein and zeaxanthin per 100 g of Pistachio. Pistachios contribute to the protection of the eyes, because these two carotenoids are concentrated in the retina. They would hold the role of antioxidant and/or filter against the blue light.
  • Anti-inflammatory (vitamin B9, vitamin B6): pistachios participate in the homocysteine cycle. This amino acid is naturally produced by the body: it is a pass-through compound allowing the formation of other molecules. However, it is pro-inflammatory. Vitamins B6 and B9 participate in the transformation of homocysteine into cysteine or methionine. These last two amino acids are essential to the functioning of the body.
  • Cardiovascular protector (linoleic acid, oleic acid, fiber, potassium, vitamin B1, phytosterol): Pistachios act on vascular and heart health. First, they reduce cholesterol levels, thanks to fiber, phytosterols and omega-6 (linoleic acid). There is also a large proportion of omega 9 (oleic acid) which protects against cardiovascular diseases. Concerning the heart, Pistachios are naturally low in sodium. They limit the appearance of blood pressure disorders, responsible in the long term for heart fatigue. In addition, potassium and vitamin B1 participate in the contraction of the heart.
  • Blood sugar control (fiber, fat, protein): Pistachios have a low glycemic index, conferred by the contribution of fiber, fat and carbohydrate. The low glycemic index indicates that they do not cause large changes in blood sugar levels after being consumed. Moreover, if they are combined with foods with a high glycemic index, they will reduce their negative impact on blood sugar. In other words, they help the body regulate blood sugar levels after a meal.
  • Appetite regulator (fiber, lipid, protein): through their low glycemic indexes, Pistachios contribute to the maintenance of blood sugar levels at normal. This balance participates in the feeling of satiety.
  • Antioxidant (vitamin E, zinc, manganese, copper, phenol): Pistachios are good sources of antioxidant micronutrients. The trace elements in them, namely copper, zinc and manganese, participate in the functioning of antioxidant enzymes. In addition, we find vitamin E: a major antioxidant that protects cell membranes from free radicals. Several scientific studies have looked at the phenols in pistachios. It seems that they are rich in phenolic antioxidant compounds. Indeed, these studies find interesting contents of anthocyanin, flavonoid, proanthocyanidin, flavonol, isoflavone, flavanone, stilbene, phenolic acid and hydrolysable tannin.
  • Contributing to energy metabolism (copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, lipid): pistachios have lipid energy. Lipids are the most energy dense macronutrients. Also, the micronutrients that participate in the production of energy saturate the Pistachios, we speak of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, zinc, magnesium, copper, iron, manganese and phosphorus.

Secondary properties

  • Anti-fatigue (iron, vitamin B9, vitamin B6, magnesium): magnesium, iron and vitamins B9 and B6 help reduce fatigue.
  • Hair Strengthener (copper, zinc): Pistachios are rich in copper and a source of zinc. These two trace elements are known to improve the appearance of hair: zinc participates in the maintenance of hair, copper contributes to hair pigmentation by participating in the synthesis of a pigment: melanin.
  • Hormone System Regulator (Vitamin B6): Pistachios help modulate the endocrine system, as they contain Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 regulates hormonal activity.
  • Skin Protector (Copper): Pistachios support the skin's protection from the sun's rays. Copper helps in the formation of melanin. Melanin is a dark pigment that acts as a natural screen: it absorbs UV rays.
  • Emotional Balancer (potassium, copper, magnesium, vitamin B1, vitamin B6): Pistachios are beneficial for the transmission of nerve impulses through their participations in the production of neurotransmitters. This capacity is conferred by vitamins B1 and B6, copper and magnesium. Moreover, they are rich in potassium, a mineral responsible for the propagation of the nervous message.
  • Anti-anemic (copper, iron, vitamin B9, vitamin B6): with vitamins B9, B6 and iron, Pistachios participate in the synthesis of red blood cells. In addition, copper contributes to the transport of iron, which increases its availability to the body.
  • Laxative (fiber): Pistachios are rich in fiber. Fibers behave like sponges: they swell in contact with water. Within the digestive tract, this property increases the volume of stools. The whole accelerates the intestinal transit.
  • Immunomodulating (vitamin B9, vitamin B6, copper, iron, zinc): the Pistachios participate in the needs of iron and zinc. These deficiencies reduce the functioning of the immune system. Moreover, they bring vitamins B6 and B9: they participate in the making of the cells of immunity. Copper is also well represented in pistachios, it is immunomodulating.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

Learn more about the plant : The Pistachio tree

The pistachio tree is a fruit tree of the Anacaridaceae family. Native to the Middle East, the pistachio tree would be part of the oldest nut trees. Archaeological records date the first consumption of Pistachio to 7000 years BC, in Turkey. The pistachio tree can grow up to 10 m high and likes warm climates, sandy and dry soils. With the rise of its consumption, it has easily spread in the Mediterranean.

The pistachio tree can be a male or a female plant. The fruits are ovoid drupes, composed of different layers: a reddish pericarp that contains a pulpy mesocarp, in its center is an endocarp of two valves that form the shells of the fruit kernel. The Pistachio, which we consume, is therefore a seed. Pistachios grow in clusters. They have long been used in folk remedies for various ailments. They are also part of the art of Iranian cuisine.

The history of the Pistachio

The Pistachio has been part of the human diet for a long time. This small green nut has travelled a long way before becoming what it is today. Originating in the Middle East, its consumption would have progressively taken more and more place, becoming a dish appreciated by royalty, travelers and commoners.

It is said that Queen Sheba decreed that Pistachios be reserved for royalty. During the first centuries of our era, the Pistachio was a prized food in Rome. During the 17th century, the Pistachio reached American soil. They became acclimatized in California, which after much experimentation, developed a variety of Pistachio that was tastefully different from the Pistachio of Iran.

Today, Pistachio addicts are abandoning the Californian Pistachio because of its poor taste and texture.

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