Pistachios are a member of the cashew family and grow on a small tree. While it is actually a seed, pistachios are most commonly referred to as nuts. The delicious pistachio nut is green in color can be eaten fresh and roasted with salt, the pistachio is delicious by itself or added to ice creams, salads, spumoni, cakes, and chocolate. Pistachios contain vitamins K, E and B, amino acids and are a good source of calcium and healthy fats.
The pistachio is a preferred choice for people wanting to lose weight, with 10.6 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein, it has been confirmed by the Center for Human Nutrition to be ideal for weight management.
Other health benefits include:
- Amino Acids: L-Arginine, the primary amino acid found in pistachios helps reduce LDL cholesterol, which can contribute to clogging arteries, making it a great snack that also promotes a healthy heart.
- Prevents Macular Disease: Due to the antioxidants -lutein and zeaxanthin, eating pistachios can reduce the risk of age-related macular disease.
- Antioxidants Control Diabetes: The antioxidants contained in pistachios also help control blood sugar levels as well as support a healthy blood pressure.
- Skin Care: The saturated fats present help relieve dry skin and prevent wrinkles.
- Boosts Immunity: Due to the high content of vitamin B6, pistachios help boost immunity and enhance the nervous system.
This nut is packed with minerals including copper, magnesium, potassium, zinc, calcium and phosphorus and contains a variety of vitamins including B complex vitamins, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. Ancient Roman aristocrats, as well as Roman Emperor Vitellius and the Queen of Sheba, revered it as one of the most prized delicacies during the days of King Solomon.
The native habitat for the pistachio tree is the Middle East and Central Asia and has been in existence for over 780,000 years. It was first introduced to Italy during the 16th century and are still grown in areas of Italy, with the village of Bronte, being the most popular in the country with the small town referring to the pistachio as “green gold.” While Bronte may love their pistachios, and the ones grown there are nurtured in the rich volcanic soil, which gives them a distinct flavor. However, as a producer of only 1% of the pistachios, Bronte is little known for the nut, while California produces 99% of the nations supply.
The pistachio tree takes almost a decade to reach maturity for mass production and once reached a single pistachio tree produces approximately 110 pounds of nuts every two years, as it is a biennial-bearing tree. Notably, with a long history of being enjoyed and reserved for certain people, it should be no surprise that pistachio trees were grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in 700 BC.