We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Medical News Today only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
Was this helpful?

Pistachios may be good for someone’s health as they are source of protein, antioxidants, and fiber. Possible benefits include boosting heart health, managing blood sugar, and reducing colon cancer risk.

Research suggests that people have been eating pistachios for thousands of years. People consume them today in a variety of dishes, from salads to ice creams.

Here are 10 evidence-based benefits of eating pistachio nuts.

Close up of pistachios. Share on Pinterest
R_ka Csulak/EyeEm/Getty Images

According to science, pistachios are:

1. Rich in nutrients

Pistachios contain many essential nutrients.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 ounce (oz), or approximately 49 kernels of unroasted, unsalted pistachios contain:

Calories: 159
Protein: 5.7 grams (g)
Fat: 12.8 g
Carbohydrates: 7.7 g
Fiber: 3.0 g
Sugars: 2.2 g
Magnesium: 34.3 milligrams (mg)
Potassium: 289.0 mg
Phosphorus: 139 mg
Thiamin: 0.25 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.5 mg

A serving of pistachios provides about 37% of the recommended daily vitamin B6 intake or 1.3 mg for adults.

Vitamin B6 plays a vital role in the body, particularly in relation to protein metabolism and cognitive development.

Learn more about the benefits of vitamin B6 here.

2. Low in calories

Pistachios are one of the lowest-calorie nuts, which means people can enjoy the health benefits of nuts while more easily staying within their daily calorie limits.

For example, 1 oz of macadamia nuts, or 10-12 kernels, contains 204 calories, while 1 oz of pecans provides 196 calories. However, 1 oz of pistachios contains just 159 calories.

That said, nuts are generally higher in calories compared to some other foods.

Learn more about daily calorie intake here.

3. Packed with antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that play a critical role in health. They reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases by preventing damage to the body’s cells.

Nuts and seeds contain several antioxidant compounds, but pistachios may have higher levels of some antioxidants than other nuts.

Research reports that pistachios have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, as they include:

Learn more about the best antioxidant foods here.

4. Good for eye health

Pistachios are a rich source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which are essential for eye health.

According to the American Optometric Association, lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the chances of developing chronic eye conditions, such as cataracts. They can also help to protect against age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD and cataracts are among the leading causes of blindness in the United States.

Eating a healthful diet, including pistachios, is a promising way to help prevent these eye diseases from developing.

Learn about vitamins that are good for eye health here.

5. Beneficial for gut health

All nuts are rich in fiber, which encourages a healthy digestive system by moving food through the gut and preventing constipation.

A type of fiber called prebiotics may also feed the good bacteria in the gut. Feeding the good bacteria helps them multiply and “crowd out” harmful bacteria.

Research shows that eating pistachios, and to a lesser extent, almonds, may increase the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Learn the difference between prebiotics and probiotics here.

6. High in protein for vegans and vegetarians

Pistachios contribute to a person’s daily protein needs, at almost 6 g of protein per 1 oz serving.

Protein accounts for approximately 21 % of the total weight of the nut, making it a good source for vegetarians and vegans, among others.

Pistachios also boast a higher ratio of essential amino acids, the building blocks of protein, than other nuts, including almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts.

Learn the difference between vegans and vegetarians here.

Because pistachios have low caloric values and high fiber and protein content, they may benefit people who wish to manage their weight.

A 2020 study found a daily serving of 1.5 oz of pistachios helped reduce body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference in males and females with obesity, compared to a control group who did not eat an extra serving of pistachios every day.

Learn more about the pros and cons of BMI measurements here.

8. Important for heart health

A 2016 review shows that eating pistachios offers several cardiovascular benefits. Pistachios can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems. The fact that they are high in antioxidants may also help to protect against heart disease.

A 2015 analysis of 21 studies reports that eating nuts may significantly reduce blood pressure in people without type 2 diabetes. Pistachios had the most significant effect of all the nuts tested on lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Learn more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure here.

9. Good for blood sugar balance

Pistachios have a low glycemic index, so they do not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar after someone has eaten them. In addition, they are rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds, all of which can help to control blood sugar.

Research supports the suggestion that eating pistachios can help to reduce the risks associated with diabetes.
A 2017 study finds that a Mediterranean diet, rich in additional olive oil and pistachios, helps lower gestational diabetes, while a 2020 meta-analysis suggests that pistachio nuts might cause a significant reduction in fasting blood glucose levels.

Learn more about the Mediterranean diet here.

10. Reduce colon cancer risk

Pistachios may reduce the risk of some cancers, such as colon cancer, due to their high fiber content.

Scientists demonstrated this in 2017 research that showed that roasting the nuts did not affect their health benefits in relation to colon cancer cells.

Learn more about colon cancer in males here.

A 2020 study suggests that they are. Researchers found that a group of people with overweight or obesity who ate a serving of pistachios every day had a lower body mass index and waist circumference than those who did not eat pistachios.

They also found that the group who ate pistachios developed healthy shifts in their food choices, increasing dietary fiber overall and decreasing their high sugar and high fat foods consumption.

However, it is important to note that the researchers believed these results were because pistachio consumption meant increased dietary fiber intake and a decreased consumption of sweets.

Although pistachios are high in fat and calories, the fat they contain is monounsaturated fat. This type of fat can help lower low-density lipoproteins (LDL), or bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of stroke.

The American Heart Association says that the majority of the fats in a person’s diet should be monounsaturated fat to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems. Eating pistachios in moderation should not affect a person’s weight.

One way to moderate pistachio intake is to buy shelled versions. This can help slow down consumption, allowing the person to realize when they are full and reducing the risk of eating too much.

Learn more about the different types of fat here.

Pistachios are a fiber-rich food source, which means that they help to ease constipation rather than cause it. However, people with nut intolerances or allergies may experience digestive problems, such as diarrhea, gas, bloating, or stomach cramps.

People who suspect they have a nut intolerance should speak to a healthcare professional before introducing nuts to their diet.

Learn more about nut allergies here.

Pistachios release energy slowly, which makes them the ideal snack to have before working out. The protein they contain can also help the muscles to recover after exercise.

Pistachios are also high in vitamin E and other antioxidants, which can help to provide some protection against certain forms of cancer.

They also contain resveratrol, which has shown promise in treating people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

However, the development of such treatment is in its early stages, and there is no evidence to suggest that eating pistachios can help reduce the risk of these conditions or treat the symptoms.

Learn about free radicals and antioxidants here.

Pistachios are a very nutritious food. They offer several health benefits, especially for the heart, gut, and waistline.

Regularly eating pistachios may help improve health and wellbeing. But people should stick to plain, unsalted pistachio nuts in their shells and avoid eating more than 1 oz a day.

Pistachios are available for purchase in most grocery stores and online.