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Pistachios are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants, and fiber. Possible benefits include boosting heart health, managing blood sugar, and reducing colon cancer risk.
Here are 10 evidence-based benefits of eating pistachio nuts.
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
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
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
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.
Learn more about the best antioxidant foods here.
4. Good for eye health
Pistachios are a
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
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.
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
Protein accounts for approximately
Pistachios also boast a
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.
Learn more about the pros and cons of BMI measurements here.
8. Important for heart health
Learn more about systolic and diastolic blood pressure here.
9. Good for blood sugar balance
Pistachios have a
Research supports the suggestion that eating pistachios can help to reduce the risks associated with diabetes.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.