Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats, fiber, protein, antioxidants, and various nutrients, including vitamin B6 and thiamine. Their health effects may include weight loss benefits, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and improved gut, eye, and blood vessel health.
Interestingly, people have been eating pistachios since 7000 BC. Nowadays, they’re very popular in many dishes, including ice cream and desserts. Here are some interesting facts about pistachios.
Pistachio is a seed
Even tough culinary we treat pistachio as a nut, botanically the edible part of pistachio is a seed as it is contained in a fruit. Harvested pistachio fruits are soaked and then dried. When the fruit ripens, the pistachio shell changes colour from green to yellow and splits partly open.
Pistachios name comes from its smiley looking shell. In China pistachios are known as ‘happy nuts’ and they often given as gift during the Chinese New Year. Pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune. In Iran they are known as ‘smiling nuts’. In Middle East couples would meet under the pistachio trees and wait to see if the nuts might tell them if their relationship will be successful.
Pistachios are one of the oldest "nuts"
Humans have been eating pistachios for at least 9,000 years. They are one of two nuts mentioned in the bible. They were supposedly one of the fruits that Adam brought to Earth and that grew in the Eden. The other nut was the almond.
They are nutrient-dense
Pistachios are a great source of protein, the single serving of pistachios (1oz) has similar amount of protein as an egg (~6g). They provide 30 different vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B6, potassium, phosphorus, thiamine, copper and manganese. They are also a great source of fibre.
The "Pistachio Principle"
The ‘Pistachio Principle’ is pa phrase developed after a preliminary behavioural eating study found that people who snack on pistachios in shell, and leave the shells in the plain sight, consume 41% fewer nuts than those who eat them pre-shelled.