Pistachios Can Help Improve Whole Body Health

From Cognitive Function, to Gut and Skin Health, Emerging Research Examines the Health Benefits of Pistachios

Pistachios are widely known for their health benefits that can positively influence blood sugar, weight management, heart health and immunity. A new research review, published in the journal Plants, reveals the multitude of health benefits provided by pistachios and how they can play a role in improving whole body health.1

Researchers examined the whole-body benefits of pistachios in the following ways:

  • Makeup of important nutrients: Pistachios are a source of heart-healthy mono- and poly- unsaturated fatty acids and are considered a complete protein. Pistachios are a good source of fiber and protein and have at least 15 micronutrients in significant amounts. Additionally, pistachios contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to help boost the immune and antioxidant defense systems in the body while lowering inflammation.
  • Antioxidant potential: Pistachios are made up of many different compounds that may act as antioxidants within the body, including tocopherols, phylloquinone, carotenoids, chlorophyll and flavonoids. In fact, pistachios are among the top 50 foods in total antioxidant capacity and clinical trials suggest that eating pistachios may help to increase the antioxidant response of the body.
  • Emerging areas of research: New research is looking at the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of pistachios and how that might positively influence additional areas of health, including brain and gut health. Research suggests that flavonoids, like those found in pistachios, can have a positive affect on cognitive performance. A variety of animal studies have seen positive results of eating pistachios on cognitive function. Additionally, while more studies are needed to confirm, initial research (clinical trials and animal studies) suggests that pistachios may have a positive affect on the microbiome.
  • Combatting drug resistance: It is well known that plant extracts have important components that may be of use for their antimicrobial and antiviral activity. Initial research looked at the effect of pistachio extracts on different strains of bacteria and viruses and showed promising results. More research is needed, but these early studies indicate that pistachio polyphenols – alone or in combination with existing drugs – may be candidates for developing novel therapies.
  • Potential benefits for skin: Several studies have shown that plant antioxidants have the potential to protect animals from oxidative damage. Emerging research using a model of human skin suggests that the antioxidants in pistachios may help to protect skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation.

Pistachios have been accepted as a nutrient-dense food with a variety of health benefits, and this review article not only summarizes the depth of pistachio benefits but also points to areas of future research that are critical to human health. Pistachios are a convenient, versatile food and their nutrient profile and health benefits make them a great plant-based protein option to include in the diet.

1 Mandalari, G., Barreca, D., Gervasi, T., Roussell, M. A., Klein, B., Feeney, M. J., & Carughi, A. (2022). Pistachio Nuts (Pistacia vera L.): Production, Nutrients, Bioactives and Novel Health Effects. Plants, 11(1), 18. https://doi.org/10.3390/plants11010018