Golnaz Ghomeshi Friedman, RDNMeet Pistachio Ambassador, Golnaz Ghomeshi Friedman

Golnaz Ghomeshi Friedman, RDN
Transplant Dietitian, University of California Davis Health 
President, CA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2018-2019


Growing up in a Persian household, you would never find a living room coffee table topped with magazines and TV remotes. Instead, the coffee table was the home of bowls of pistachios, mixed nuts and dried fruit – always on display and ready to enjoy! Pistachios have been a part of my diet for as long as I can remember. Pistachios or “pisteh” are used in everything from snacks to savory dishes to baked goods. To this day, you can always find a jar of pistachios in my pantry and if you go to my parents’ home, well, you can find pistachios on the coffee table, the dinner table and the pantry! Pistachios are a staple in the Iranian culture and have always been a staple in my diet.

Today, in my role as a Transplant Dietitian, I am thrilled to share my love of pistachios with patients in a way that benefits them. Not only are they delicious, but pistachios contain many nutrients that my patients require post-transplant. As with many other surgeries, protein needs after transplant surgery are high to aid in recovery and wound healing. Additionally, a common side effect of the immunosuppressive medications that my patients require is hypophosphatemia. Pistachios are a great source of protein andphosphorus – two nutrients that are very important in the initial post-transplant phase. Last but not least, I love to recommend intake of pistachios for their high fiber content. Establishing regular bowel movements post-surgery is critical in our patient population and a serving of pistachios can help move things right along! 

As a dietitian, it has always been very important for me to make recommendations for my patients that are realistic. I always ask myself, “Is this something that I would be willing to eat? Is this something that my family would be willing to eat?” For this reason, I love recommending pistachios! There are so many ways to enjoy them – whether they’re sprinkled on top of a bowl of oatmeal, mixed into a savory dish, or sitting in a bowl on my parents’ coffee table to enjoy as a snack. There is always an easy way to take advantage of the amazing nutrients this nut provides!