Like all tree nuts, pistachios are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals beneficial to health. Regularly eating nuts has been shown to contribute to heart health, reduce overall mortality and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, assist with weight management, reduce the risk of cancer, improve sperm quality, reduce depression and overall promote good health. 

A 30g serve is around 30 pistachio kernels.

Nutrient Per 100g Per 30g
energy
Energy (kJ) 2542 763
macronutrients
Protein (g) 19.7 5.91
Total fat (g) 50.6 15.2
Saturated fat (g) 5.8 1.74
Monounsaturated fat (g) 26.7 8.01
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 16.1 4.83
Omega 3 ALA 320 96
Carbohydrate (g) 15.8 4.74
Sugars (g) 5.9 1.77
Dietary fibre (g) 9 2.7
minerals
Calcium (mg) 90 27
Copper (mg) 1.4 0.42
Iron (mg) 3.9 1.17
Magnesium (mg) 100 30
Manganese (mg) 1.1 0.33
Potassium (mg) 950 285
Selenium (ug) 1 0.3
Sodium (mg) 7 2.1
Zinc (mg) 2.3 0.69
vitamins
Thiamin (mg) 0.6 0.18
Riboflavin (mg) 0.3 0.09
Niacin (mg eq) 5.7 1.71
Folate DFE (ug) 51 15.3
Vitamin B6 (mg) 1.5 0.45
Vitamin E (mg) 4.1 1.2
other
Arginine (g) 2.1 0.6
Sterols (mg) 213 64
Polyphenols (mg) 1657 497

Health effects

In addition to the health benefits that all tree nuts provide, pistachios have been associated with: 

  • Highly consistent favourable effects on total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and LDL:HDL cholesterol ratio [1].
  • Significant reductions in triglyceride levels in adults with type 2 diabetes [2], as well as decreases in fasting blood glucose, insulinemia [3], HOMA-IR, and fructosamine [4].
  • Improvements in the number of beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria, therefore potentially improving intestinal health [5].

What makes pistachios unique

  • Pistachios are one of the few nut sources of resveratrol – a powerful antioxidant linked with anti-ageing, anticancer, antiviral and cardioprotective properties [6]. 
  • They contain the highest amount of protein of all the nuts with high amounts of the amino acid arginine. Arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body which causes the blood vessels to relax and remain elastic. 
  • Pistachios are high in vitamin B6 – important for energy production.
  • Pistachios are a source of fibre – important for a healthy digestive system and helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer, and are also a source of vitamin E. 
  • They contain predominantly monounsaturated fats, with less polyunsaturated fats, as well as plant sterols, which are important for helping to keep the heart healthy.
  • Pistachios are a source of protein and monounsaturated fat. They are also a source of copper, thiamin and niacin.

Where they are grown

The major pistachio production areas are along the Murray River Valley between Swan Hill in Victoria and Waikerie in South Australia. Further plantings are located in central west Victoria and Pinnaroo in South Australia. A central commercial processing facility is located in Robinvale in Victoria. Pistachios are also grown in the USA, Iran and Turkey.

Forms and best eaten with…

  • Pistachios are mainly sold in their shell, lightly salted, but they are also available as raw unsalted kernels.  
  • Pistachios make great pesto – combined with basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan cheese. 
  • With their vibrant purple and green colour, they look and taste great in biscuits like shortbread and biscotti, or as a crust on fish and chicken.

Storage

Remove nuts from plastic bags and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to 4 months and frozen for up to 6 months. Remember, bringing nuts back to room temperature before eating can help them taste nuttier.

References

  1. Neale, E., et al., The effect of nut consumption on heart health: an updated systematic review of the literature. 2018. Nuts for Life, unpublished.
  2. Sauder, K.A., et al., Effects of pistachios on the lipid/lipoprotein profile, glycemic control, inflammation, and endothelial function in type 2 diabetes: A randomized trial. Metabolism, 2015. 64(11): p. 1521-9.
  3. Hernandez-Alonso, P., et al., Beneficial effect of pistachio consumption on glucose metabolism, insulin resistance, inflammation, and related metabolic risk markers: a randomized clinical trial. Diabetes Care, 2014. 37(11): p. 3098-105.
  4. Ribeiro, P.V.M., et al., Effect of chronic consumption of pistachios (Pistacia vera L.) on glucose metabolism in pre-diabetics and type 2 diabetics: A systematic review. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2019. 59(7): p. 1115-1123.
  5. Ukhanova, M., et al., Effects of almond and pistachio consumption on gut microbiota composition in a randomised cross-over human feeding study. Br J Nutr, 2014. 111(12): p. 2146-52.
  6. Kursvietiene, L., et al., Multiplicity of effects and health benefits of resveratrol. Medicina (Kaunas), 2016. 52(3): p. 148-55.
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