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 [1,9], and triglyceride levels [9].
  • Significant reductions in triglyceride levels in adults with type 2 diabetes [2], and decreases in fasting blood glucose, insulinemia [3], HOMA-IR, and fructosamine [4].
  • Improvements in the number of beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria – thereby potentially improving gut health [5].

What makes them unique?

  • Pistachios (along with almonds) have the most protein of all tree nuts, providing 20g of plant protein per 100g – or 6g in a 30g handful.
  • They contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine. Arginine is converted to nitric acid in the body which causes blood vessels to relax and remain elastic, preventing blood clotting.
  • Pistachios are one of the few nut sources of resveratrol – a powerful antioxidant with anti-ageing, anti-cancer, anti-viral and cardioprotective properties [6]. 
  • Pistachios contain high levels of melatonin [7,8], which has been linked with getting a better night’s sleep and improving sleeping disorders, like insomnia.

More nutrition facts

  • When it comes to the fatty acid profile of pistachios, they contain predominantly heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, along with plant sterols.
  • Pistachios are a source of gut-loving fibre, which is vital for a healthy digestive system. They contain 9g fibre/100g, or 2.7g in a 30g handful.
  • Pistachios are high in vitamin B6, important for energy production.
  • They are also a source of vitamin E, 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 four months and frozen for up to six 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.
  7. Meng X., et al. Dietary sources and bioactivities of melatonin. Nutrients, 2017. 9(4): 367. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409706/
  8. Lasso J. and Yeboah-Awudzi M. Melatonin content of raw and roasted pistachios. Louisiana State University. https://americanpistachios.org/about-us/pistachio-power-unshelled/press-releases/study-finds-american-grown-pistachios-contain
  9. Hadi, A., et al., Consumption of pistachio nuts positively affects lipid profiles: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 2021. DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2021.2018569
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