The Snack Potential of Pistachios


A Pistachio on End

Pistachios are antioxidant heavy hitters, and yet, they aren't big on the radar of the general public.  Nuts may be one of the most ignored snacks, and that might be because of their fat content.  But for both dieting and long term lifestyle improvement, pistachios, and nuts in general are a great example of just how to choose a snack.

Nuts are all nutrient rich.  Yes, they have some calories, but these calories come largely from healthy fats.  Mixing up nuts is a great way to get a whole spectrum of healthy fats.  For pistachios, the magical nutrient is known as gamma-tocopherol.  This form of vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant.  Cancer researchers tout it for its cancer-fighting properties.  On top of its antioxidant qualities, pistachios have potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B6. 

So the 14 grams of fat per 50 nut serving is a daunting number for some.  But again, these aren't empty fat grams, they pack protein and fiber in the mix.  In addition, pistachios include a snacking-friendly perk.  Those shells prevent undue mindless snacking.  Each nut takes a bit of work to get into, and it takes a few minutes to get through a whole serving of them, unlike a bag of chips out of the snack machine. 

They make a great pre-dinner snack, offer up a bit of fat to help with feelings of satiety and satisfaction in a meal or snack, and do a great job of tiding one over until dinner is on the table. 

For maximum health value, choose pistachios that are in the shell, and roasted without salt, or at least, only lightly salted.  Their wonderful flavor and nutritional value need not be loaded with sodium to be enjoyed.

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