Q: Nuts provide protein. Pistachios particularly are a great source of protein. Please share more on this with us.
A: It is a known fact that amino acids are the building blocks of protein and our body needs 20 different amino acids to grow and function properly. Out of 20, nine are ‘essential’ amino acids as they are not produced by the human body, so they must be obtained in food. Also, a majority of plant-based foods are ‘incomplete’ proteins as they are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Hence the best way is to combine two complete proteins at once or, within a day to create a complete protein. It is now considered that roasted pistachios are a complete protein source for those who are over five years old.
California pistachios qualify as a complete source of protein. According to the Food and Drug Administration, a complete protein is a food that contains “all the 9 essential amino acids in adequate amounts” and that is present in roasted pistachios.
Q: What are some of the reasons one should include pistachios in their diet?
A: Pistachios are a great source of healthy fats. Loaded with fiber, protein, Vitamin B6, potassium, thiamine, copper, phosphorous and powerful antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, it has the lowest calorie.
Hence you can have more pistachios in a single serving as compared to any other commonly consumed nut.
The results from the largest randomized clinical trial to date on nuts and diabetes showed that eating about 2 ounces of nuts a day for 3 months, as a replacement for carbohydrate foods, may improve long-term blood sugar control and LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
Research also shows that adding pistachios to different common carbohydrate foods, such as rice and pasta, was linked to reduced relative blood sugar response of the meal.
Q: Is eating pistachios seasonal as most of us consume pistachios in winters. Can one consume in other seasons too?
A: It is a myth and not true at all. Rather eating a handful of nuts like pistachios should be a part of everyone’s daily and balanced diet.
Q: Any recommendation on the time of eating pistachios? Or the best time to snack on them?
A: It is entirely up to you as different people have their own lifestyles. The idea is to stop craving for unhealthy snacks by keeping portable California pistachios at hand. A recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that people who snacked on pistachios experienced lower blood sugar levels immediately following a meal.
Q: Your recommendation on the quantity of pistachios one should eat in a day?
A: To make pistachio eating enjoyable and balanced, we should take one-ounce serving of California pistachios size that equals 49 nuts – that’s 160 calories of salty-sweet satisfaction! Also studies show the act of cracking open pistachio shells slows down how fast you eat, reducing your chance of overdoing it at snack time.
Q:How does a normal consumer select the best pistachios as there are varieties of pistachios available? Which one should one go for?
A: Not many of us know that only two countries produce the biggest yields of pistachios: the United States and Iran. In the United States, pistachios are primarily grown in California. What makes these two kinds of pistachios different is the fat content. California pistachios are lower in saturated fats (1.5 grams per serving) and high in protein (6 grams), making them a healthier choice than their counterparts from other countries. Hence it gives you another reason to include them into your daily diet and open up one more avenue of healthful snacking.
Q: Nuts are perceived by some people that it leads to weight gain? If no, can you dispel this myth?
A: Good fats cannot make you unhealthy and one should stop blaming them for making us put on weight. Good fats are definitely needed for so many bodily functions. Basically, it is the poor sedentary lifestyle, overeating junk, toxic emotions, poor sleep patterns, that actually lead to weight gain.
You will be surprised to know that researchers recently discovered that eating as much as 20% of calories from California pistachios may not lead to weight gain, but it may provide the added benefit of improving health!
California pistachios are also one of the lowest-calorie nuts with just 160 calories in a single ounce, which is equivalent to 49 pistachios. Also, the act of opening each pistachio shell to get out the nut slows down the eating process, which leads to greater satisfaction and fullness after eating.
Luke Coutinho is a celebrity lifestyle coach in the field of Integrative Medicine. He is the founder of Luke Coutinho Holistic Healing Systems Pvt Ltd. Luke’s approach towards prevention and healing revolves around four important pillars: balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, quality sleep and emotional detox.
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