Native to the Middle East, according to American Pistachio Growers, pistachios have always been viewed as a delicacy in that region. In fact, in Persia, involvement in the pistachio trade or ownership of pistachio groves was equivalent to an elite or wealthy status. Known for their colorful green appearance, are said to have become popular in America during the 1880s when first imported by Middle Eastern travelers. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that crops of pistachios emerged throughout California—and later in Arizona and New Mexico. Today they remain a popular crop in all three of these regions, though the majority are grown in California.
As far as nuts go, these nuts are a healthful choice that pack in a lot of nutrition. Pistachios contain antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, are a naturally cholesterol-free snack, and are rich in fiber and potassium, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And with six grams of protein per serving, they are considered part of the protein group, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Research published by the American Diabetes Association has also indicated that they may have some positive effects on health. For instance, one study found that eating a handful of pistachio nuts per day, as part of a healthy diet, may help people with pre-diabetes to improve their condition and also avoid developing diabetes or other diseases.
There are clearly lots of great reasons to eat pistachios. But it’s important to note they’re not only loved for their nutritional value but also their unique, earthy taste. These colorful green nuts have such a distinct color and flavor that they’ve even become a popular ice cream flavor. Of course, there are many delicious ways to eat these protein-filled nuts.
You can get more pistachios in a one-ounce serving—49 nuts—than any other snack nuts. A single one-ounce serving is just 160 calories. To count as one PowerFuel on the Nutrisystem plan, you can have two tablespoons of of this superfood. While they are delicious to enjoy on their own, that’s not the only way to fit more into your day.
Here are five ways you can enjoy the power of pistachios:
1. As a Topping
Add crushed pistachios atop your favorite oatmeal, yogurt, smoothie bowl, salad or even avocado toast like in this awesome recipe > As a topping, pistachios add crunch, flavor and added nutritional value to whatever you’re eating.
2. Baked or Mixed In
There are a plethora of recipe ideas for baked goods that use pistachios. Look for healthy muffin recipes if you’d like to find a nutritional way to bake pistachios into your breakfast treat! You can also make pistachios part of your healthy frozen yogurt bark > Or as a hearty base for Pistachio Protein Bombs >
3. As a Crust
Pistachios can serve as a crunchy and healthy crust for chicken or fish meals, such as in this delicious and healthy salmon dish >
4. As a Spread
Did you know you can turn pistachios into a spread, just like you can with peanuts? There are various recipes out there that will tell you how to make your own—or you can buy it premade to spread on your whole wheat toast or bagel!
5. Blended into a Smoothie
Pistachios can add a delicious nutty flavor—and some serious nutritional power—to your smoothie when blended in.