Crunchy, chewy, nutty and slightly earthy; pistachios are a delicious addition to my morning breakfast. 

morepistachiosThe pistachio is a desert plant and seems to have originated in the more arid regions of the fertile-crescent before making its way to arid climates around the globe. Pistachios have been a part of human diet for thousands of years with evidence of early nut-cracking tools and pistachio remains dating back to 78,000 years ago. Although the pistachio is often lumped into the ‘nut’ category, it is actually a seed, similar to the cashew.

From a culinary perspective, pistachios are an amazing addition to both savory and sweet dishes, not to mention a stand-alone food that is delicious and nutritious.  Seeds and nuts alike are a great source of energy and protein, pistachios being part of that equation. There are many examples of traditional foods that include the delicious pistachio, from chicken and fish to baklava. I personally love to give them a quick toast in a pan and then add them to salads, stir-fries or baked goods.

pistachioclusterFrom a nutritional perspective, pistachios are a great addition to your healthy diet. They contain higher amount of protein than many nuts and are lower in calorie. They are significant source of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They are high in potassium and phosphorous and have trace elements of other minerals like zinc, copper, manganese, and calcium. Research suggests that pistachios contribute to heart health and contributes to balance cholesterol, as well as managing blood sugar. Several other studies demonstrated that people who ate pistachios for 24 weeks lost an average of 0.7 inches from their waists, reduced cholesterol by 15 points, improved their blood sugar, and lowered inflammation. The consumption of pistachios seemed especially beneficial for individuals with metabolic syndrome.

The only caveat: avoid bleached or processed pistachios.