Have You Tried the Skinny Nut?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  200 comments   :  26,323 Views

A recent report highlighted what we nutrition minded people have known for a while, which is nuts provide good nutrition in a tasty package. Tree nuts in particular provide heart healthy benefits due to their healthy fat source and also provide a good quality protein from a non-animal source. Many times walnuts and almonds are talked about the most. Recently, more and more commercials have popped up in my region of the country for a small tasty alternative tree nut that may be even more healthy.

The pistachio is a small, egg-shaped nut that slowly grows on trees in a light brown-beige shell with a light-green kernel. Pistachios are high in monounsaturated fats like many other more popular nuts and assist with reducing blood cholesterol and lower risks of cardiovascular disease. Two unique carotenoids act as protective antioxidants in the pistachio and are not routinely found in other popular nuts. Lutein and zeaxanthin have been found to protect tissues from free radical damage especially in the eye. This reduces risks for older individuals related to macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairments and blindness in the United States.

Here is the basic nutritional information for a 1 oz serving of common tree nuts.

Almonds – 24 nuts/oz

Calories – 160

Protein – 6 grams

Total Fat – 14 grams

Saturated Fat – 1 gram

Monounsaturated Fat – 9 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 3 grams

Fiber – 4 grams

Brazils – 6 nuts/oz

Calories – 190

Protein – 4 grams

Total Fat – 19 grams

Saturated Fat – 4 grams

Monounsaturated Fat – 7 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 6 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Cashews – 18 nuts/oz

Calories – 160

Protein - 4 grams

Total Fat – 13 grams

Saturated Fat – 3 grams

Monounsaturated Fat – 8 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 2 grams

Fiber – 1 gram

Pecans – 19 halves/oz

Calories – 200

Protein - 3 grams

Total Fat – 20 grams

Saturated Fat – 2 grams

Monounsaturated Fat – 12 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 6 grams

Fiber – 3 grams

Walnuts – 14 halves/oz

Calories – 190

Protein – 4 grams

Total Fat – 18 grams

Saturated Fat – 1.5 grams

Monounsaturated Fat – 2.5 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 13 grams

Fiber – 2 grams

Pistachios – 49 nuts/oz

Calories – 160

Protein - 6 grams

Total Fat – 13 grams

Saturated Fat – 1.5 grams

Monounsaturated Fat – 7 grams

Polyunsaturated Fat – 4 grams

Fiber – 3 grams

Pistachios provide nutritional benefits like many other tree nuts. Here are few nutritional highlights I think are worth highlighting a bit more. Pistachios provide the most potassium per one ounce serving of any major tree nut. This is extremely beneficial if you battle high blood pressure and need low sodium, high potassium foods to improve your electrolyte balance. Pistachios and cashews provide the lowest total fat and saturated fat per one ounce serving but pistachios also have the additional benefit of providing the most dietary fiber of all tree nuts as well. Pistachios also provide the most thiamin, B-6, and beta-carotene of all tree nuts while also providing a small amount of vitamin A, which is not found in others.

When selecting pistachios it is best to choose those still in the shell and that are unsalted when possible. It is also best to select those that are in their natural light green color versus those that have been dyed. Pistachios may be stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three months and up to six months when placed in the freezer. For this reason, if you find the opportunity to buy them in bulk to save money, it is a safe and cost effective way to go.

Pistachios are known as the skinny nut because they are lower calorie, lower fat, higher fiber nuts that offer the most nuts per serving. If they haven't been in your healthy eating plan, perhaps they should be.

Do you eat pistachios? What is your favorite way to enjoy them?

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  • 200
    I've always felt a bit guilty because I love nuts, and like most people I find it hard to stop at a reasonable amount. I like Ethelmerz's suggestion to portion out at the beginning of the week. I also agree, a side-by-side table would have aided comparison.
    As for pistachios, if you can ever find the genuine ones from Aegina island in Greece, they are well worth paying a little extra for. Otherwise, to get good quality look out for ones that are naturally open, not forced open (cracked with rollers), and of course not dyed. Here in Greece on farmers' markets there is a brief season when fresh raw pistachios are available, still in their pink fleshy outer skins. Mmmmm. - 10/5/2010   11:58:15 PM
  • MASHAE99
    Any nuts in a shell (as well as sun flower seeds) are also good to eat while driving long distance to stay awake because you always have something to do with your other hand. Just make sure you have a cup or something to spit the shells in. - 10/5/2010   10:45:22 PM
  • 198
    I'm surprised that so many people still don't know that nuts are a good snack??? What's with that, it's been on the news for several years. I measure them out for us at the beginning of each week. Worst thing is they are expensive, we buy at Costco, and I put each serving in little reusuable baggies. Can't have a large bag of nuts sitting there, and someone just taking handful after handful out, now THAT would be "off limits"............ - 10/5/2010   9:01:55 PM
    Our whole household loves pistsachios.My Mom who is 90 and still living on her own,got me hooked on pistachios.Favorite treat to find in Christmas stocking.Mmmmmm. - 10/5/2010   2:50:29 PM
  • SLLEE1961
    I eat nuts everyday,but I really thanks for the information. - 10/4/2010   7:36:31 PM
  • 195
    It would be much easier to understand your figures if you presented them side-by-side in a single table. - 10/4/2010   1:03:15 PM
  • 194
    I like pistachios, guess I'll go get some today. - 10/4/2010   11:18:41 AM
  • 193
    i heart pistachios!! yay!!... but, don't buy them much... Now i will!! - 10/4/2010   10:00:32 AM
  • 192
    I love them but have trouble finding the non-salted. Salted is an absolute no no. - 10/4/2010   8:35:29 AM
  • 191
    Ahh, I finally got something right! I love pistachios! Although they are expensive.. Well, now I have a 'guilty pleasure' when I eat them!

    Azimat.. so you will shoot yourself in the foot and not eat something good for you because some advertisement?? We don't have any pistachio ads around here.. so come to Idaho and buy them... - 10/4/2010   7:59:17 AM
    I Love them, but very expensive in my city. Can't find bulk, so buy them shelled in Sea salt. Have to hide them from hubby. Buy in shell when on sale. - 5/4/2010   10:28:34 AM
  • 189
    HA!! I've been buying them at my discount grocery store just because they were rather inexpensive. I didn't know they were the "utlimate nut". awesome! - 4/29/2010   7:41:41 PM
  • 188
    Can't wait to add them to my list of healthy snacks. - 4/29/2010   1:56:55 PM
    I especially love pecans! I put them in my granola and sometimes add them to frozen meals, like last night's Lean Cuisine Chicken dinner- yum! - 3/23/2010   3:24:28 PM
  • 186
    Nuts are great snack foods. Pistachios in the shell take longer to eat and so the treat lasts longer! How great is that? - 3/14/2010   5:10:16 PM
  • 185
    I like pistachios, but my husband really loves them. Can't wait to tell him the good news that they are good for him, too! - 3/13/2010   3:19:33 PM
  • 184
    I love pistacios! They are great snack to satisfy the crunch that I need. I just have to count them out and pack away the rest because I could eat the whole bag if not! - 3/13/2010   10:39:00 AM
    Make consuming those calories more of a challenge by getting the nuts still in the shell. You can't eat them quite as fast! And the shells left behind are a constant visual reminder of how many nuts you have eaten. - 3/12/2010   2:02:46 PM
  • 182
    It's funny - all my life I've been told to avoid nuts because they're too high in fat!! Now they're healthy . . . . . amazing!! - 3/12/2010   1:13:43 PM
  • 181
    I love them! I knew they were a healthy fat, but did not realize the other benefits. Will add them daily to my snack list! - 3/11/2010   4:14:06 PM
  • JENNY2777
    I have always loved pistachios and have tried to stay away from them because I always assumed they were bad for me! So happy to know they are the "skinny" nut. Usually if I like something, it's something I should stay away from. I will definitely be adding pistachios to my grocery list this week and now know the serving size! Thanks for the great info! - 3/11/2010   3:44:06 PM
  • IN102WIN
    I love them!!!!! - 3/11/2010   3:39:01 PM
  • 178
    I would have never know. Thank you for sharing. I will be buying some in bulk and keep them for a snack or to incorporate into a lunch. - 1/16/2010   11:25:19 AM
  • 177
    Love pistachios, great snack. Yummy!!! - 1/5/2010   9:02:12 AM
    I received pistachios for a Christmas gift from one of my co-workers. So yummy! - 12/23/2009   9:47:15 PM
    Always one of my favorites.

    When I was a kid all pistachios I saw were colored red and every time I enjoyed a bag my fingers would become red as well. Then I saw both colored and naturally colored nuts and was told that red colored pistachios were from Persia and uncolored tan ones from California. I haven't seen red pistachios in years so I guess all of them come from California now.

    Probably my favorite of all is the Macadamia nut. I don't have them much any more because they are so expensive and my mother-in-law who lives with is is so allergic to them that we don't even bring them into the house. - 12/15/2009   11:46:21 AM
  • 174
    That's great if you can stop at one portion but they are not "skinny nuts" if you eat half the bag like me. - 12/10/2009   1:08:56 PM
  • 173
    LOVE THEM! and at 49 per oz, much more satisfying than almonds! - 12/9/2009   11:20:48 PM
  • 172
    I'm boycotting pistachios because their ads are in such BAD taste. - 12/9/2009   10:42:34 AM
  • 171
    Pistachios are perfect! Fun to eat and satisfying to the taste buds and need for crunch. Almonds and dried cranberries are a good snack in the car too! Thanks for the great article and reminder about serving size too! - 12/8/2009   2:30:53 PM
  • 170
    I love pistachios and all other types of nuts. My problem is stopping at the single serving size. - 12/7/2009   11:23:46 PM
  • 169
    I have never had a pistachio...but I want to go out and try them now! - 12/7/2009   5:05:25 PM
  • 168
    I love pistachios and eat them quite often as my go to snack. - 12/7/2009   1:34:49 PM
  • 167
    I had no idea that pistachios were so good for me! (and who knew that you can buy them raw?!?) - 12/7/2009   9:18:08 AM
  • 166
    Love pistachios but I can't keep them in the house because I have been known to eat the entire bag in one day (I'm not talking about a small single-serving bag either). - 12/7/2009   9:01:58 AM
  • 165
    I keep pistachios on my desk...lol, everyone comes in to spend time and have a quickie snack once in a while. LOVE them. - 12/7/2009   12:21:31 AM
  • 164
    I love pistachios but I thought they were off limits! Where CAN you find the raw ones? - 12/6/2009   8:51:18 PM
    well you learn something new everyday ~ I always stayed away from pistachios eventhough I love them soo much cuz I thought they were baaad!! - 12/6/2009   8:17:38 PM
  • 162
    I LOVE pistachios and was happy to read this good news about them. They don't last too long in our house, but I find that like other nuts, freezing makes them last better than refrigerating. - 12/6/2009   9:45:15 AM
  • 161
    I need to try pistachios. My husband loves them, it would be a healthy (for a change) snack for him too. - 12/5/2009   8:13:03 PM
  • 160
    I love the above chart that tells me just how many make up "a serving" and I love that pistachios are so good for me. Good article! - 12/5/2009   12:22:20 PM
  • MARSHA48
    I love Walnuts and Cashews. Keep a bag next to my computer all the time.
    Heathy? YES! They sure are. It hlped me lower my TOTAL Cholesterol levels in 4 Months time, this last check up. : ) - 12/5/2009   9:52:19 AM
  • 158
    I never knew they were this healthy, though I do love them. I will mix them up with the raw almonds. Thanks for the tip to premeasure otherwise I could easily eat more servings. I don't remember seeing any lower in sodium, and just from the taste I think they would be high? - 12/4/2009   2:52:43 PM
  • 157
    I love pistachios! They are my favorite nut! Besides my husband :o)! - 12/4/2009   2:05:01 PM
    Pistachios are great! Thank you for the information about them. I was not aware. Now, I'll be adding them to my grocery list :-). - 12/4/2009   12:08:05 PM
  • 155
    I love pistachios! I keep a bag of them, along with bags of almonds, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds as well, in my car for a healthy snack. It keeps me out of the fast food drive-thru and they taste so good! - 12/4/2009   10:39:41 AM
  • 154
    I absolutely love pistachios! I tend to eat way too many but I've gotten much better at it. - 12/4/2009   5:09:57 AM
  • 153
    I love them, so glad to know that you can have more of them then the other nuts. - 12/3/2009   8:23:27 PM
  • 152
    I discovered them on a trip to southern New Mexico last Spring and fell in love! Nice to know that it is a good addiction to have. - 12/3/2009   4:39:27 PM
    This is great information about heart healthy nuts. - 12/3/2009   11:17:19 AM

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