Have You Tried the Skinny Nut?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  200 comments   :  23,652 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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    I love pistachios. I will stock up on them. - 12/3/2009   6:12:28 AM
  • 149
    I've loved them since I was a kid and my Dad used to bring home bags of the red ones home. My fingers would be stained for days!! - 12/2/2009   7:13:43 PM
  • 148
    Pistachios can be stored up to 3 months in the refrigerator?? Wouldn't last three hours in my home! Thanks for this information. - 12/2/2009   6:36:23 PM
  • 147
    I did not know this about pistashios and the serving size is double the other nuts. I just bought nuts today, so will so back and get pistashios. - 12/2/2009   6:27:14 PM
  • MA1200
    I absolutely love pistachios! I bought some the other day and had to literally stop myself from eating an entire bag. Thank you for this information. - 12/2/2009   2:16:05 PM
    I love them salt and all. Raw Almonds and pistachio's are my favorite snack. - 12/2/2009   2:09:04 PM
  • 144
    I keep pistachios in my snack box at home. I buy them in larger quantities and premeasure them into snack bags so I can just grab a bag and know exactly what I am eating. - 12/2/2009   12:55:49 PM
  • MAGS09
    I love pistachios & will put them on my shopping list - 12/2/2009   11:02:51 AM
    Love the pistachio nut right out of their shells! What a great article! - 12/2/2009   8:40:09 AM
  • PAMIE5
    i love all nuts thier good for you i allways have them in my pantry - 12/2/2009   5:55:51 AM
  • 140
    Great lead! I'm always struggling to get enough potassium in my diet. - 12/2/2009   1:56:39 AM
  • 139
    I love pistachios! One big draw back is the sodium for me. I love em roasted and salted. Not sure if I could go for the unsalted. - 12/1/2009   11:32:54 PM
  • 138
    Once I learned that pistachios did not need to be dyed, I tried them again and decided I had been missing a lot! Nuts are a bit easy for me to get carried away with so I don't eat them often. Maybe if it was easier to buy small quantities AND keep them really fresh. - 12/1/2009   10:53:56 PM
    I love nuts at 10 am, to tide me over until lunch. - 12/1/2009   8:57:16 PM
  • 136
    I love 'em! Was excited to see commercials touting them as the lowest calorie nut.... I crave them desperately at times and wonder if my body craves one of their many nutrients? I get the single serving bags which contain about 30 nuts and they have the shells on.... It takes me longer to open each shelled nut and enjoy them, so they last longer and satisfy me more. I'm already blind, so know I don't need the eye benefits, but maybe my body needs the Vitamin A or potassium? Not sure.... All I know is occasionally I MUST have 'em! Thanks for the info. Happy to read they have the fiber too! - 12/1/2009   8:51:37 PM
  • 135
    Pistachios not only taste good and are good for you, they also take longer to eat if you are shelling them, so that you may eat less. Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it is full. If you shell your nuts and eat one at a time, it may take close to that full 20 minutes. - 12/1/2009   8:24:14 PM
  • 134
    I love pistachios! Now that I know they are less in calories than some other nuts, I will buy them more often. - 12/1/2009   7:56:32 PM
  • 133
    They still have a lot of fat, but shoot, what a great snack to just eat 10 of them. This is great news. - 12/1/2009   6:55:10 PM
  • 132
    I like pistachios, you get a lot of band for your buck. - 12/1/2009   6:21:17 PM
    I love all nuts--terrific - 12/1/2009   6:09:48 PM
  • 130
    I love pistachios and just recently read and heard that they were very nutritional and low in calories! You can eat twice as many as nearly every other nut for the same amount of calories! And they're delicious! I think I'll have some for my snack now :) - 12/1/2009   5:06:17 PM
  • 129
    Love them, but don't indulge often due to sodium restrictions. I don't usually find them as unsalted or low sodium versions like I do for other nuts. I noticed that no sodium info was given for any of the nuts... - 12/1/2009   4:55:48 PM
  • 128
    I admit, after hearing their ads, i went out and bought 3 lbs from costco. I LOVE pistachios and are very glad they're healthy. Plus, it takes longer to crack the shells and you get to eat a lot more per serving than other nuts. Great! - 12/1/2009   3:35:39 PM
  • 127
    I LOVE piastachios. I buy them when they go on sale at my favorite grocery store. I portion them out to half a cup in the shell, and that's plenty, now I may count out 49 of them though and see how that compares to a half cup. - 12/1/2009   2:58:07 PM
  • KIMMERS1962
    I just tried the pistachio for the first time a couple weeks ago. They are now my favorite nut! Thanks for all the nutrition facts, helps to know whats what. - 12/1/2009   2:56:38 PM
  • 125
    I love them, and my Mom, always has them on hand, so when I'm there, at least once a week, I eat them. I was always worried about eating them, but I won't anymore. Thanks for the low down on nuts. - 12/1/2009   2:28:42 PM
  • 124
    I like pistachios straight up - 12/1/2009   2:23:35 PM
  • 123
    YAY!!! now I can eat pistachios more!!! without feeling guilty!!!!!! - 12/1/2009   1:38:26 PM
  • 122
    I love pistachios but have always bought almonds due to reports I had read. I can't wait to go to the store and pick up a different kind of nut after reading this. Thanks! - 12/1/2009   1:25:22 PM
  • BSWEET101
    I love most nuts, but Pistachios are probably my favorite, and we buy some nearly every time we go to Costco (typically once per month). I'll have to remember to start packing these as a snack, perhaps with some dried fruit... - 12/1/2009   12:47:30 PM
  • 120
    It's funny to me that this article is here today: pistachios are part of our holiday snacks, and I've often joked that you get some exercise in getting the shells off. Didn't know about the potassium, so may have to have these much more often! - 12/1/2009   12:46:00 PM
  • 119
    Pistachios is one of my favorite and knowing there are 49 nuts in a serving -- that makes eating them that much better - it takes time to unshell 49 nuts so it stretches out the eating pleasure. - 12/1/2009   12:43:23 PM
    Thanks - love pistachios! and at 49 per ounce that is great - 12/1/2009   12:34:46 PM
    I would Love to eat pistachios, But where does one find the "unsalted" ones??? I can never find them in the grocery store, so where do people find them, please help!!!!
    9:25 am/ pacific time - 12/1/2009   12:30:14 PM
  • 116
    I tend to binge-eat pistachios. Love love love them. But they are expensive in bulk, and when you eat the whole package ...... - 12/1/2009   12:15:45 PM
  • 115
    Thank you for sharing! Love Pistachios! - 12/1/2009   12:13:30 PM
  • 114
    I love pistachios but I'm having a hard time finding unsalted ones. I do love the raw almonds and eat them often. I make a trail mix for my daughter of almonds, multi grain cheerios and a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips. - 12/1/2009   11:53:17 AM
    I love pistachios! This news made me happy. They are one of my favorite treats. - 12/1/2009   11:07:09 AM
    I LOVE any type of nut, especially almonds! When we were younger, my mother would buy pistachios by the crate and have them for a snack wherever she went. - 12/1/2009   10:50:53 AM
  • 111
    I've seldom had a whole pistachio, which is evident if you saw me recently put several nuts including shells in my mouth and start chomping away. What was I thinking? LOL They were probably good; but hard to tell as I was busy spitting the broken shells out after chewing them for a while. - 12/1/2009   10:48:35 AM
  • 110
    One of my favorite nuts...my husband and I eat them on our road trips. We are planning on moving back to New Mexico soon and one of the perks is that pistachios are grown right there and we can buy big tasty bags of them! - 12/1/2009   10:42:07 AM
    I love them but it is really hard to find unsalted ...and then they charge more for less ingredients. - 12/1/2009   10:30:22 AM
  • 108
    According to the nutritional information in the blog, almonds actually have more fiber than pistachios. I am wondering what is correct, since the author states that pistachios have more. Either way, they're both delicious. - 12/1/2009   10:17:56 AM
  • 107
    I love most nuts, not peanuts. We keep a bag of pistachios in the car, but I have to be careful or I can eat way too many. - 12/1/2009   10:16:24 AM
    I love pistachios -- have since I was a kid. What I haven't fallen in love with is getting the shells off! Much like crab legs -- some require a lot of work for a little bit of treat! - 12/1/2009   9:58:46 AM
  • 105
    I eat them EVERYDAY!! I make a blend of Almonds,walnuts &pistashios.. - 12/1/2009   9:32:53 AM
  • 104
    I'm not a fan of pistachios. I do love most nuts, though. Currently, I'm mixing raw almonds, raw walnuts, and slightly salted cashews - just an ounce a day. I don't overeat them when they are raw. But give me a can of salted peanuts and I'll eat the whole can in one sitting! - 12/1/2009   9:26:30 AM
  • 103
    Phew!! I love pistachios. I just bought a large bag of non-salted green treats myself....mmm....now I can enjoy guilt free! - 12/1/2009   9:22:50 AM
  • 102
    I like to mix 2 T of pistachios with 2T craisins and 1/3 C Fiber One cereal for a healthy trail mix. - 12/1/2009   9:15:42 AM
  • 101
    I love nuts, but I've typically stayed away from them because you can only have so few that it was just a tease. So it's good to know you can have twice the amount of pistachio's. I think I'll get some today! - 12/1/2009   9:11:19 AM

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