What it is: Lightly salted pistachio nuts
As I’m sure you’ve read before (and seen on package labels), current scientific evidence suggests that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease — as long as you don’t increase the amount of food (calories) you’re eating. This statement is true for almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, walnuts and the pistachio nuts that are today’s FeaturedBite. We’ve selected new roasted and lightly salted Wonderful Pistachios because we’re pistachio fans, and because of this version’s lighter salt taste.
Salted Wonderful Pistachios contain 160 milligrams sodium per 30-gram (about 1 ounce) serving; the unsalted, no sodium and this new lightly salted variety contains half the sodium, only 80 milligrams for a half-cup of pistachios in their shells. That same half-cup also provides 160 calories, 3 grams fiber and 6 grams protein. As for fat – yes nuts are mostly fat, but 90 percent of the fat is the healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. For comparison, a handful of 49 nuts has about the same calories as 13 potato chips, with lots more good stuff.
Pistachios are also a good source of thiamin, magnesium and phosphorus, and are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese; so get crackin’!
Bryan: If you haven’t seen one of the new pistachio commercials on TV by now, well… where have you been? Their list of “celebrity” endorsers is long and distinguished, if not actually infamous in some cases. Familiar faces currently promoting the pistachio include pop-culture icons such as the Angry Birds, Honey Badger and Kermit the Frog, as well as other more “normal” people like the Winklevoss twins, Khloe & Lamar, as well as Wee-Man, Rod Blagojevich and even a dominatrix.
The point of the ads is that while everyone has his or her own manner of crackin’ (opening) a pistachio, it really doesn’t matter how you do it, as long as you’re doing it! Angry Birds do it on the fly… Honey Badger does it bad ass… Kermit does it cause he’s green… So, what’s your M.O.? No matter; you should be crackin’ and here’s why.
There is growing evidence showing that a diet that includes tree nuts is associated with a healthier heart. The problem? Nuts in general are quite high in fat and calories. So, choose your nuts wisely, as there are good ones and “eh” ones (thankfully, none are actually bad for you). Though we all need some fat in our diets, the real trick is to choose the right “fatty” foods to compliment your nutrition, one ideally containing good fats (unsaturated) rather than bad fats (saturated). Pistachios, as a form of tree nuts, are a great snacking choice for a healthy diet because they contain almost 90 percent unsaturated fat.
Beyond just being low in fat, pistachios are also high in good things, including being a good source of dietary fiber. In fact they are among the highest fiber-containing nuts. Each serving provides 12 percent of your recommended daily fiber value.
Don’t like the cracking process? First of all, how could you not? It’s a big part of the fun and with the shells acting as a natural barrier, you’ll consume 50 percent fewer of them on average than if you were eating pre-shelled nuts. Amazingly, eaters in blind studies reported feeling equally as satisfied as the group consuming twice as much! This means a better overall snacking experience without all the guilt and calories. So, get crackin’!
Eric: It’s amazing to me when I realize I’m writing about a nut, a stand-alone, unadulterated agricultural product that has recently grown in popularity enough to compete with the almond and the almighty peanut. For years I was under the impression that the pistachio was an “evil” nut, ranking high on my list of “bad nuts” (generally for their high comparative fat content) just between the sultry macadamia and the sensual cashew. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Pistachios contain 90 percent unsaturated fat — in layman’s terms, eating them will help benefit the health of your heart. Roasting and lightly salting the pistachio adds a subtle flavor to the otherwise palatable nut. Chock full of fiber, magnesium and vitamin B6 (a substance important to the health of the body’s neurology), pistachios are a wonder(ful) nut…body’s neurology), pistachios are a wonder(ful) nut…
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