Pistachio /Pistacia vera/ is a low bushy tree that is characteristic of the mountainous regions of Western Afghanistan, Iran and Turkmenistan. The pistachio nut is one of the oldest known nuts in human history. The first information about them was found on the territory of Syria and Iran, then in Greece and other European countries.
Today pistachios are grown in Greece, Spain, Italy, Iran, USA, Turkey, Asia, Australia. Approximately half of the world's market yield is supplied from Turkey.
The tree reaches a height of up to 10 meters. It is a desert plant that is distinguished by its high tolerance to saline soils. It is also resistant to temperature fluctuations. The fruit is a hard whitish drupe that contains an edible elongated nut. The nut has a pale blue outer shell and light green flesh.
Pistachios are clustered on the tree. When the fruit ripens, the shell of the nut cracks open with a characteristic sound. Pistachio nuts are harvested at night because during the day the tree releases essential oils that make you dizzy. Every two years, the tree gives an average of about 50 kg of nuts.
According to a number of specialists, pistachios are the most caloric compared to other nuts. It is characterized by a high content of vitamins, amino acids and mineral substances. The nuts contain 55-60% fat, among which unsaturated fatty acids predominate and between 18-25% protein. Pistachio is extremely rich in vitamin E – a strong natural antioxidant.
Pistachio nuts are a very good source of phosphorus and vitamin B1. The content of vitamin B6 in pistachios is the same as in beef liver. Pistachio belongs to the group of products with the highest antioxidant value. These are also the only nuts of their kind that have a large amount of lutein and zeaxanthin – substances that improve eyesight.
Pistachio selection and storage
Buy only well-packaged nuts, on the packaging of which the producer and expiration date are clearly mentioned. Like all other nuts, pistachios require proper storage.
Due to the presence of a high amount of fat in the nuts, any reheating is a prerequisite for their rancidity and the development of fungi. Store pistachios in a cool, ventilated place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Some chefs even recommend that after unpacking the pistachio, it should be stored in the refrigerator.
Never buy peeled nuts, because they quickly lose their taste qualities, become moist and even go rancid. In addition to the unpleasant taste that is produced, it is possible to develop food poisoning, which is very dangerous. Avoid eating nuts that have a changed taste - bitter or sour, as well as those with a bad appearance, traces of mold and moisture.
Pistachio has been used in cooking for more than 2, 500 years. In the Ancient East, for example, it was considered a symbol of wealth and success. Nowadays, throughout the world, pistachio dishes are considered elite. In Stockholm, for example, Nobel prizes are given to pistachio ice cream.
The oil extracted from these nuts is one of the healthiest cooking oils. It has a very pleasant aroma and taste, and is considered to have very good soothing properties. In addition to cooking, pistachio oil can be used for massages, in aromatherapy and in the cosmetic industry.
Pistachios are used to prepare non-traditional dishes and unusual flavor combinations. It is used to make confectionery, ice cream and other food products.
It is added to chocolates and candies. Pistachio enriches the taste of chicken and pork, duck, cream soups. Ground pistachios are added to cakes, sweets, creams and meat dishes. In elite restaurants, with champagne or fresh dessert wines they offer roasted pistachios in lemon juice.
Benefits of pistachios
Thanks to its high nutritional values, pistachios are recommended for the recovery of fatigue. Nuts are useful for strong mental and physical exertion, because they remove fatigue and improve self-esteem. Pistachios have an extremely beneficial effect on the brain.
The improves the cardiovascular system, eliminate palpitations, reduce the predisposition to heart diseases. Regular consumption of pistachios improves liver function. Pistachio helps cure jaundice, removes stomach and liver colic, cures anemia and increases potency. It is beneficial in diseases of the respiratory system.
It is a common belief that cholesterol levels are kept normal with diets or various medications. Experimental studies have proven that pistachios are as much as seven times more effective than traditional remedies.
Pistachios are very beneficial for people with diabetes, according to one of the latest studies. When pistachios are consumed with high-carbohydrate foods, the former slows the absorption rate of carbohydrates, which can lead to lower blood sugar levels.
Another study proves that the consumption of 50-100 g of pistachios daily reduces blood pressure in a state of stress. Lowering blood pressure is associated with a reduced risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease. Daily consumption of pistachios can reduce chronic inflammation, which in turn reduces the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
It turns out that pistachios significantly improve the performance in bed. It is believed that the nut is extremely useful for men with erectile dysfunction and after only 2-3 weeks of intake, the problems in this area decrease.
Pistachios are extremely useful when following a diet. They have the highest fiber content of all nuts. Regular consumption of fiber helps to lose weight and control blood sugar. Fiber, on the other hand, helps reduce cholesterol and maintain proper bowel function. They prevent constipation and regulate digestion.
The high content of vitamin E in nuts makes them an excellent food for maintaining the youth and beauty of the skin. The vitamin also absorbs free radicals that cause premature aging. They are also a source of gamma tocopherol - an important fat-soluble antioxidant that maintains the strength of the cell membranes of the mucous membranes and skin.
Specialists recommend the consumption of these nuts in case of fatigue and to restore an exhausted organism. They are useful for both physical and mental stress. If you have a busy day at work or need to prepare for an exam, a handful of pistachios will help the brain and improve concentration. After only 20 minutes, the miraculous effect of these delicious nuts is noticeable.
Since pistachios contain large amounts of folic acid and biotin, they can be eaten before going to bed. They help with poor sleep, problems falling asleep and waking up at night. They give a feeling of satiety and significantly improve the quality of sleep. Of course, to get the most out of their benefits, you need to consume them raw, because roasted nuts with a lot of salt are not as healthy and can even be harmful.
Harms from pistachios
Although very healthy, pistachio nuts can cause dangerous reactions in people with allergies. It is among the most highly allergenic nuts, so be careful with its consumption if you are prone to such conditions. On the other hand, even if you don't have an allergy, pistachios are very salty, which also makes them harmful to some groups of people. High amounts of salt can cause increased blood pressure nausea and dizziness. Do not consume too many of these nuts, because although they are low in calories, the salt in them is harmful.