Pistachio: A Superfood for Cancer Prevention and More

Did you know pistachios are a delicious source of good-for-you nutrients? These edible seeds — though still considered a nut for culinary purposes — contain anti-cancer properties and a multitude of heart and eye-health benefits.

Nutritional Gains From Pistachios

Pistachios are related to the cashew, mango, and peach family. They are high in fiber, with a single serving of pistachios containing more fiber than half a cup of broccoli. Overall, they are a good source of various minerals, vitamins, amino acids and more, including:

The gamma-tocopherol form of vitamin E found in pistachios may protect against certain malignant diseases, while phytosterols — a cholesterol-like compound found in plants — may have anti-cancer and heart-health advantages. Moreover, the high contents of arginine in pistachios may help enhance blood flow throughout the body, while the abundance of phytochemical lutein in the seed promotes excellent eye health. Let’s dive deeper below.

The Link Between Pistachios and Cancer

Data presented at a Cancer Prevention Research Conference in Houston revealed that adding a handful of pistachios to your daily diet may play a role in preventing lung cancer development.

According to the researchers in a statement to the press, “It is known that vitamin E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer. Higher intake of gamma-tocopherol, which is a form of Vitamin E, may reduce the risk of lung cancer.” They continued, saying “Pistachios are a good source of gamma-tocopherol. Eating them increases the intake of gamma-tocopherol, so pistachios may help to decrease lung cancer risk.”

At the conclusion of a six-week controlled clinical trial, the researchers found that the subjects who ate pistachios had significantly higher serum gamma-tocopherol and vitamin E levels than the control group not eating the nuts.

One of the study authors shared, “Pistachios are one of those good-for-you nuts, and two ounces per day could be incorporated into dietary strategies designed to reduce the risk of lung cancer without significant changes in body mass index.”

Pistachios for the Heart

Pistachios contain three remarkable heart-healthy substances, including high phytosterol gamma-tocopherol, arginine, and high monounsaturated fat content. As a result, pistachios make an excellent addition to your diet to help combat heart disease and improve blood circulation. These nuts also contain antioxidants that improve immune function.

Clinical studies have found pistachios to boost actual heart health as well. Subjects who ate at least twenty percent of their calories as pistachios for three weeks had reduced levels of oxidative stress, which causes damage to cells and triggers an onset of many different diseases.

Eat Pistachios for a Healthier You

Whether eaten as a snack straight from their shells, chopped and added to cereal and oatmeal, or used as a delightful coating for fish and chicken — pistachios are tasty, nutritious, and may prevent cancer development, among other benefits. As always, however, mind your portions because too much of anything is never a good thing. 50 to 85 grams of pistachios is ideal, which is about one or two handfuls a day.