Wonderfully delicious pistachio nuts have long been cherished as the symbol of wellness and robust health since ancient times. The kernels are enriched with many health-benefiting nutrients essential for the optimum health.
Pistachio is a tree nut obtained from fruits belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, of the genus: Pistacia. The plant is a medium-sized, broad, bushy, deciduous tree, believed to have originated in the mountain ranges of West-Asia and Turkey region (Anatolia). Male and female trees (dioecious) grow separately. Several cultivars exist; however, the most popular variety grown for the commercial purposes is Kerman cultivar which is one of the tastiest and best quality pistachios coming from the Kerman region of Iran.
Pistachios grow well under hot, dry summer and cool winters. They are currently being cultivated on a larger scale in the USA, Iran, Syria, Turkey, and China. After plantation, it takes approximately eight to ten years until the plant produces its first major crop. Once established, it keeps bearing fruits for many years to come.
During each season, the tree bears heavy clusters of fruits which appear somewhat like that of a grape bunch. Pista fruit, in fact, is a drupe (fruit with a large, central located single seed), and it is this seed kernel what actually a sought-after, “pistachio.” On its exterior, a mature fruit features hard, an off-white color shell which splits open exposing a light green, oblong shape kernel inside. A pista kernel measures about 2 cm in length and 1 cm width and weighs about 0.7-1 gm.
Archaeology shows that pistachio seeds were a common food as early as 6750 BC. Pliny the Elder writes in his Natural History that pistacia, “well known among us”, was one of the trees unique to Syria, and that the seed was introduced into Italy by the Roman Proconsul in Syria, Lucius Vitellius the Elder (in office in 35 AD) and into Hispania at the same time by Flaccus Pompeius. The early sixth-century manuscript De observatione ciborum (“On the observance of foods”) by Anthimus implies that pistacia remained well known in Europe in Late Antiquity. Archaeologists have found evidence from excavations at Jarmo in northeastern Iraq for the consumption of Atlantic pistachio. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were said to have contained pistachio trees during the reign of King Merodach-Baladan about 700 BC.
The modern pistachio P. vera was first cultivated in Bronze Age Central Asia, where the earliest example is from Djarkutan, modern Uzbekistan. It appears in Dioscurides as pistakia πιστάκια, recognizable as P. vera by its comparison to pine nuts.
Additionally, remains of the Atlantic pistachio and pistachio seed along with nut-cracking tools were discovered by archaeologists at the Gesher Benot Ya’aqov site in Israel’s Hula Valley, dated to 780,000 years ago. More recently, the pistachio has been cultivated commercially in parts of the English-speaking world, such as Australia along with New Mexico and California in the United States, where it was introduced in 1854 as a garden tree. David Fairchild of the United States Department of Agriculture introduced hardier cultivars collected in China to California in 1904 and 1905, but it was not promoted as a commercial crop until 1929. Walter T. Swingle’s pistachios from Syria had already fruited well at Niles, California, by 1917.
12 Amazing Benefits
Pistachios help in reducing bad cholesterol, LDL and increases good cholesterol, HDL in the body thus preventing heart diseases. It also increases strength of the nerves making heart stronger.
Pistachio benefits include the presence of vitamin A, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties reducing the inflammation in the body caused due to any problems.
60% of the daily required phosphorous is present in a cup of pistachios which can prevent even type-2 diabetes. Also phosphorous in pistachios helps in breaking down proteins into amino acids resulting in glucose tolerance.
Haemoglobin And Blood
Vitamin B6 is the protein that helps in carrying oxygen in the blood. The high quantity of B6 in pistachios if taken daily can increase the oxygen quantity in the blood and increase the haemoglobin count in it.
Vitamin B6 is present in high concentration in pistachios which is very beneficial to nervous system. Amines are the messaging molecules in the nervous system. In order to develop, they need amino acids which are dependent on vitamin B6 presence in the body. This vitamin builds a sheath called myelin around the nerve fibers. And messages pass via Nerve fibers from one nerve to another. Vitamin B6 helps in building many amino acids which help in proper transmission of nerve impulses.
Macular degeneration is an age related eye disease which slowly reduces the eye vision making adults unable to read and work properly. It makes them unable to recognize people as well. Free radicals attack the cells and damage them resulting in macular degeneration. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are two anti-oxidants that are found in Pistachios which fight against these free radicals and destroy them preventing the cells from damage and thus preventing macular degeneration.
Vitamin B6 is very important for a healthy immune system. This helps in building blood and proper blood supply throughout the body.
Vitamin B6, that is present in high quantity in pistachios helps in increasing the haemoglobin count in the blood. This oxygen rich blood is then supplied to the brain making it even more active.
Glands like spleen, thymus, etc become healthier and work properly with good supply of blood containing more white blood cells (WBC) that is required to fight against infections.
Vitamin E is very essential for a healthy skin and this anti-oxidant is present in pistachios. It integrates the cell membranes of the mucous membranes of the skin membranes. It protects skin from harmful UV rays, prevents from skin diseases and makes skin healthy and more beautiful.
Vitamin E present in pistachios is helps fight ageing process of skin and making you look younger. oil present in this nut has emollient properties helping skin to moisturize and keep it from drying. It is used as aroma oil, medicinal massage oil etc.
Prevents Cancers And Infections
Vitamin B6 helps in increasing the blood count. The WBC or white blood cells help in preventing infections and various cancers.