Americans need more nuts in their life. Consumption of the delicious, natural snacks can help with a variety of health issues including high cholesterol and weight gain. Among the most nutritious nuts are pistachios. At less than four calories each, pistachios are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants.
If you are searching for ways to eat healthier and cut back on sugary snacks, add more pistachios to your diet. The nuts are not only delicious, they have a fascinating history and can be consumed in a variety of ways. Here are some interesting facts about pistachios that may make you love the nuts even more.
Pistachios Are Older Than Dirt
Humans began eating pistachios before the dawn of many ancient civilizations. As far back as 7,000 B.C., humans in Asia and the Middle East cultivated pistachios for food. The nuts did not arrive to U.S. Soil until 1854 and commercial production began in the late 1970s. So while others were eating pistachios thousands of years ago, Americans are newcomers to enjoying the healthy nuts.
California is King
Most pistachios consumed in the U.S. are grown in California. In fact, the state produces 98 percent of the nation's pistachios. Other states that grow the nut for commercial purposes include neighbors of the Golden State, Arizona and Nevada, as well as Texas and Utah. While pistachios are a relative new crop compared to other foods grown in America, the U.S. is the world's second leading producer of the nut. Only Iran grows more pistachios.
Pistachios Helps Those With Type 2 Diabetes
Among the many health benefits of pistachios is the ability of the nut to help reduce blood vessel constriction and improve heart functions for type 2 diabetes sufferers during stressful situations. As a result, researchers at Penn State University assert that pistachios are an important component of a heart healthy diet.
Animals Also Love Pistachios
Pistachio growers take great care to make sure their plants thrive in well-drained deep soil. However, their enemies include animals that love to steal the nuts from farms. Animals that love pistachios include jackrabbits, ground squirrels, meadow voles, birds and pocket gophers.
Yummy Raw But Also Great in Recipes
While consuming a pack of salted or unsalted gourmet pistachios is a delicious snack for any time of day, do not limit yourself when it comes to ways to eat the nut.
Some retailers of gourmet pistachios, such as Valley pistachio Country Store, also offer flavored varieties such as chili lime, barbecue, jalapeno and garlic onion. If you are looking for an alternative to spreads for appetizers and sandwiches, you can purchase jars of pistachio butter and paste.
When it comes to recipes that feature pistachios, the options are numerous. When you are feeling adventurous, you can try recipes for pistachio-flavored cakes, cookies, muffins, ice cream, shortbread and more.