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Nutritional Benefits of Pistachio Nuts

By Lisa Thompson

Raw pistachios are a low-sodium food -- a delicious way to stay within the 1,500 milligrams of daily sodium recommended by the American Heart Association. The sweet nuts are also chock-full of nutritional benefits.One quarter cup of raw pistachios supplies essential nutrients, including healthy fats, protein and vitamins and minerals.

Calories and Carbohydrates

One quarter cup of raw pistachio nuts contains 173 calories, most of which come from fat. Like most nuts, pistachios are low in carbohydrates, and one cup contains only 8.5 grams. The same amount of pistachios also has 3.2 grams of fiber, or 11 percent of the daily recommendation for an adult under 50 years old on a 2,000-calorie diet, according to the Institute of Medicine.


One quarter cup of pistachios contains 6.2 grams of protein, which is 13 percent of the daily recommendation for women and 11 percent for men. Although pistachios do not contain all of the essential amino acids, they do contain significant amounts of some amino acids, especially arginine and phenylalanine. Phenylalanine can boost mood, decrease pain and curb appetite, while arginine can boost the immune system, according to Phyllis A Balch's book, "Prescription for Nutritional Healing."


One quarter cup of pistachios contains 14 grams of fat, and most of this is made up of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Pistachio nuts contain no trans fats or cholesterol. Pistachios also contain phytosterols, which can work to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestines, reports Balch.


One cup of pistachios contains 44 percent of the daily recommendation for copper, which is essential for bone, red blood cell and collagen formation. One cup also provides more than 20 percent of your needs for phosphorus and more than 15 percent for manganese. Phosphorus is important for energy storage, and manganese is used in bone formation and cholesterol metabolism. One cup of pistachios also supplies more than 10 percent of the your magnesium and potassium requirements.


Pistachios are low in vitamins A, C and E, but they contain large amounts of two of the B vitamins. One cup supplies 40 percent of your needs for vitamin B-6 and more than 20 percent for thiamine. vitamin B-6 assists in the metabolism of amino acids and glycogen. Thiamine, also known as B-1, is important for proper digestion, brain function and appetite.

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