Pistachios

Pistachios ~ Super Nuts & Seeds

These super nuts originated in the Middle East and are one of the oldest flowering nut trees in the world, with evidence suggesting that people have enjoyed them from as early as 7,000 B.C.

Today, in China, this little power house is often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year as a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune, perhaps for good reason.

While enjoyed around the world for their crunchy, delicious taste, new research continues to show the big health benefits of these little pistachio nuts.

Nutritional Powerhouse

Pistachios are a nutritional powerhouse, containing more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients including thiamin, potassium, fiber, magnesium and vitamin-B6.

And more good news for fans: studies have shown they deliver a number of health benefits including help with managing diabetes and reducing risk for some cancers and cardiovascular disease.

Lung Cancer

A daily dose of pistachios may help reduce the risk of lung and other cancers.

This is because these super nuts are a good source of gamma-tocopherol (a form of vitamin-E), which is thought to help in the fight against cancer.

It's known that vitamin-E provides a degree of protection against certain forms of cancer.

Higher intakes of gamma-tocopherol, which is a form of vitamin-E, may reduce the risk of lung cancer.

Cardiovascular Health

Pistachios also provide heart healthy antioxidants.

And most of the fat in them, is the 'good' fat that helps lower the risk of heart disease.

Recent research we've read from Penn State found that eating one to two handfuls a day resulted in a nine to 12 per cent reduction in "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.

And according to the Mayo Clinic, eating nuts, including these, reduces your risk of developing blood clots that can cause a fatal heart attack.

Phytosterols, a substance that helps the body from absorbing cholesterol, can prevent arteries from clogging and to keep blood vessels clean.

Diabetes

And a study from the University of Toronto found that when a handful of these super nuts were eaten with a high glycemic index food (like white bread), the pistachios helped to thwart a rise in blood sugar.

They also helped to suppress appetite by reducing hunger-stimulating hormones.

They've also been called the 'skinny nut' because they're one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat and highest fiber nuts. (Each super nut contains 3-4 calories.)

Go Just a Little Nutty

While they may contain fewer calories than many other nuts, portion control is still important to avoid weight gain. (Particularly since they're so dangerously addictive!)

Looking for some ways to add healthy 'nut fat' to your diet without going overboard?

Try these ideas:

~ Top hot or cold cereal with a handful of nuts.

~ Sprinkle a few of them crushed on top of yogurt, low fat ice cream or frozen yogurt.

~ Slice and add to steamed vegetables, chicken, pasta or salads.

~ Add nuts to bread, pancakes, waffles, or muffins.

~ Combine with popcorn for a tasty snack.

Now, if you're wondering what to have for dinner this evening...

Wok-Seared Chicken Tenders with Asparagus and Pistachios

Here's an East-meets-West stir-fry that will soon become a family favorite.

Serve it over rice or noodles, with a simple salad of arugula and orange sections dressed in a light vinaigrette.

Prep: 25 min

Total: 30 min

Makes 4 Servings

Ingredients:

1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil

2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 Tbs. oyster-flavored sauce

1 lb. chicken tenders, (see Ingredient Note), cut into bite-size pieces

1 tsp. chile-garlic sauce, (see Ingredient Note)

4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 c. shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Preparation;

1. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat.

Add asparagus; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken; cook, stirring, for 4 minutes.

Stir in scallions, ginger, oyster sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring, until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Stir in pistachios and serve immediately.

Ingredient Notes:

Chicken tenders (un-breaded), virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately.

Four 1-oz. tenders will yield a 3-oz. cooked portion.

Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded "chicken fingers".

Chile-garlic sauce is a blend of ground red chiles, garlic and vinegar and is commonly used to add heat and flavor to Asian soups, sauces and stir-fries.

It can be found in the Asian-food section of large supermarkets.

It'll also keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.

Nutrition:

Per Serving

Calories: 207

Fiber: 3 g.

Fat: 8 g.

Saturated Fat: 1 g.

Carbohydrates: 8 g.

Protein: 30 g.

Sodium: 269 mg.

Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g.

Cholesterol: 67 g.

Potassium: 324 mg.

Nutrition Bonus:

Folate (35% daily value), Vitamin-A (20% dv), Vitamin-C (15% dv).

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