Pistachios are a great snack (especially if you are rather hungry) because you get to eat more nuts per ounce than any other nut (ex: 49 pistachios vs. 22 almonds). Pistachios also take more time to eat. A good nutritional mantra is..
When in doubt, eat slower.
This gives your body more time to process that you are eating, while sensing the nutrients and amounts of foods, so that you can properly feel satisfied.
Pistachios give us the trifecta of satiety (fat, fiber, and protein) while also hitting on two other key fullness factors – providing a larger volume of food for the same amount of calories (49 nuts vs. 22) and requiring you to eat slower (shelling each nut before eating it). For me, 2 oz of pistachios is a great snack that takes a while to eat since you have to shell almost 100 nuts (unless my kids get in on the action and shell them for me or eat them before I can)!
As a side benefit, pistachios are also good for your heart. When I was a graduate student at Penn State, one of my fellow labmates and graduate students, Sarah, was running a clinical trial looking at the heart health benefits of snacking on pistachios. Sarah found that a diet containing pistachios:
- Increased anti-oxidant status (we don’t often think about nuts as a source of anti-oxidants, but they can be)
- Improved the function of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol)
- Reductions in Total, LDL, and Non-HDL cholesterol (non-HDL cholesterol is a way of looking at all of your cholesterol molecules that can promote heart disease – beyond just LDL cholesterol)
- Reductions in blood pressure
- Reductions in resting heart rate
I encourage my clients to consistently reach for pistachios as their mid-afternoon snack – do you snack on pistachios? If not, give it a try and let me know how it goes by posting a comment below or connecting with me on twitter or instagram.