|This is not exactly what I was talking about, when I said "going nuts", but in this case it would actually qualify as "going pistachios" ;-)|
So what is it pistachios can do for you?
With their traditional use as a remedy for digestive, liver and kidney issues, you already have an idea where this could be heading. The shelled fruits of which we know that they have been part of the human diet for at least 9,000 years and that's cultivated in the Middle East, United States and Mediterranean can however do more for you:
Histidine happens to be an excellent chelator and potential weight loss adjuvant, as well (learn more)
- Metal chelators: A 2011 study by Orhan et al reports that pistachios (P. terebinthus fruits) are potent metal chelators (on par with EDTA) and have an impressive radical scavenging activity. Interestingly engough, the Antioxidant activity of the fruits actually seems to increase, when they are roasted (Orhan. 2012).
- DNA protection: More or less a downstream effect from the high content of antioxidant compounds, specifically gallic acid, digallic acid and 1,2,3,4,6-pentagalloylglucose, and polyphenols have direct protective effects on cellular DNA and pro-carcinogenic mutations.
Antimicrobial activity (incl. anti H. Pylori): Certainly among the most interesting effects are the anti H.Pylori effects of α- pinene, a compound from the essential oils in pastachios (speficifally P.atlantica var. kurdica). Other ingredients, like verbenone, rterpineol, and linalool showed high antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis (Koutsoudak. 2005).
You can battle H. pylori with probiotics, as well. If you want to learn more about this, I'd suggest you go back a couple of months and read the full story in the SuppVersity Short News from October 2012 (go for it)
- Anti-inflammatory activity: Extract of the resin of P. lentiscus var. Chia and its isolated phytosterol tirucallol exert direct anti-inflammatory effects on human aortic endothelial cells and inhibit the activity of adhesion molecules that express the inflammatory cytokine TNF-α (Tzakou. 2007). Tzakou et al. ascribe the effects to phytosterol that goes by the name if tirucallol - never heard of it? Me neither, but who knows on which supplement label you may find it in the future ;-)
- Digestive health: I already mentioned this in the introduction. One of the most important traditional uses of gums from Pistacio species is the management of gastrointestinal disorders; and that has been confirmed by several studies (Rahimi. 2009 & 2010; Farzaei. 2013). Resin of P. lentiscus has been shown to significantly reduced the intensity of gastric mucosal damage induced by pyloric ligation, aspirin, phenylbutazone, reserpine and restraint with cold stress via its antisecretory and cytoprotective activities (Al-Said. 1986)
Suggested read: Supplements to Preserve and Restore Insulin Resistance (read more)
This would suggest that there is a direct correlation with carbohydrate intake, and voilá a 2007 human study confirmed that the gum, not the leaf extract can effectively, lower blood serum glucose levels in men... however, there is another "on the other hand attached here": this did not work for the female study participants (Triantafyllou. 2007).
The Protective Hull of These 61 Super Fruits Can Ward Off Cancer (more)
Rezaei et al., for example were able to show that the fruit extract of P. atlantica sub. kurdica exerts direct inhibitory effects on human colon carcinoma cells that was comparable to the drug Doxorubicin (Rezaei. 2012). Another example? Well what about the anti-breast cancer, anti liver-, anti cervical and anti skin-cancer effects of oleoresin (Almehdar. 2012)
- Hypolipidemic effects (=lowering high blood lipids): Extracts from P. vera fruits have shown beneficial effects on HDL and LDL level in rabbit model of atherosclerosis, they exert positive effects on the lipid levels of patients with moderate hypercholesterolemia (Edwards. 1999). And have several animal studies to support their anti-artherogenic effects (e.g. Bakirel. 2003)
|Brazil nuts & selenium: "How much is too much?" A weighty question I addressed in a July 2013 SuppVersity article: "Brazil Nuts & Selenium: Are You Nuts If You Have More Than One Per Day?" (more)|
Note: Actually everybody can "afford" eating nuts, it's more a question of being able to stop before the whole 500g family pack is annihilated... and trust me, if you love nuts, this can happen pretty fast, even if you have to shell them as it is the case with pistachios.
Last but not least, in traditional Iranian medicine, certain ingredients in pistachios are known to exhibit various additional pharmacological activities incuding diuretic, lithontripic, anti-tussive, anti-rheumatic, anti-asthmatic, anti-hypertensive, and aphrodisiac effects of which Bozorgi et al. point out that the "are not [yet] supported by any current scientific documents and so, they could be considered for investigating by researchers." (Bozorgi. 2013)
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- Avicenna.The canon. Translated by: A . Shrafkandi. Soroush Press, Tehran. 2008.
- Bakirel T. The Investigation of the Effects of Pistacia terebinthus L. Upon Experimentally
Induced Hypercholesterolemia and Atherosclerosis in Rabbits. Turk. J. Vet. Anim. Sci. 2003; 27: 1283- 1292.
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