Pistachio is nut that belongs to the cashew family and is believed to have originated in Central Asia and the Middle East. The tree extensively grows in the regions of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Tunisia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, India, Egypt, Afghanistan, etc and in some regions of Australia and California in the United States.
It’s the seed nuts that are of interest and are considered one of the best foods given by nature. Many historic writings or scriptures mentioned about pistachio from as early as 6000 BC. Pre-dating this, archeologists have also found evidence that pistachio was consumed 78,000 years ago in Israel.
Pistachio tree takes about 10-12 years to start producing the fruits, which are drupes that contain the edible seed. These fruits are produced year long and are not seasonal. Today, pistachio is one of the very important nuts and is a highly valued commercial crop. One can find processed pistachios such as unshelled, sweetened, salted among others. But, dont go for sweetened or salted or other flavored pistachios. Just buy unshelled pistachios. They are healthy.
Source: Athletic Performance Tc
Health Benefits of Pistachio for kids
Here are some of the health benefits of pistachio for kids.
Good source of protein
Pistachios are a good source of protein. 100g of pistachios contain 20g of protein, which is quite a high number. This number is high when you compare it with eggs and chicken which stand at 12g and 17g respectively, according to USDA.
Good source of energy
Pistachios are also good source of energy, as they contain 560 kcal of energy per 100g. This would mean that giving pistachios for kids at breakfast can keep them healthy and energetic a lot longer than conventional breakfasts.
Low in sugars
While pistachios are high in protein and energy, interestingly they are low in sugars. At 100g, pistachios only contain about 7g of sugar and a total of 27g of carbohydrates. This makes it an ideal food for everybody, even children. This can mean that you can actually keep tab on your child’s sugar consumption.
Supplies important electrolytes
Apart from this, pistachio is also a good source of potassium. Potassium is a better electrolyte than sodium. But most of us lack potassium in our system and have high amounts of sodium, thus leading to high blood pressure. On the other hand, if we look at pistachios, their potassium content is very high. As high as 1025mg for 100g and sodium stands just at 1mg and this is remarkable for any food.
Is a good source of vitamins
Pistachios are a good source of essential vitamins such as vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, folate, vitamin A and vitamin E. Each of these vitamins plays an important role in maintaining the health of your child. For example, vitamin C is needed for strengthening the immune system, riboflavin plays an important role in energy production in the body, thiamine helps in breaking down fat and protein, vitamin B-6 helps in several body functions such as digestive system, immune system, muscular and nervous system, etc.
Has good amount of dietary fiber
Pistachio also contains high amount of dietary fiber, which is 10g for 100g of the nuts. This amount of dietary fiber makes sure that your children will have easy bowel movement. This is particularly important nowadays, because of the increasing concern about constipation, which is found even in children.
Can make your kids smarter
Pistachios as mentioned earlier, with their high amount of vitamin B-6 can help in smooth functioning of the nervous system and improves nerve impulse transmission. This in turn means that your kids’ brain functioning is improved.
Can strengthen the immune system
As mentioned, pistachio with its vitamin C and vitamin B-6 supply, make sure that your kids’ immune system is also strengthened to fight against infections causing bacteria and viruses. Apart from this, pistachios can also help in increasing the production of white blood cells.
Is a good source of antioxidants
Pistachios are also a good source of antioxidants. These antioxidants have a role to play in various parts of the body including free radical scavenging, reducing inflammations and immunity building, etc.
Nutrition in Pistachio
According to the National Nutrient Database from the US Department of Agriculture, nutrients found in pistachio include
|Nutrition||Value Per 100 g||Nutrition||Value Per 100 g|
|Water||4.37 g||Energy||560 kcal|
|Protein||20.16 g||Total lipid||45.32|
|Carbohydrate||27.17 g||Fiber||10.6 g|
|Sugar||7.66 g||Calcium||105 mg|
|Iron||3.92 mg||Magnesium||121 mg|
|Phosphorus||490 mg||Potassium||1025 mg|
|Sodium||1 mg||Zinc||2.2 mg|
|Copper||1.3 mg||Manganese||1.2 mg|
|Selenium||7.0 mg||Vitamin C||5.6 mg|
|Thiamin||0.870 mg||Riboflavin||0.160 mg|
|Niacin||1.3 mg||Pantothenic acid||0.520 mg|
|Vitamin B-6||1.7 mg||Folate||51 mg|
|Vitamin A||26 mg||Vitamin E||2.86 mg|
Allergies and Side Effects of Pistachio
- Just like many nuts, pistachio can be allergic to some people. This is especially true in case of kids.
- As pistachio belongs to the family of Anacardiaceae which also include other plants such s poison ivy, sumac, mango and cashew, there should concern about the possible allergens that pistachio might contain.
- Some of the symptoms of allergies caused by pistachio can include itchy and watery eyes, sneezing and coughing. In some cases, one can find that the person might develop diarrhea and/ or nausea and others might develop symptoms of asthma and hives. In severe cases, the allergen can cause anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening.
- If your family has a history of any food allergies, particularly nut allergies, then it is best to keep away from pistachio. Children can be more susceptible to food based allergies. While in some cases, the allergies might disappear as your child grows older, but in others, the allergies might continue even in adulthood.
- You can use cross-reactivity with other tree nuts to make an estimate. If your child is allergic to cashew, then there is a high chance that he or she might be allergic to pistachio as well.
- In any case, if you notice the above mentioned symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Sometimes, it could life threatening also.