It’s called the smiling or happy nut because it looks like it’s cracking a smile. But it’s no joke that the pistachio provides healthy fuel for the body. A 1-ounce serving is about 49 nuts, and all those green kernels have only 160 calories, making pistachios one of the lowest-calorie nuts. Having to pry open a pistachio’s shell can keep you from overindulging. One portion provides 6 grams of protein, about as much as an egg. And like eggs, meat and fish, pistachios are a complete protein, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health. Pistachios are rich in potassium, which helps build and preserve muscles. Another plus: They have high amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, needed to keep eyes functioning at their best. Because of their blend of antioxidants, “good” fats and fiber, the American Heart Association has certified pistachios as heart healthy. As part of a nutritious diet, the nuts can help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
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