Pistachios are delicious when eaten raw and are a great snacking option. These nuts are also great for cooking. There are many health benefits associated with pistachios. Eating pistachios during pregnancy can offer many advantages. Despite being small in size, these foods are actually rich in protein and other nutrients, making them an excellent addition to your pregnancy diet. Just remember to eat them in moderation during pregnancy. This article tells you about the benefits, risks and precautions while consuming Pista during pregnancy.
You can get pistachios with or without their shells. Craving pistachios during pregnancy is not rare. Pregnant women can choose from raw, roasted, salted, and flavoured pistachios.
The Nutritional Value Of Pistachios
According to a source, 28 grams of Pista (which is almost around ¼th cup) provide 163 Kcal of energy. Despite being a rich source of energy, pistachios are low in calories and pack a punch with other nutrients. Pistachios get their green colorings from lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids with strong antioxidant properties.
28 grams of Pista also contains
- Carbs: 7.67 grams
- Fiber: 2.8 grams
- Protein: 5.7 grams
- Fat: 13.3 grams (90% are unsaturated fats)
Pistachios are rich in vital minerals. 28 grams of Pista provide
- Calcium: 29.1 mg
- Magnesium: 29.7 mg
- Phosphorous: 127
- Potassium: 274
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Pistachios are a rich source of folate and contain a significant amount of B vitamins. The calories in pistachios are lower than most other nuts, and the protein content is higher than most others. They also have the highest level of essential amino acids of any nut.
Can I Have Pistachios While Pregnant?
Due to their high protein, fibre, and mineral content, pistachios are highly recommended for pregnant women. When consumed in excess during pregnancy, anything can be harmful rather than beneficial, so never cross the limit to reap the maximum benefits. Pistachios should also be eaten in moderation during pregnancy, as is the case with all healthy foods during pregnancy.
8 Benefits Of Having Pistachios During Pregnancy
Pistachios contain proteins and monounsaturated fats. It is rich in antioxidants and one of the foods that are amazingly rich in vitamin B6. It also contains vital minerals like phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. Pistachio also holds a significant amount of omega 3 fatty acids. All these elements play a crucial role in providing nutrition to the mother and also help in fetal growth.
Following are 8 amazing benefits of pistachios during pregnancy
1. Aids in fetal growth and development
Pistachios are a good source of protein, with a higher ratio of essential amino acids than most other nuts1. Therefore, a moderate intake of Pista during pregnancy helps the development of the fetal muscles and tissue development. Moreover, pistachios contain many B-complex vitamins (including riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and folate) which are essential for the growth and development of the fetus.
2. Prevents anemia
Pistachios contain a significant amount of iron2. Iron intake is extremely important during pregnancy. Women’s iron needs double during pregnancy. Iron contributes to the production of red blood cells, and thus reduces the chances of getting anemic during pregnancy. There are several issues caused by anemia during pregnancy, including preterm labor (in extreme cases).
Tip*: Eating pistachios with citrus fruits and tropical fruits will maximise iron absorption.
Related Reading: Eating Kiwis During Pregnancy- Benefits And Side Effects
3. Balances the lipid levels
Both raw and roasted pistachios contain a lot of fat. However, most of that comes from heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. The monounsaturated fats in the pistachio nut help keep your cholesterol levels low. Thereby, it balances the lipid levels which is very important during pregnancy.
4. Healthy fetal brain
Pistachios are high in omega-3 fats. Omega-3s are beneficial for fetal brain development when consumed throughout pregnancy. Therefore, munching on pistachios during pregnancy enhances healthy fetal brain development.
Related Reading: 12 Best Foods For Baby Brain Development
5. Boosts immunity
The immune system is the first line of defense against infections. Boosting immunity is very important during pregnancy. Pistas are rich in various vitamins. Being rich in B vitamins, this nut can effectively fight infection. Moreover, it contains a decent amount of magnesium, zinc, and selenium that lower the risk and severity of viral infections. Carotenoids, polyphenols, and protein in the pistachio also help to increase immunity during pregnancy and to improve overall health.
6. Helps prevent joint pain
As a result of swelling and inflammation, many mothers experience joint pain during pregnancy. Eating pistachios reduce the pain caused by inflammation of the joints. Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of pistachio against oxidative stress and inflammation. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the polyphenols present in pistachios. Due to these anti-inflammatory properties, eating pistachio during the third trimester helps in fighting joint pain and swelling which is most common during this phase of pregnancy.
Related Reading: 15 Home Remedies For Swollen Feet During Pregnancy
7. Helps prevent constipation
As stated above pistachio is rich in fiber. In fact, fiber accounts for about 10% of its weight. The fibers in the Pista contribute to regular bowel movements. Thus, crunching Pistas can act as an easy home remedy for constipation, which is a common complaint during pregnancy.
8. Reduce the risk of gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes
The health benefits of pistachios may extend to blood vessel health. The reason is that they contain L-arginine, a nutrient that converts to nitric oxide, which dilates the blood vessels. This helps to maintain healthy blood pressure throughout pregnancy. In fact, studies show that pistachios effectively lower SBP (systolic BP) and DBP (diastolic BP).
Compared to other nuts, pistachio has a significantly low glycemic index. It has been found that eating pistachios significantly reduced blood glucose levels in women with gestational glucose intolerance (GIGT) or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)3. Pistachios are rich in nutrients like fiber, healthy fats, as well as antioxidants, carotenoids, and phenolic compounds which help manage blood sugar levels.
How Many Pistachios Should I Eat In A Day?
As with anything consumed in excess, pistachios can be harmful to the body regardless of their nutritional benefits. During pregnancy, you should avoid eating more than 24 pistachios per day. That’s roughly one to two hands full. Excessive intake of pistachios during pregnancy can cause complications.
Risks And Precautions Of Eating Pista During Pregnancy
When consumed in excess, pistachio can lead to excessive accumulation of oil in the body, causing nausea and headaches in the pregnant woman. Consuming an excessive number of pistachios during pregnancy can result in muscle weakness and preterm labour.
Risks while eating Pistas:
Pistachios can cause the following risks and side effects when eaten in excess:
- Increases the risk of excessive weight gain
- May cause high blood pressure
- Due to Pista’s high content of fructans, overindulging in them could cause digestive problems during pregnancy
- Increases the risk of kidney stones
- A pregnant woman will also be adversely affected by these nuts’ heat-inducing properties
Precautions while eating Pistas:
- It is advised to avoid salted versions of pistachio during pregnancy as high sodium intake can cause pregnancy complications
- Pistachios contain the chemical compound anacardic acid (urushiol), which can trigger allergic reactions. Pregnant women with nut allergies should avoid pistachio altogether
How To Eat Pista During Pregnancy?
Pistachios are available in both the shelled and in-shell form in the grocery store. There are many ways to eat pistachios, and while they aren’t as versatile as other nuts, they can still be enjoyed in many ways, such as:
- Eat it as a snack: Raw pistachios or roasted pistachios are probably the most popular choice for pregnant women
- As salad garnish: If you want a nutty twist on lettuce or arugula salads, sprinkle shredded pistachios on top. You can also purée pistachios and mix them with oil and herbs to make a nutritious, creamy salad dressing
- Use it in desserts: Pistachio is a very versatile ingredient when it comes to desserts. These nuts can be easily incorporated into many desserts. Pistachios can be mixed into desserts such as ice cream and pudding or sprinkled on top to give it a nutty flavor
- Sauces and dips: Ground pistachios make a flavorful and versatile base for sauces and dips, such as pistachio-yoghourt sauce
- Add it to dough: Pistachios can be ground and added to dough to give it a thicker texture. It also improves the protein content of dough.
Nuts like pistachios are important components of a healthy diet. Pistachios are a healthy snack during pregnancy that contributes to a balanced diet. Aside from being naturally low in sodium and sugar, pistachios are also known to promote heart health, weight loss, and blood sugar regulation. Additionally, pistachios have also been declared to be a complete protein, which means they contain all nine essential amino acids. While you can enjoy this shelled nut snack during pregnancy, pay attention to your portion size. Expecting mothers are easily tempted to overindulge in nuts and seeds, especially salted ones. Last but not least, when eating, always listen to your body, especially if you’re pregnant.
It is better to keep pistachios in their shells. Unshelled pistachios can be stored in the refrigerator for about three months. If they can be frozen, they can last for about 12 months.
But if you want to store the shelled ones, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three months. However, frozen pistachios can last for longer (more than a year).
Pistachios contain the highest concentration of melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep. Due to their high melatonin content, pistachios are the best solution for insomnia.
Therefore, if you are facing sleep deprivation, the best time to eat Pista during pregnancy would be before bedtime.
Pistachios can be eaten either raw, roasted, or cooked. There are no health benefits or additional benefits to roasted Pistachios over raw Pistachios.
Raw nuts are typically the healthiest type of nut since they have no added oil, salt, or any other additives.
You can soak pistachios in water before eating them. The soaking of pistachios increases their nutritional value and makes them softer. This improves their digestibility as well. Soak pistachios for 5-6 hours to reap the benefits.