Pistachios, The Antioxidants Powerhouses

A recent study conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal “Nutrients” provided surprising results about the richest antioxidant sources and found Pistachios antioxidants amongst the top antioxidant food.

A good amount of research on antioxidants has clearly suggested that an antioxidant rich diet can prevent disease & promote longevity.

Fruits and vegetables are a commonly recommended source of antioxidants.

However, this study found that, Pistachios are amongst the highest antioxidant foods. Infact, their antioxidant tendency is even higher than that of the highest antioxidant reported foods like berries.

Pistachios Antioxidants Research Study

Researchers from Cornell university studied the potential mechanisms behind these strong antioxidant tendencies of pistachio nuts.

They analyzed pistachios to determine:

The antioxidant power of Pistachios.

Whether the pistachio extract has an ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in a lab setting.

Research Methods Used

The two methods ORAC(Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) and CAA (Cellular Antioxidant Activity), were used by researchers to measure the antioxidant potential of pistachios. The CAA method is a very physiologically relevant method of measurement and is more accurate than the chemical based methods. It can measure how the cells take up or absorb the antioxidants. This means that it can tell the bioavailability of the antioxidants found in pistachios. The more bioavailable a food is, the more our body will be able to absorb its goodness. The less bioavailable beneficial compounds are more excreted than absorbed.

Both these methods proved that the antioxidant capacities of pistachios is higher than that of antioxidant powerhouses like berries, cherries and beets. The same methods were used to measure the antioxidant capacities of these foods too. Researchers concluded that such strong antioxidant tendencies of pistachios could be due to the presence of unique compounds in them, such as, vitamin E, carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids. All these beneficial compounds together generate a strong positive interaction which could be responsible for the powerful antioxidant tendencies of pistachio nuts.

We encounter free radicals daily in a number of ways. This could be the encounter with toxins in environment, the stressful situations we go through and even the normal aerobic metabolism, all can generate free radicals. When our diet is deficient in antioxidants, then free radicals pile up and damage our body in a number of ways.

Free radicals attack healthy body cells and damage them. This damage can contribute to inflammation, aging and chronic health conditions including heart disease and cancer. This nut is also high in copper and manganese and is also a source of selenium, zinc, riboflavin and Vitamin E. 

Pistachios antioxidants and Cancer

The pistachio extracts in this study, also showed potent anti-proliferative activities against breast, liver and colon cancer cells, without causing cytotoxicity to the cells. An exceptionally high anti-proliferative activity was seen against breast cancer cells.

The researchers reported that the findings of this study open doors for future research to study the exact mechanisms behind these anti-proliferative activities of pistachios.

It is also interesting to note that population studies have also shown that a high nut consumption is linked to less occurrence of certain cancers.

Also Read: Are Pistachios better than Almonds?

Pistachios used in the Cornell study were grown in California. These have a good nutritional profile and may differ slightly from the pistachios grown in other countries.   

FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)

Is pistachio anti aging?
Yes, because pistachios are very rich in anti-oxidants which fight free radicals. The free radicals cause aging and disease.

Can arthritic people consume pistachios?
Pistachios are low in oxalates and hence a better nut option for people with arthritis or people prone to joint pain in general.

Are Pistachios better than almonds?
Pistachios are amongst the low oxalate nuts while almonds are a highest oxalate nut. So, consuming pistachios is a better choice for people prone to joint pain, arthritis & kidney stones.

My name is Amanpreet Kaur Samra. M.S. Biochemistry. I'm the founder and writer of this blog. I have been teaching Biochemistry for a good number of years. I started this blog because I have always been very passionate about writing, in particular about Nutrition and Healthy Weight Loss.

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