World Pistachio Day: A Global Chance to Celebrate the Wonderful Green Nut
February 26th is World Pistachio Day, so why not take a moment to reflect on the amazing history and modern day health benefits of this wonderful nut?
Originating from the Middle East, pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, with evidence suggesting that humans were enjoying them as early as 7,000 BC. Pistachios were first planted in California in the 1930s. It took nearly 10 years of careful research and breeding before the California pistachio was finally perfected. Today, California produces more than 450 million pounds of pistachios each year making it a leading producer of pistachios worldwide.
Going Nuts for Pistachios Across the Globe
In China, the pistachio is known as the “happy nut” because it looks like it's smiling.
Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune. Israel has the world's highest per capita consumption of pistachios as 85 percent of Israelis eat nuts and seeds at least once a month.
In India, pistachios are considered a “hot food” and are believed to help keep the body warm and are typically enjoyed during the cold winter months.
In France, pistachios are served as part of the occasion known as aperitif, a light beverage and snack served before a meal to stimulate the appetite. In Korea, “Daeboreum” or “Full Moon” day is celebrated on February 6 of each lunar year. On this holiday, friends and families gather together to drive evil spirits away with the sounds made by cracking open pistachios.
Pistachios are enjoyed around the world and in many different languages: die Pistazie in German, pistaches in French, 开心果 in Mandarin Chinese, pista in Hindi, pistache in Spanish and 피스타치오 in Korean.
While many eat pistachios purely for their delicious taste and satisfying crunch, the pistachio is also stacked full of nutritional goodness.
Celebrate the Nutritional Benefits of California Pistachios
New research continues to come to light showing the positive benefits of pistachios:
* Pistachios, “The Skinny Nut”: Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts and offer more nuts per serving compared to most other snack nuts. As one of the only in-shell snack nuts, pistachios help slow consumption and the empty shells offer a visual cue, reducing calorie intake.
* Pistachios are “Fat Enlightened”: Almost 90 percent of the fat found in pistachios is unsaturated fat, i.e., the good stuff, making them a better snack choice than popular fried snack foods like potato chips.
* Nutrient Packed Powerhouse: A 30 grams serving of pistachios is an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of protein, dietary fiber, thiamin and phosphorus.