February 26th is National Pistachio Day, aka World Pistachio Day. This is the perfect time to celebrate this ancient nut, which humans have been eating for at least 8,000 years. And what's really great about this nutty holiday is that it encourages you to eat a healthful food.
However, if you're on a keto diet, you're probably wondering if you can partake in this holiday. And the answer is yes. Pistachios are one of the top 10 best keto nuts, as long as you watch your portions. Below, you'll find tips on how to eat pistachios on National Pistachio Day the keto way as well as pistachio facts.
National Pistachio Day is an unofficial holiday of unknown origin. We really don't know when this holiday was first established and by whom. What we do know is that's it's a good party excuse as well as a good enough reason to munch on some delicious pistachios.
And according to Holiday Insights, a national pistachio organization approached them to see if they could explain why this holiday falls on February. The organization believes that September is a more appropriate time to celebrate pistachios because that's when they are harvested. They also believe pistachios deserve to have an official holiday.
All in all, National/World Pistachio Day is shrouded in mystery. But that doesn't mean you can't acknowledge this day and the wonderful nuts it encourages you to celebrate.
Pistachios have been with us for a very long time and they have some unique properties that set them apart from other nuts. These nuts definitely have quite the story to share:
Pistachios trees desert plants that can grow 30 ft tall and are native to the Middle East and Western Asia. Like many desert plants, pistachio trees are hardy and can even withstand saline soil.
It takes 5-10 years for a pistachio tree to mature and start producing nuts. But once it does, a pistachio tree can bear fruit for up to 200 years.
California is the biggest producer of pistachios in the US, providing 98% of the country's pistachios. Worldwide, however, Iran is the leading producer and exporter of this ancient nut.
In the Middle East, pistachio is called the "smiling nut," while people in China call it the "happy nut". Elsewhere, they're known as the "green almond."
Pistachios are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). The other ones being almonds.
The pistachio plant is a member of the cashew family. It's also related to the mango plant and the spice sumac.
Their remarkable nutritional value and long shelf life made pistachios an important source of energy for early explorers and traders, including those who traveled across the ancient international trade route that connected the East with the West known as the Silk Road.
Nuts are high-calorie foods, which gave them a bad reputation. However, newer studies show that eating nuts is actually good for you . Here are some health benefits linked to pistachios specifically.
Compared to other nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans), pistachios contain more essential amino acids . They also have a higher percentage of branched-chain amino acids, which are important for muscles.
Compared to other nuts, pistachios are also quite nutrient dense . They're rich in fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, C, E, K, folate, and other B vitamins.
Pistachios are rich in fiber and protein, which makes them quite filling. There's also evidence that their polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids help with weight loss .
A systematic review of epidemiological studies found that eating pistachios for at last 3 weeks lowers bad (LDL) cholesterol, raises good (HDL) cholesterol . This may likely have to do with the fact that pistachios are rich in phytosterols.
Antioxidants are found in many plant foods, and it seems pistachios are particularly abundant in these compounds . Antioxidants help fight free radicals, reduce inflammation, and lower your risk of chronic diseases.
Yes, you can definitely enjoy pistachios while following a ketogenic diet. Pistachios are relatively low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and high in fat. A single serving (30g) will give you around 4.8g of net carbs. The same serving also contains 13g of fat and 6g of protein.
However, it's important to note that other nuts contain fewer carbs per same serving size than pistachios. That's why it's best to consume pistachios moderately, use them as a flavoring ingredient, or rotate them with other nuts.
Measure your pistachio portion size and limit your intake to around a handful on this day. A handful of pistachio kernels is around 30-50g. This serving is approximately 30 pistachio kernels. Another great option is to make sweet and savory meals with pistachios, like the ones you'll see below.
Here are 5 delicious and easy-to-make keto pistachio recipes, some savory, some sweet. What's most important is that all provide fewer than 7g net carbs per serving. Share these meals with friends and family on National Pistachio Day.
Make this succulent meal for friends and family on World Pistachio Day or add it to your weekly keto meal plan. The combination of mustard powder and pistachios will definitely have everyone wanting more. And if you don't have quail drums, go for chicken instead and bake for 20 minutes more.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories: 330 kcal; fat: 23.5g; protein: 24.8g; net carbs: 4.7g
Cheese and pistachios always pair well as you'll see in this cheese balls recipe. The recipe yields 20 delicious balls, each providing 9g of fat and 6g of protein – perfect for curbing appetite during lunch breaks and midday slumps.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 20 balls
Calories: 121 kcal; fat: 9.7g; protein: 6g; net carbs: 2.3g
This pistachio-flavored mousse cake is designed to impress. Be warned that making mousse is a delicate and laborious process. If you're already familiar with mousse recipes, then definitely try your hand at this one.
Preparation time: 30 minutes + inactive time
Serves: 8 slices
Calories: 279 kcal; fat: 26.4g; protein: 7.3g; net carbs: 5.6g
Fruit and non-dairy ice creams are becoming increasingly popular. This one, made with coconut milk, avocados, and pistachios is a keto favorite, not only because it tastes like real ice cream, but also because it's incredibly nutritious.
Preparation time: 10 minutes + inactive time
Calories: 285 kcal; fat: 25.9g; protein: 5.9g; net carbs: 6.2g
At first glimpse, it looks like almond spread. But at first bite, everyone will be surprised by the lovely pistachio flavor of this spread. Besides bursting with pistachio goodness, this spread is also quite keto friendly at 32g fat per serving.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Calories: 340 kcal; fat: 36g; protein: 4.2g; net carbs: 3.8g
If you're a big fan of pistachios, then definitely pay special honor to this popular nut on February 26th. National Pistachio Day may not be recognized as an official holiday. But that doesn't really matter to the true pistachio lover. What matters is that you have another excuse to munch on your favorite nuts or make pistachio-based meals for your friends, family, and, of course, yourself.