Pistachios are a Wholesome Snack for Athletes and Fitness Enthusiasts

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

Well-planned eating practices help athletes train hard, stay healthy and injury-free, and maximize their performance. An ideal athletic diet should contain well-balanced portions of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and fluids. Pistachios are health-promoting foods that go hand-in-hand with an athlete’s regimen. They are portable, versatile, and environmentally friendly. Adding pistachios into your diet offers a range of cardio-protective, blood sugar-lowering, anti-aging, gut-healthy, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancerous perks to the body. Pistachios are considered whole protein, contain antioxidants, fiber, and support weight loss—the perfect snack for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.


Six Reasons to Crack Open Pistachios for a Wholesome Snack:


Protein, the foremost important nutrient for athletes, aids in muscle repair and recovery and hinders muscle tissue damage. Pistachios are a good source of vegetable protein (21gm/100 gm). Also, they contain a proportionally higher amount of essential amino acids than any other nut. L-arginine, an amino acid also present in these nuts, plays a key role in dilating the blood vessels by changing into nitric oxide, which improves blood circulation in athletes. A combined intake of carbs and proteins coupled with antioxidants promote muscle repair and recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. Consuming a handful of pistachios along with any other “carb rich” food, 15 to 20 minutes post-workout, makes an ideal snack for athletes.


Oxidative stress and inflammation are the top reasons for reduced performance among athletes, which leads to a decline in muscular activity and delayed recovery. Antioxidants have been documented to help with muscle recovery. Pistachios contain a plethora of antioxidants such as gamma-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E), polyphenols, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. Ninety percent of antioxidants in pistachios, such as lutein, β-carotene, and γ-tocopherol, are well absorbed in the gut.


Pistachios are a source of vitamins A, the Bs (excluding B12), E, and the minerals potassium, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. B-complex vitamins benefit athletes by playing a key role in energy metabolism and formation of hemoglobin, which facilitates oxygen transport during exercise. Potassium (K) is an important electrolyte for athletes that regulates total body water and muscle contractions. During intense exercise, potassium is lost through sweat, instigating fatigue and muscular weakness. A single ounce of pistachios contains as much potassium as half a banana, which helps replenish potassium stores in the body. Magnesium and phosphorus, also minerals present in pistachios, promote bone re-mineralization, post-contractile muscular relaxation and improved aerobic capacity among athletes. Pistachios also contain zinc and selenium, potent antioxidants important for muscle repair and recovery.


Nuts are the most energy-dense foods on earth, and pistachios are among the lower-calorie nuts. Many promising studies have shown that pistachios can go a long way in controlling the body weight of athletes and active people. Pistachios contain a generous amount of proteins and fiber that induce satiety and prevent overeating. Additionally, the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in pistachios can induce a higher thermogenic effect that can lead to less fat accumulation in the body.


Eating low-GI (glycemic index) carbohydrate food before exercise has been documented to prevent premature fatigue in athletes and positively impact performance. Owing to the contents of proteins, high-quality fats and fiber, pistachios prevent an immediate spike in blood glucose and help maintain a continuous supply of energy throughout exercise. Eating pistachios along with carbohydrate rich foods, such as pasta, rice, or white bread, significantly reduces post-meal glucose levels.


Gut health affects your entire body. A healthy functioning digestive system is integral for the better performance of athletes. Pistachio consumption increases the number of potentially beneficial butyrate-producing bacteria in the gut that support digestive health and disease prevention.

One serving size of pistachios is one ounce or about 49 kernels. These super-crunchy, satisfying nuts are an ideal and handy pre- and post-workout snack for athletes and fitness enthusiasts, as they supply the body with energy and important nutrients during and after exercising.

Let’s get crackin’!

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines. Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.