Pistachios: The Healthy & Happy Nut

Friday, March 20th, 2020

In these unsure times, we are all looking for ways to get and stay healthy. Pistachios have multiple health benefits. Their health effects include weight loss benefits, lower cholesterol and blood sugar, and improved gut, eye, and blood vessel health.

As pathogens become more resistant, scientists have begun exploring the biologically active compounds found in pistachios.

Pistachios Reduce High-Blood Pressure

In a randomized controlled study, it was found that pistachio-supplemented diets reduced high blood pressure. Lipids are reduced in adults after eating pistachios. Additionally, nuts are rich in polyphenols, which have been associated with a reduction in obesity. The weight-control benefits of a Mediterranean diet, which is rich in nuts, olives, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are well established. Pistachios are an unprocessed food that fits perfectly in line with this eating pattern. **

Pistachio Extract Prevents the Growth of Bacteria and Viruses

New research shows promising potential for concentrated pistachio extracts in pharmaceutical applications. Antioxidants are abundant in whole pistachios, which are also high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Pistachios are rich in copper and manganese and contain selenium, zinc, riboflavin and vitamin E, which help protect the cells from oxidative stress. Pistachios are also high in vitamin B6 and a source of folate and iron which contribute to normal function of the immune system. Simply put, they have an antimicrobial effect that prevents the growth of bacteria and viruses.

The Makeup of a Pistachio

A 1-ounce serving of these nuts (approximately 49 pistachio kernels) contains 6 grams of protein; Pistachio’s nickname is “The Happy Nut” for its vitamin B6, phosphorus, and thiamin.

  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 14g
  • Sodium: 0mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Sugars: 2g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Potassium: 310mg

A handful of unshelled pistachios takes longer to eat than processed snacks. Cracking open each shell, your body registers the feeling of fullness before overeating which helps with weight management.

A Well-Balanced Life

As our awareness changes, so do our priorities. It has become more important than ever to take care of yourself. Taking me-time and mental health breaks are imperative to maintaining a well-balanced life. A holistic health approach, good hygiene habits, eating clean and regular exercise are keys to endurance and quality of life. Experts encourage us to reduce our stress and eat the right kinds of foods. Get outside and unplug; it reduces fatigue, the feeling of depression, and helps you sleep better at night. Sunshine is the purest form of vitamin D for our bodies. It’s so challenging to budget in relaxation and recovery time. Take baby steps and achieve small rewards.

Re-think “treating yourself” and start thinking “self-care,” as part of a healthy equation. Get enough sleep and take breaks. Eat whole, unprocessed food. Nutritionists and other health care professionals will confirm, you are what you eat. Cooking and eating fresh doesn’t have to be an all-day process. The process itself is self-soothing. Customizing recipes to your taste is relaxing and meditative. As your repertoire develops, it becomes easier to create your own recipes. Take the time and make the effort for a healthier you!

Adding whole foods and pistachios to your diet should be a fun process. Here is a great recipe to help you on your journey.

Save 15% on pistachios when you use Code: STAY through April 3rd, 2020.

Sofrito & Pistachio Pesto Soup

Serve with slices, 3/4-inch-thick, of rustic bread, toasted golden brown.

Sofrito is aromatic ingredients cut into small pieces and sautéed or braised in cooking oil. The preparation and names vary from culture to culture. In Italian cuisine, chopped onions, carrots and celery are chopped to form a battuto, and then slowly cooked in olive oil, becoming sofrito. It is used as the base for most pasta sauces, such as ragù, but occasionally it can be used as the base of other dishes, such as sautéed vegetables. It is a foundation in Italian cuisine. Variations may also contain garlic, shallot or leek.


  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced fine
  • 3 medium leeks, white and pale-green bottom parts only, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • Kosher salt

Heat oil slowly in a large skillet to medium temperature. Cook onions, leeks, and celery on medium-low, covered, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned, 30 minutes.
Add salt to taste.


  • 2 tablespoons pistachio kernels
  • 1 garlic clove, diced fine
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley leaves (packed)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 350°
Toast pistachios on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 6–8 minutes.
Let cool; coarsely crush.
Or, use Pistachio Unsalted & Roasted Kernels.
In a food processor, pulse 3-4 times until coarsely chopped: garlic, basil, parsley and 1/3 cup oil.
Add Parmesan, lemon zest, crushed nuts, and remaining 1/3 cup oil.
Salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until it’s a coarse purée.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 thyme sprigs stripped and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 6 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1/2 bunch small Tuscan kale (remove ribs and stems) leaves torn
  • 1 14.5-ounce can white kidney (cannellini) beans, rinsed
  • 1 frozen bag of peas, thawed or 1 cup shelled fresh peas (about 1 pound of pods)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, cook thyme, bay leaf, and ½ cup sofrito, stirring often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Reserve remaining sofrito for another use.) Add stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add sugar snap peas; cook until al dente, about 4 minutes. Add kale, beans, and peas and cook until kale is wilted, and peas are tender, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Serve soup, garnished with grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes with rustic toast and pesto.

Begin today by making one healthy choice: just one addition to your daily routine. You will find that the reward is more than you’ve anticipated. It’s just a baby step.

Be safe and stay healthy!

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. 

**Musarra-Pizzo M, Pennisi R, Ben-Amor I, Smeriglio A, Madalari G, Sciortino MT. In Vitro Anti-HSV-1 Activity of Polyphenol-Rich Extracts and Pure Polyphenol Compounds Derived from Pistachios Kernels (Pistacia vera L.). Plans 2020; 9; 267. doi: 10.3390 / plants9020267 https://www.mdpi.com/2223-7747/9/2/267