February 26 is World Pistachio Day

February 26 is World Pistachio Day

February 26 is World Pistachio Day

A Global Chance to Celebrate the Wonderful Green Nut and to Take a Closer Look at the Way California Pistachios Are Enjoyed Worldwide

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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? Did you know that pistachios contain only 3-4 calories per nut? They also offer vital nutrients including more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients making them a great guilt free snack.

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 B.C. Back then, pistachios were considered food for the royal and privileged. Legend has it that pistachios were a favorite delicacy of the Queen of Sheba.

Pistachios were first planted in California in the 1930s. From this point it took nearly 10 years of careful research and breeding before the California pistachio – also known as the Kerman variety – was finally perfected. Today, California produces more than 400 million pounds of pistachios each year making it a leading producer of pistachios worldwide.

In early times, pistachios were hand harvested and shaken from the trees onto a piece of cloth on the ground. Today, Californian pistachios benefit from modern technology as mechanical tree shakers knock pistachios onto a catching frame, ensuring not a nut touches the ground.

Going Nuts for Pistachios Across the Globe

Nearly half of California’s crop of pistachios are now exported around the world where they are enjoyed by many cultures. In China, the pistachio is known as the “happy nut” because it looks like its smiling. Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune.

Israel, with 7 million snackers consuming 9 million pounds, is the leader per capita for pistachio consumption. In India, pistachios are a major part of the population’s diet and are used in the popular saffron pistachio drink, “Shree Guruji Kesar Pista Sharbat.” Pistachios are considered a “hot food” in India and are believed to help keep the body warm and are typically enjoyed during the cold winter months. Conversely, in Russia pistachios are enjoyed as a popular snack to accompany beer during the warm summer months.

In France, where “snack” is not part of the vocabulary, 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 Mexico, pistachios are a popular treat sold in the streets and on the highways by street vendors, making them an enjoyable treat during daily traffic jams.

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:

* The Skinny-Nut: Dubbed the “skinny nut” by nutrition experts, pistachios are one of the lowest calorie, lowest fat nuts and yield the most nuts per serving; 49 kernels per ounce, compared to 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves and 18 cashews. Just a handful of pistachios – about 30 kernels – offers a deliciously satisfying 100-calorie snack.
* A “Mindful” Snack: New research recently presented at the American Dietetic Association’s national conference found that because they’re in-shell, pistachios take longer to eat, slowing consumption and reducing overall calorie intake by 41 percent.
* Nutrient-Rich Nuts: Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper and manganese and a good source of protein, fiber, thiamin, and phosphorus.
* A recently published study by Italian researchers reveals that pistachios pack in a variety of beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients commonly found in tea (catechins), fruits, vegetables, red wine (anthocyanins) and soyfoods (isoflavones). The researchers conclude that pistachios are one of the best sources of antioxidants among plant-based foods.

About California Pistachios

Grown and nurtured in the sunshine 150 miles north of Los Angeles in the San Joaquin Valley, California Pistachios are known for their superior quality, large size, smooth, creamy shell and delicious taste. California Pistachios are distinguished by the distinctive “California Grown” logo which certifies their authenticity and guarantees high quality, all-natural pistachios. California pistachios are sold in the United States under the Wonderful brand name.

About PistachioHealth.com

For more information about the health benefits of pistachios, visit www.pistachiohealth.com, the leading online source of information on the health and nutrition benefits of California pistachios. The site serves as a resource for both consumers and health professionals. The site is available in 12 languages and is the global resource for all things pistachio health.

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