California’s Booming Pistachio Industry
The California pistachio industry harvested its first commercial crop in 1976. That year, only 1.5 million pounds were produced from 4,350 acres. Almost 30 years later, California has plantings in excess of 150,000 acres with production yielding more than 400 million pounds.
California comprises 98.5% of the U.S. commercial pistachio production and is the second largest producer of pistachios in the world.
Since its inception the California pistachio industry has been recognized as a leader in food safety with their proactive quality control programs and strict adherence to quality standards in both production and processing. As a result of this reputation for quality, California pistachios are the finest in the world, with approximately half of all shipments exported worldwide.
Resource via: California Pistachios
Health Benefits of Pistachios
The pistachio was introduced to California in 1854 as a garden tree. California Pistachios are high in the minerals: Copper, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Selenium, as well as high in the vitamins: Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Vitamin K, Folate and Vitamin E. Check out these other 7 amazing health benefits of pistachios.
Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL, reducing heart disease.
Eating pistachios may help to prevent Type 2 diabetes. 60 percent of the recommended daily value of the mineral phosphorous is contained in just one cup of pistachios. As well as breaking down proteins into amino acids, phosphorous aids glucose tolerance.
Pistachios are an incredibly rich source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is essential to make hemoglobin, the protein responsible for carrying oxygen through the blood stream to cells, and is also shown to increase the amount of oxygen carried.
The vitamin B6 so abundant in pistachios has wide-ranging effects on the nervous system. Messaging molecules called amines require amino acids to develop, which in turn rely on vitamin B6 for their creation. Furthermore, B6 plays a crucial role in the formation of myelin, the insulating sheath around nerve ﬁbers that allows optimal messaging between nerves. Furthermore, vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of serotonin, melatonin, epinephrine and gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, an amino acid that calms the transmission of nerve impulses throughout the nervous system.
Pistachios contain two carotenoids not found in most nuts. These carotenoids, called lutein and zeaxanthin, function as protective antioxidants, defending tissues from damage from free radicals. They have been linked with a decrease in the risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of visual impairments and acquired blindness in the United States.
A healthy immune system requires adequate intake of vitamin B6, which pistachios abound in. A surfeit of vitamin B6 can retard brain activity as well as decrease the effectiveness of the immune system for fighting infections. Vitamin B6 found in pistachios also helps the body make healthy red blood cells, and helps maintain the health of lymphoid glands, such as the thymus, spleen and lymph nodes, ensuring the production of white blood cells that defend the body from infections.
Pistachios are a great source of vitamin E, a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes and often recommended for healthy and beautiful skin. Vitamin E does an excellent job protecting the skin from UV damage, providing daily defense against premature aging and skin cancer.
Resource via: Three Trees
Pistachio Fun Facts
- Pistachios aren’t actually nuts. It’s true! Pistachio “nuts” are actually seeds of red or yellow plum-like fruits whose flesh is removed during processing. However, everyone calls them a nut because they look like “nuts” and are in the cashew family. Other things in the cashew family include sumac, mangos, and poison ivy.
- Pistachios are happy. They are called “the smiling nut” in Iran and “the happy nut” in China. People in the Middle East sometimes refer to the pistachio as the “smiling pistachio.” In those same countries, if you are sitting under a Pistachio tree and you hear the shells snapping open, it is a sign of good luck.
- A pistachio tree takes 7 to 10 years to mature and it produces one of the healthiest nuts full of rich nutrients.
- The green in the pistachio nut is the result of chlorophyll, the same pigment that makes the leaves green.Pistachio nuts were dyed red to make them stand out in vending machines.
- Pistachios are related to the mango and the spice sumac.
resource via: Producepedia