Pistachios or Pista is a healthy nut that grows on the tree of the same name and is a member of cashew family. They are native to Asia but is now grown and consumed in many parts of the world. Pistachios are a good source of a number of nutrients like vitamins,minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidants and other compounds and presence of these compounds make them very beneficial for us, but at the same time, there are also some risks and side effects of eating too many pistachios. In this article, we will know the major side effects of pistachios overeating in detail.
Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Pistachios
(1) Promote Weight Gain
Regular and moderate consumption of pistachios is very beneficial for the purpose of weight management as they keep us satisfied for longer and decreases our urge to eat again and again, and thus controls obesity. However, it should be remembered that pistachios are high in calories and 100 grams of pistachios can provide around 562 calories, which is even more than one-fourth of the daily calorie requirement of our body ( on a 2000 calorie basis diet ).
It is very easy to overeat pistachios because of their delicious taste ( and most of the time salt is added to them to make them even more tasty ) so if you want to enjoy pistachios then make sure that you take a handful of them, and don’t enjoy them directly from the “big packet”. Pistachios can serve the purpose of a healthy and convenient snack but only when we eat them in moderation.
(2) May Cause High Blood Pressure
Pistachios in their natural form don’t contain a lot of sodium, and in fact, the amount of sodium present in natural pistachios is just around 0 to 2 mg sodium per ounce of pistachios. However, roasted pistachios are very high in sodium level ( around 121 mg of sodium per ounce) because they are seasoned with salt ( which is a major source of sodium).
This level of sodium is not bad and in fact our body needs around 1500 mg to 2400 mg of sodium per day as sodium plays an important role in maintaining the electrolyte balance of the body, aids transmission of nerve impulses, is needed for muscle contractions, influences blood pressure etc (source ) , however too much sodium is bad as it can give rise to high blood pressure or hypertension and also increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
One ounce of roasted ( and salted) pistachios contain around 121 mg of sodium which is not bad but this quickly adds up if you are eating too many pistachios in a short time. Eating ½ cup to 1 cup of salted pistachios can increase our sodium intake by 263 to 526 mg and thus increases the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular problem.
As we also get sodium from other sources so it becomes even more important for us to make sure that we keep a watch on our sodium intake and eat pistachios in limited quantity.
(3) May cause Gastrointestinal Problems In Some Individuals
The dietary fibers present in pistachios make them very beneficial for our stomach as they play an important role in keeping our bowel movement smooth and provide relief from constipation and thus keeps our digestive system healthy .
However, it should be noted that pistachios also contain a compound name “Fructan”, which in general is not dangerous but it can bothersome to those who are allergic to it.
Those who are allergic to fructan should avoid pistachios as it can give rise to digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, constipation, flatulence and abdominal pain.Depending upon a number of pistachios consumed, these allergic reactions can be either mild or severe.
Suggested Read- 15 Amazing Health Benefits of Pistachios
(4) May Cause Tree Nut Allergic Reactions
Individuals who are allergic to tree nuts allergy ( like being allergic to almonds,walnuts, cashews,hazelnuts etc. ) should avoid eating pistachios as they are most likely to be allergic from pistachios too.
Some of the common symptoms of tree nuts allergy are abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing, itching of mouth, throat, eyes,skin, and other areas, difficulty in breathing, nasal congestion etc. and in some cases, tree nut allergy can be fatal and give rise to anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can cause difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, unconsciousness, weak pulse etc. and sometimes it can even cause death. (source)
(5) Is Bad For People Suffering From Kidney Problems
Pistachios is a good source of potassium which is an major nutrient that plays an important role in keeping our body healthy by regulating blood pressure, providing relief from stress and anxiety, improves metabolism, maintains electrolyte balance, improves our nerve functions and also plays an important role in protecting our body from heart and kidney disorders.(source ) .
However, it is important to remember that too much potassium is bad for our kidneys and those who are suffering from kidney diseases should avoid consuming too much potassium in their diet as their kidneys are not so effective in eliminating excess potassium from their body.
Too much potassium is bad not just for the kidneys but it can also give rise to nausea,weakness, slow pulse, irregular heartbeat, heart failure, dehydration, Type-1 diabetes, Addison’s disease and internal bleeding (source , source ).
Because of the health risks associated with consuming a high level of potassium, it is important for us to make sure that we are eating pistachios in small quantity.
(6) May Increase The Risk Of Kidney Stones
Moderate consumption of pistachios is beneficial not only for the people who are suffering from kidney diseases but also for the healthy individuals who want to save themselves from the risk of kidney stones.
This is because pistachios contain a moderate amount of oxalates around 10 to 25 mg per ounce ) and methionine ( which gets converted to cysteine, an amino acid ) and consuming them in high quantity may increase the risk of development of calcium oxalate and cystine kidney stones.
Suggested Read- 10 Wonderful Beauty Benefits of Pistachios For Skin And Hair
(7) May Cause Aflatoxin Allergy
Pistachios can sometimes get contaminated by Aflatoxin which is a carcinogen produced by Fungus Aspergillus flavus during growth and storage of pistachios in the moist and warm environment.
Consuming pistachios contaminated by Aflatoxin on a long term basis can increase the risk of cancer in animals, and it was also found to be associated with the risk of hepatitis B and liver cancer. The fungi responsible for the Aflatoxin is not easily visible to naked eyes but can be detected by UV light. The risk of aflatoxin can be minimized by roasting pistachios as roasting significantly reduces the amount of aflatoxin in pistachios.
(8) Risk Of Being Contaminated By Navel Orangeworm (NOW)
Sometimes pistachios may get contaminated by Navel Orangeworm (Now), that appears in the pistachio seed or between the seed and the shell. This cream colored, orange or red, around 25 mm long worm is not at harmful for our health but it may damage the nutmeat of pistachios and pistachios contaminated with Navel Orangeworm are more likely to be contaminated by Aspergillus fungi that produce aflatoxin.
(9) Risk Of Being Contaminated By Bacterium Salmonella
Another bacteria that may contaminate pistachios and make them harmful for human consumption is bacterium salmonella. Consuming pistachios contaminated by bacterium salmonella may cause diarrhea and may be fatal for infants, elderly and the individuals who lack proper immune strength.
It has been found roasting pistachios can kill the salmonella bacteria but only when roasting is done properly. Otherwise, uncontaminated pistachios may get contaminated by coming in contact with contaminated pistachios.
(10) Increased Risk of Pesticides And Insecticides
In order to protect pistachios from the attack of pests and insects, they are often exposed to pesticides and insecticides . These pesticides/insecticides may protect the pistachios from the attack of pests but they are themselves bad for our health and consuming pistachios that are highly exposed to pesticides/insecticides may cause Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and other allergic reactions. It is known as a probable human carcinogen which means it may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
(11) Increased Risk Of Acrylamide
Roasting of pistachios is effective for minimizing the risk of aflatoxin and salmonella bacteria, but at the same time, it may give rise to the formation of acrylamides. Acrylamide is a probable carcinogen that may increase the risk of cancer in humans, but as of present, there are not enough evidence to support the association between roasted pistachios consumption and cancer.
(12) High Manganese Risk
Pistachios are a good source of manganese which is an important nutrient that plays a major role in the formation of connective tissues, absorption of calcium, regulation of blood sugar level, metabolism of fats and carbohydrates, proper functioning of thyroid glands etc.. However, high level of manganese is bad for our health as it can give rise to headaches, tremors,loss of appetite,leg cramps, hallucination and neurological disorders (source).
Because of the health risk associated with manganese overeating, it is important for us to make sure that we eat pistachios in moderate quantity. In addition to this, the individuals who are suffering from parkinsonism, hypermanganesemia, polycythemia and chronic liver diseases should avoid consuminhypermagnesemiaother manganese rich food.
(13) Too Much Fiber Is Bad For Our Stomach
The dietary fibers present in pistachios is good for our stomach and helps in keeping our digestive system healthy but having too many dietary fibers is bad for our stomach and can give rise to diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping, malabsorption, intestinal gain, irritable bowel syndrome etc. (source)
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as a medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, but I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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