The health benefits of the humble yet impossible-to-stop-eating pistachio have long been known. After all, health proponents have noted for years that your favorite delicious nuts come jam-packed with all sorts of helpful minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, healthy monounsaturated fats, and gut-loving fiber. But a new study published in the journal Nutrients reveals how pistachios may also be your new weight-loss secret weapon.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego, focused on how eating pistachios can affect your weight and your health when added to behavioral weight-loss programs. Over a four-month span, researchers followed 94 adults of varying body size—from slim and healthy to obese—as they embarked on the same weight-loss program. The only difference? Half of the participants added 1.5 ounces of pistachios to their diet, while the other half didn’t. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet.)
Though participants across the board lost weight, the ones who ate pistachios had much rosier biometrics at the end of the trial. They ultimately experienced lower blood pressure, consumed more fiber, and consumed “less sweets” than those who didn’t supplement their diets with pistachios.
“Regular consumption of pistachios was associated with a comparable degree of weight loss, and similar reductions in BMI and waist circumference, in overweight/obese men and women compared to [those who didn’t eat pistachios], and favorable changes in the diet, in the context of a behavioral weight loss intervention,” concluded the researchers.
It’s just the latest study that shows why eating nuts—and specifically pistachios—is a healthy practice if you’re trying to lose a few pounds. Previously, researchers at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition fed study participants an identical low-calorie diet for 12-weeks. The only difference between the groups was what they were given to eat as an afternoon snack. One group ate 220-calories of pretzels while the other group munched on 240-calories worth of pistachios. Just four weeks into the study, the pistachio group had reduced their BMI by a point (while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same) and their cholesterol and triglyceride levels also showed improvements.
The nuts are especially effective at curbing your hunger and boosting your feelings of satiety, which, if you’re trying to lose weight, is obviously important.
“While all nuts have health benefits, pistachios are the ones I recommend most often to clients, especially for those looking to lose weight,” Martha McKittrick, MS, RDN, a registered dietitian, explained to Verywell, in light of the new study. So crack on, and add some pistachios to your pantry soon.
For more great ways to slim down and feel better, read up on these 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time!