Pistachio Nuts and Warfarin

  While nuts have been linked to lower levels of inflammation and lower cholesterol, pistachios may be one of the healthier options of nuts to include into your diet. Filled with a number of essential nutrients, pistachios have been known to lower your risk for heart disease and aid in maintaining body weight.1

Pistachios are one of the oldest nuts grown in the world. Native to Asia, archaeological evidence can date humans using pistachios from as far back as 6,000 B.C.3 While the nut was popularly cultivated in Iran, Iraq and Syria, they were not introduced to the Romans until 100 A.D. Today, pistachios are being produced in countries around the world including the United States and Australia.3 You can find them in variety of ways including shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted.

A Healthy Snack Choice 

While pistachios offer a nice flavor, people have also found that the nut has many health benefits. The two areas where they benefit people the most are in both the heart and weight management. Pistachios contain fewer calories than other nuts and have a lower fat content with most of the fat being the healthier unsaturated fat. Eating pistachios on a regular basis can be effective in decreasing your LDL and helping to increase your HDL, the “good” cholesterol.1,2,3   Along with helping your cholesterol, pistachios are a good source for mono-unsaturated fatty acids including oleic acid and antioxidants. These fatty acids are also good for a healthy heart.

Another healthy heart ingredient that can be found in pistachios is an amino acid called l-arginine. This amino acid can help the lining of your arteries become more flexible and make it less likely for you to develop blood clots.1 With a higher amount of protein in comparison to other nuts, pistachios can keep you full longer and serve as a healthy snack if you are trying to watch your weight.3 Just make sure to keep your pistachio snack healthy and low in sodium. Stay away from salted pistachios or ones that are covered in chocolate or sugar. 

Pistachios and Warfarin 

While nuts like pistachios are a good choice for the good fats and minerals that they offer as a patient on warfarin, you may need to be aware of the vitamin K content of these particular nuts. Pistachios are full of vitamins, including vitamin K. One cup of dry, roasted and unsalted pistachios contains about 16.2 micrograms of vitamin K, a level that is considered a medium amount.4 If you want to include more nuts like pistachios into your diet, make sure to speak with your physician about a healthy way to introduce the new food, helping you to develop consistency. Your doctor may want you to monitor your INR closely as you introduce new foods into your lifestyle to help you find your balance. 

References:

  1. SFGate. What Are the Benefits of Eating Pistachios. Healthyeating.sfgate.com. 2017. Retrieved from the website: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-pistachios-1507.html.
  2. Mayo Clinic Staff. Diseases and Conditions: Heart Disease. Mayo Clinic. September 15, 2016. Retrieved from the website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635?p=1.
  3. Organic Facts. Health Benefits of Pistachios. www.organicfacts.net. 2017. Retrieved from the website: https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-pistachio.html.
  4. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.Version Current:  September 2015, slightly revised May 2016.