Can You Eat Pistachio Shells?

by Charlie

Did you know that America is the leading producer of Pistachios in the world, having overtaken Iran in 2010? And the leading importer of this superfood is China. 

This irresistible snack is giving walnuts a stiff competition, and for its innumerable health benefits, its consumption is skyrocketing by the day. 

You can buy shelled pistachios or unshelled ones. The unshelled ones allow you the sweetness of enjoying one nut at a time, keeping your satiety levels high. With this, you are less likely to overeat. Sounds good? Yes, this allows you to benefit maximally from the snack without packing up unwanted calories. 

That said, can you eat pistachio shells? No. Pistachio shells are fibrous, quite hard to chew, and the digestive system cannot break them down. Even swallowing will be an uphill task.

So, eating pistachio shells not worth the hassle with no benefit you stand to gain. 

Are Pistachio Shells Bad For You?

We eat food because it’s helpful to our bodies in one way or another, maybe providing the body needs to function optimally. Such foods are packaged by nature or human methods to be easy to swallow, non-toxic, and easily digestible.

Since pistachio shells lack in some of these qualities, not easy to digest or chew, they are not good to eat. Trying to chew and swallow the shells can hurt your mouth or parts of your digestive tract. 

Besides that, these shells cannot be broken down by the digestive system to release any nutrients to be absorbed by the body. Now, imagine spending time chewing something that will not help you, and at the same time, risk being hurt. 

Instead, you should enjoy your pistachios and put the shells in other uses. 

Why Should You Buy Pistachios in the Shell? 

When ordering your pistachios, you have the option of getting shelled ones or non-shelled ones. The shelled ones take time as they are already ‘ready to eat’ while the other requires time to remove the nut. 

So why should you eat the unshelled ones? The unshelled ones allow you to eat consciously. And this consciousness is important since you can easily overeat this tasty snack. Since the satiety level is attained after about 20 minutes, you’ll have eaten fewer nuts. But if shelled nuts, you are more likely to attain some form of satiety after overeating. 

Something else, the pistachios shells reveal the amount of nuts. This sends a signal in our brain that what you’ve eaten is enough. When there’s evidence of how many calories we are consuming, we will go slow. 

Next time you are in the store, get unshelled pistachios, enjoy the process, pack nutrients, and limit your calorie intake. 

Why are Pistachios Gaining Popularity?

While pistachios’ consumption is increasing, it’s not a newly discovered plant but one that has been in existence for centuries. But within the last few decades, people have realized the tone of benefits it offers. 

So, why are pistachios popular? Pistachios are nutrient-packed nuts as just a handful has more antioxidants than green tea. Compared to all nuts, it has the highest levels of polyphenol antioxidants. It also contains beta carotene, vitamins and known for maintaining stable glucose levels. 

Pistachios are loaded with beta carotene, which is essential for a healthy eye, has vitamin B6, Vitamin A, E, potassium, fiber, proteins, folate, and phytosterols. Regular consumption allows your body natural nutrients to keep chronic illnesses at bay or better help manage them. 

You’ll enjoy reduced incidences of colon cancer, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, and type 2 diabetes.

As a whole meal and with a low Glycemic Index, it will make you feel fuller for long and keep your blood glucose stable. This can help in weight management and reducing the adverse effects of type 2 diabetes. The healthy fats present help improve blood glucose control over time. When taken consistently, it can also help people struggling with insulin resistance. 

What Can You Do with Pistachio Shells?

Now that you cannot eat pistachios shells, what are some ways of utilizing them at home? 

You can use them in gardening to provide mulching material, improve soil drainage, as support material underneath pots, or allow them to decay to form compost manure. This recycling process will save you some bucks and make the environment better. 

If you want to improve on drainage, instead of buying stones or pebbles, place the shells at the bottom of the pot before adding dirt. You can also use them just like you make a pebble stand, by putting the shells underneath the pots. 

Another interesting way is to prevent cats from relieving themselves on your potted plants or garden. The pistachios shells will make it hard to dig the soil or getting too comfortable. The shells will also act as mulch for your plants. 

How about storing the pistachios shells, allowing them to decompose to make compost manure? You can mix with other plant materials to make the curing process faster. 

Finally, well-dried pistachios shells can be used as fuel. 

Final Thoughts 

  • Pistachios have existed for centuries but have gained popularity in the United States within the last century. 
  • While pistachios are healthy and nutritious, you cannot eat their shells, as they are fibrous, hard to chew, and cannot be digested. 
  • It’s best to buy unshelled pistachios as you’re less likely to overeat them. This prevents unnecessary calories that can result in weight gain. 
  • Pistachios are loved for their great taste and nutrients. For instance, they have more antioxidants than green tea.
  • Uses of pistachios shells include mulching, to enhance drainage, as compost manure and also fuel. 

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