Men's Health and Pistachio Nutrition

Don’t Age Gracefully, Age Ferociously!

The month of June is not only known for Father's Day, but also Men's Health. Becky Twombley, APG sports nutritionist and Director of Sports Nutrition at USC, and Merrill Moses, a three-time Olympian and medal winner in water polo, share tips on how guys of all ages can stay fit and healthy for life with nutritious foods such as pistachios.

APG ambassador and Health Nut, Merrill Moses, a retired member of the USA Men’s Olympic water polo team, shares his daily diet strategy, for staying Olympian strong as he trained six days a week for six to eight hours a day and competed in the 2016 Olympics while turning 40 years old. According to Merrill, “Any professional athlete will tell you that you get out of your body what you put into your body. Proper nutrition is just as important, if not more so, as training. Food not only serves as fuel but also can aid in recovery, which is essential in my game. Thrashing around in the water nonstop for one hour is the ultimate challenge, and that’s where pistachios come into play. They’re packed with protein, potassium and other nutrients that help replenish the body, after intense exercise, and promote muscle recovery.” Pistachios are the official snack of the USA Water Polo Team. To read Merrill’s story click here.

Becci Twombley shares five nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods, which included pistachios, that anyone looking to improve his health should include in a diet. She is the Director of Sports Nutrition at the University of Southern California. The sports nutrition department at USC has gained nationwide recognition due to the priority the athletic department has placed on fueling athletes to optimize recovery. Becci also serves as the sports nutrition consultant to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Her mission is to fuel every cell in every athlete’s body with nutrient power foods such as pistachios so that training is more efficient, career longevity is maximized, and performance is optimized.

Five Healthier, Dad-friendly Snack Ideas

He may always ensure his kids have access to fresh fruits, lean protein and plenty of water, but Dad’s personal snacking habits might not be so healthy. If so, he’s not alone; chips are the snack food of choice for 63 percent of Americans, and 91 percent of us snack daily, according to a Nielsen report.

“Many dads who are diligent about providing healthy food options for their families could stand to do better for themselves,” says Dr. Michael Roussell, a nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men's Health magazine. “Good health is not a given for American fathers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men, and the American Heart Association says nearly 10 million have been diagnosed with diabetes. The National Institutes of Health estimate three out of every four American men are overweight or obese.”

Unfortunately, many of Dad’s favorite snacks may be unhealthy, from chips and cookies to nachos and wings. Families can work together to help everyone ditch bad snacking habits and replace them with healthier choices that are still Dad-friendly, Roussell suggests.

Here are five better-for-Dad (and everyone) snack options that still offer the flavor, satisfaction and convenience fathers love:

1. Pistachios — “Pistachios should be a go-to delicious snack for your father,” says Roussell. “He might already snack on pistachios while watching the big game, but you should encourage him to add them as an everyday snack in lieu of traditional snack foods like cookies and chips.” Pistachios contain healthy fat, fiber and protein that contribute to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction between meals. Snacking on pistachios can also reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to research from Penn State University.

2. Jerky — Here’s a snack that might already be on Dad’s list of favorites. Beef jerky clocks in at 80-100 calories for a 1-ounce serving and also provides double-digit grams of protein. However, some types can have much higher sugar and sodium levels, so be sure to read labels.

3. Alternative chips — Traditional fried potato chips aren't a great snack choice. Fortunately, better options are now available, allowing Dad to get his chip fix with a better nutritional profile. For example, baked potato chips can have significantly lower fat content than fried. Black bean or lentil chips can provide more protein and fiber. Plus, a better-for-you chip provides the same satisfying crunch as the fat- and calorie-filled varieties do.

4. Frozen Greek yogurt — Hey, it’s summer, and a man sometimes needs a frozen treat after yardwork or a workout. Rather than loading up on the fat and calories of ice cream, or the high sugar content of other frozen treats, look to frozen Greek yogurt for a more healthful cold snack. When frozen, Greek yogurt can compete with ice cream for creaminess, plus it’s rich in protein, calcium and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Many frozen yogurt makers now offer Greek yogurt versions of popular flavors.

5. Dark chocolate — It’s high time to set aside the stereotype of dark chocolate as a treat for moms. Dads can love it, too. While dark chocolate can be higher in calories and fat than some other snacks, it also has nutrients that have been linked to better heart health. You wouldn’t want him to eat a bar of dark chocolate after every meal, but a 1-ounce bar every now and then could help support Dad’s heart health — and the mental benefits of eating chocolate are a bonus!

The life benefits of pistachio nutrition

An important way for men to keep fit is to reduce the risk factors for health problems that they face as they age. Maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels is one of the most important things a man can do. Several studies suggest that including pistachios as a part of a well-balanced diet helps support healthy cholesterol levels in individuals with already healthy cholesterol levels. Read more about the research that connects men’s health and pistachio nutrition.

More and more men are interested in maintaining a healthy weight as well. According to nutrition experts, a key component to weight maintenance is eating small snacks throughout the day. Snacks are an important part of a balanced diet. Consuming planned, portion controlled snacks is a way to keep your metabolism going and maintain energy levels between meals. Healthy snacks are made up of nutrient rich foods that contain fiber, lean protein and healthy fat. Pistachios are a one-stop shop, containing 3 grams of fiber, 6 grams of protein, and 11 grams of heart-healthy fat per serving – about 49 nuts. Additionally, pistachios may be even lower in calories than previously thought. Read more about the nutrition content of pistachios. Or, read more about pistachios and weight management.

Exploratory clinical studies suggest that when consumed in moderation, pistachios may help support healthy blood glucose levels in individuals with already normal blood glucose. Read more about pistachios and blood sugar control.

The International Food Information Council* found that top dietary concerns include limiting fat, such as saturated fats and trans fat, and limiting high fructose corn syrup and refined carbohydrates. In addition, they found that one-third of people surveyed agree that protein helps one to feel full and is especially beneficial as people age. Protein can also help with weight loss.

*Based on 1000 adults representative of the US population. Data gathered on March 28-April 10, 2011.

Emerging research suggets that men who added pistachios to their diet for three weeks improved markers of erectile function at the end of the study.1 More comprehensive studies will need to be conducted to draw conclusive results. Read more about the erectile dysfunction treatment study.

Dr. Tom Hopkins on “The Love Nut.”

1. Aldemir M,Okulu E, Neselioğlu S, Erel O, Kayigil Ő. Pistachio diet improves erectile function parameters and serum lipid profiles in patients with erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res.2011. 23(1):32-8.

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5 Reasons to Eat Pistachios

  • Pistachios can help promote healthy blood glucose (sugar) levels.

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  • Pistachios are a natural health food, full of nutrients with less calories than you think.

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  • Pistachios are a heart healthy food.

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  • As part of a balanced diet, pistachios can help you manage your weight.

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  • Pistachios can help support healthy blood glucose (sugar) levels in individuals with already healthy blood glucose.

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