This Unexpected Snack Puts the ‘P’ in Protein

Health nuts, rejoice! U.S.-grown pistachios are recognized as a complete protein for those over age 5.
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Less than a week ago, on Feb. 26, America celebrated National Pistachio Day. Now, we celebrate the salty, buttery snack for another reason. On March 3, at the American Pistachio Growers Annual Conference in Monterey, California, presenters announced just how protein-rich American-grown pistachios are, designating the nuts as complete proteins for anyone over age 5.

To fully appreciate the recognition, it’s worth defining the significance of a complete protein, an ingredient that contains the nine essential amino acids needed to nourish proteins in the human body. Naturally, our bodies produce 11 essential amino acids, and to reach the benchmark of 20 necessary to repair our protein tissues, we must turn to food sources for the remainder.

For those adhering to a plant-based diet, or anyone generally interested in health and nutrition, it’s common knowledge that quinoa, soybeans, chia seeds, and other nuts and grains are the most sought-after plant-based ingredients considered complete proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products are complete proteins for omnivores. But at the American Pistachios Growers conference, event presenters added U.S.- grown pistachios to the list.

Over the past several years, American pistachios have steadily been racking up the victories. In 2017, the U.S. became the leading global producer of pistachios, dethroning Iran as the industry sovereign. And last month, studies showed that antimicrobial properties of American pistachio extracts could prevent the growth of some bacteria and viruses.

Fortunately, pistachios are aplenty in Detroit. The city is home to state-of-the-art pistachio producer, Germack Pistachio. Stop into the Eastern Market shop, which sells California pistachios roasted, seasoned, and packaged right out of its Detroit factory. (Germack offers internationally grown pistachios, too.) Try a pistachio-based recipe by local bloggers Crowded Kitchen. Or, head to Detroit-area bakeries cooking with the nutritious nuts. Ochre Bakery — one of Hour Detroit’s 10 Best New Restaurants — has a Bon Appétit-approved Lemon-Pistachio Loaf you won’t want to miss.


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Try your own pistachio-rich recipe at home and let us know the results in the comments below!

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