Pistachios and beer provide a number of health benefits

Pistachios and beer provide a number of health benefits

It's widely-known that as part of a calorie controlled diet nuts are a healthy choice. They contain protein, 'good' mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. In the Nut Hall of Health Fame, pistachios are one of the stars and they taste delicious too! But how many people know that, when consumed moderately, beer also has proven health benefits?

In medical studies the non-smoking moderate consumers of beer were happier and healthier than those who did not drink, or drank too much. Moderate beer drinkers were less likely to suffer from osteoporosis, kidney-stones, Type II diabetes, heart problems, and Alzheimer's disease. So add together the health benefits of pistachios with those of beer and you’ve got the perfect snack pairing!

Pistachios and beer have synergy - especially when it comes to a healthy heart. Beer contains alcohol and in small doses it can protect the body against the risk of coronary heart disease by raising the amount of 'good' cholesterol, and lowering the risk of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). 

A serving of crunchy green pistachios may help lower your blood pressure. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University reported that eating pistachios may help prevent hypertension in people who have cardiovascular risks. The study found that pistachios help reduce blood pressure and biological responses to stress when added to a healthy diet.

Both pistachios and beer contain potassium, a deficiency of which can lead to abnormal blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, as well as kidney disorders.

Anti-oxidants, present in pistachios and beer, are substances that may protect the body's cells against molecules that can trigger heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes.

And finally 'the belly'. Beer is wrongly perceived to be highly calorific.  A 4% alcohol pint of beer is around 190 calories. Measure for measure, beer has fewer calories than any other alcoholic drink. A one ounce serving of pistachios (49 nuts) contains 160 calories. Neither beer nor pistachios contain cholesterol.   Weight gain is caused by too many calories in and not enough being worked off with exercise.

So love your health - love beer and pistachios!

Hints on How to Choose Beers with Food

Beer is the best alcoholic drink to match with food not only for its incredible diversity of flavours, but because it contains a high percentage of water for refreshment, and carbon dioxide, an efficient palate scrubber that prepares the mouth for the next morsel.  Beer also contains hops.  Hops are bitter and bitterness is refreshing. The sharpness of hops acts like a knife cutting through the food's flavour and texture.

Pistachios match particularly well with Brown Ale, Dubbel (a Belgian style of Abbey beer), and Dopplebock (a strong German style).  What those beers have in common is a caramel and nutty character that really enhances the nut flavours.  

When deciding which beer to choose with your food this is a useful mantra:  Cut, Complement, or Contrast.  

Cut: choose a beer that cuts through the flavour or body of the food.  For instance fish & chips require a crisp refreshing beer such as a Pilsner lager or a hoppy Bitter to cut through fat, and citrus hops to complement the fish.

Complement: choose a beer that will complement the flavours of the food. For instance, spicy food such as Mexican or Indian matches well with beers such as India Pale Ale that typically contain spicy hops.

Contrast: choose a beer that is a complete contrast to the food. For instance big flavoured coffee & chocolatey Porter with salty Stilton cheese.

Five Beers Matched with Flavoured Snacking Pistachios

Thyme & Garlic American Pistachios - matched with Duvel by Brouwerij De Koninck.  Duvel is a deliciously versatile beer with food and goes especially well with garlic.  The beer is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and has an aromatic, spicy, malty, biscuit character.   This beer style also matches well with paella, pasta dishes (vegetarian), ratatouille, risotto, and seafood.

American Pistachios with Tabasco Sauce - matched with Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen by Brauerei Heller.  Rauch means 'smoke' in German and this beer is incredibly smoky! The flavours of smoke and chili are natural mates.  This style of beer also matches well with cheese dishes, anything smoked (e.g. ham or fish), Chinese food (especially mushroom or oyster sauce based dishes).

American Pistachios with Black & White Peppercorns - matched with Saison Dupont by Brasserie Saison.  Saison is a Belgian style of golden beer with a spicy, citrus, earthy flavour.  It will complement the pepper spice coating of the nuts and cool down the palate. This style of beer also goes well with charcuterie, spicy Indian, seafood, satay.

American Pistachios with Teriyaki and Dijon Mustard - matched with 09/02 Nut Brown Ale by Brew by Numbers.  Brown ale has a toffee, nutty, fruity, sweet character and this will match well with the teriyaki sweetness. This style of beer also goes well with barbeque, Ploughman's Lunch, sausage & mash, shepherd's pie.

Curry Dusted American Pistachios - matched with Pale Ale by Brewsters' Brewing Company.  Pale ales are ace with curry and this particular beer is crisp, and refreshing with a distinct bitter grapefruit flavour that enhances the spicy nature of the curry.    This beer also goes well with fish & chips, falafel, grilled or smoked salmon.


by for v5.femalefirst.co.uk
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