Can I eat pistachios in pregnancy?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can safely eat pistachios during pregnancy. Pistachios are a healthy nutritious snack that provides protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. They may even offer benefits like better blood sugar control and relief from nausea. However, portion control is key, as pistachios are high in calories. Stick to a 1-ounce serving per day to keep calories in check. As with any food, be mindful of potential food safety issues like recalls or contamination. Check with your doctor if you have gestational diabetes or other health conditions that require dietary restrictions.

Nutrition Facts

Here are the nutrition facts for a 1-ounce (28 gram) serving of dry roasted pistachios (49 kernels):

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value
Calories 159 8%
Protein 6g 12%
Fat 13g 17%
Carbohydrates 8g 3%
Fiber 3g 12%
Vitamin A 5% 10%
Vitamin C 3% 5%
Vitamin B6 15% 25%
Thiamin 10% 15%
Riboflavin 5% 10%
Niacin 5% 10%
Folate 12% 20%
Phosphorus 15% 20%
Magnesium 15% 20%
Copper 30% 40%
Potassium 7% 10%

As you can see, pistachios provide protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. Key nutrients for pregnant women include folate, iron, calcium, Vitamin D, DHA and choline. Pistachios contain decent amounts of folate and the antioxidant vitamin E.

Benefits of Eating Pistachios During Pregnancy

Here are some of the top benefits of eating pistachios in moderation during pregnancy:

Nutrient Profile

– Good Source of Protein: Pistachios contain 6g of plant-based protein per serving, helping you meet increased protein needs during pregnancy. Protein is vital for baby’s growth and development.

– Fiber: Pistachios provide 3g of dietary fiber per serving. Fiber prevents constipation, a common pregnancy complaint. It also promotes fullness.

– Healthy Fats: Pistachios contain mostly monounsaturated fatty acids, the same kind found in olive oil. You need fat in your diet during pregnancy to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and support fetal brain development.

– Antioxidants: Pistachios contain the antioxidants vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin. These help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.

– Folate: Pistachios provide 12% of the recommended daily folate. Folate reduces the risk of neural tube defects in baby.

– Iron: Pistachios contain some iron to prevent anemia. Pair with vitamin C foods to increase absorption.

– Vitamin B6: Pistachios are a good vitamin B6 source. B6 helps with nausea, vomiting and possibly morning sickness relief.

Blood Sugar Control

– Despite being relatively high carb, studies show pistachios may help control blood sugar levels. Their high fiber, protein, and fat blunts the blood sugar spike after eating. This may help pregnant women with gestational diabetes manage their blood sugars.

Relieve Constipation

– The fiber in pistachios acts as a natural laxative, softening stools and promoting regularity. This makes them a good snack choice if you’re experiencing pregnancy constipation. Make sure to drink plenty of water too.

Combat Nausea

– For some women, the vitamin B6 in pistachios may help relieve morning sickness and nausea. Having pistachios as a snack keeps your stomach full, possibly warding off that queasy feeling.

Boost Heart Health

– The unsaturated fats, potassium, antioxidants, and phytosterols in pistachios support heart health. This may benefit pregnant women who are at higher risk of heart disease later in life due to pregnancy complications like preeclampsia.


– The act of shelling and eating pistachios one by one can have a calming effect. Pistachios may help relieve stress and anxiety during pregnancy.

Are There Any Risks or Precautions?

Overall, pistachios are considered very healthy and safe to eat during pregnancy. However, here are some precautions to keep in mind:

– Allergies: Tree nut allergies are common. If you’re allergic to pistachios, avoid them. Signs of an allergy include rash, swelling or difficulty breathing.

– Choking hazard: Make sure to chew pistachios thoroughly to prevent choking. Avoid giving whole pistachios to older children.

– Weight gain: While healthy, pistachios are high in calories. Stick to a 1-ounce portion to keep calories under control.

– Contamination risk: Like other produce, pistachios carry a small risk of contamination with bacteria like Salmonella. Buy from a reputable source and practice food safety.

– Aflatoxins: Pistachios can become contaminated with aflatoxins, toxins from mold. This risk is reduced by FDA screening protocols for aflatoxins in pistachios imported to the US.

– Gestational diabetes: Although pistachios may lower blood sugar, women with gestational diabetes should consult their doctor about including pistachios in their diet. Portion control is important.

– Allergies in baby: Some studies suggest eating peanuts and tree nuts like pistachios during pregnancy may prevent peanut allergies in baby. But more evidence is needed. If your baby already has allergies, avoid pistachios.

How Many Pistachios Can You Eat Per Day While Pregnant?

– 1-2 servings of pistachios per day is a reasonable amount during pregnancy. Here are some serving size guidelines:

– 1 serving = 28g or 1 ounce (49 kernels)

– 1⁄4 cup of shelled pistachios = 1 serving

– Stick to 2 servings or less per day to limit calories. This equals about 100-200 calories from pistachios.

– Do not eat over 0.5 ounces of pistachios per day if following an elimination diet for gestational diabetes, until you know how pistachios affect your blood sugar levels.

– If you have no complications, eating up to 2 ounces (56g) is safe, providing less than 250 calories.

Tips for Adding Pistachios to Your Pregnancy Diet

Here are creative ways to eat more pistachios while pregnant:

– Snack on a handful of pistachios by themselves. The shelling helps slow you down.

– Toss chopped pistachios into yogurt, oatmeal, salads or stir fries.

– Mix pistachios into trail mixes or granola along with dried fruit.

– Make homemade pistachio pesto or pistachio butter.

– Blend pistachios into smoothies or nice cream.

– Enjoy pistachio butter on apple slices or whole grain toast.

– Sprinkle chopped pistachios onto roasted veggies like cauliflower or sweet potatoes.

– Stuff chicken breasts with goat cheese and chopped pistachios.

– Fold pistachios into rice dishes like pilaf or risotto.

– Coat fish fillets with crushed pistachios before baking.

– Use pistachio flour in place of regular flour for a nutrition boost in baked goods.

– Top Greek yogurt with chopped pistachios, honey and cinnamon.

The Bottom Line

Pistachios are a nutritious snack to enjoy in moderation during pregnancy. They provide protein, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, and key nutrients like vitamin B6 and folate. Potential benefits include better blood sugar control, relief from constipation and nausea, and reduced risk of allergies in baby.

Aim for 1-2 servings (1-2 ounces) of pistachios per day. Avoid pistachios if you have an allergy or complications like gestational diabetes requiring dietary restrictions. As with any food, practice basic food safety and be cautious of potential choking hazards for children under age 5.

Overall, pistachios can be part of a healthy, balanced diet during a healthy pregnancy without complications. But as always, consult your doctor about any dietary concerns or restrictions.

Leave a Comment