The pistachio, a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originating from Central Asia and the Middle East. The tree produces seeds that are widely consumed as food. Archaeology shows that pistachio seeds were a common food as early as 6750 BC. Pliny the Elder writes in his Natural History that pistacia, "well known among us", was one of the trees unique to Syria, and that the seed was introduced into Italy by the Roman Proconsul in Syria, Lucius Vitellius the Elder (in office in 35 AD) and into Hispania at the same time by Flaccus Pompeius. Pistachio is a nutritionally dense food. In a 100 gram serving, pistachios provide 562 calories and are a rich source (> 19% of the Daily Value or DV) of protein, dietary fiber, several dietary minerals and the B vitamins, thiamin and vitamin B6 (table). Pistachios are a good source (10-19% DV) of calcium, vitamin B5 and vitamin E (table). The fat profile of raw pistachios consists of saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated fatty acids include palmitic acid (10% of total) and stearic acid (2%). Oleic acid is the most common monounsaturated fatty acid (51% of total fat) and linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid (18% of total).
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