Tuesday April 7, 2020

Pistachios: Great Source of ‘Complete Protein’

Pistachios, your favourite nut, are now a 'complete protein'

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US grown roasted pistachios meet the generally accepted definition as a "complete protein". Pixabay

Pistachios might be your favourite nut, and a new analysis has shown them to be a source of “complete protein” for those who might want to move away from animal-based proteins.

“US grown roasted pistachios meet the generally accepted definition as a “complete protein,” meaning they join the ranks of a small number of plant proteins such as quinoa, chickpeas, and soybeans that have become popular among vegetarians,” it was recently announced at the American Pistachio Growers Annual Conference in California.

Pistas qualify as a source of protein and the Food and Drug Administration defines a complete protein as a food that contains “all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts”.

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Roasted pistachios can now be considered a complete protein source for those who are over five years old. Pixabay

Adequate levels of all nine essential amino acids are shown to be present in roasted pistachios, based on a Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score for pistachios. Roasted pistachios have a score of 81 per cent and 80 per cent of casein, the protein found in milk, meets the USDA definition as an alternate source of protein for school meals.

“While we’ve always known nuts contain protein, we now know roasted pistachios with all nine amino acids in these amounts are a complete protein,” said nutritionist Nigel Mitchell, who has authored ‘The Plant Based Cyclist’.

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Pistachios qualify as a source of protein and the Food and Drug Administration defines a complete protein as a food that contains “all of the essential amino acids in adequate amounts”. Pixabay

“This is great news, especially for active adults and athletes who would want a complete protein that’s portable and doesn’t require cooking. As such, roasted pistachios usefully contribute to the varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle that’s so important for good health.”

In Europe, pistas meet the threshold for a source of protein. Nearly all complete proteins come from meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Soy is a plant-based protein cited by the FDA as a complete protein.

Also Read- 45% Women and 37% Men in India ‘Inactive’ in 2019: Report

“Amino acids are the 20 building blocks of protein but nine ‘essential’ amino acids are not produced by the human body, so they must be obtained in food,” explained Dr. Arianna Carughi, Science Advisor to American Pistachio Growers, the trade association for the US pistachio industry.

“The vast majority of plant-based foods are ‘incomplete’ proteins, so they are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids; however, combining two complete proteins at once or, within a day, creates a complete protein. Roasted nuts can now be considered a complete protein source for those who are over five years old.” (IANS)

  • Jason Aaron Scalmato, Ph. d.

    I’m still alive, Mr. Pistachio!

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Find out How Coronavirus Pandemic Has Disrupted Global Food Supplies

Explainer: How Coronavirus Crisis Is Affecting Food Supply

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People wait in line to buy food amid concerns about the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in downtown Havana, Cuba. VOA

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted global food supplies and is causing labor shortages in agriculture worldwide. This is the latest health news.

Are there food shortages?

Panic buying by shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of staples such as pasta and flour as populations worldwide prepared for lockdowns.

Meat and dairy producers as well as fruit and vegetable farmers struggled to shift supplies from restaurants to grocery stores, creating the perception of shortages for consumers.

Retailers and authorities say there are no underlying shortages and supplies of most products have been or will be replenished. Bakery and pasta firms in Europe and North America have increased production.

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Food firms say panic purchasing is subsiding as households have stocked up and are adjusting to lockdown routines.

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Agricultural workers clean carrot crops of weeds amid an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a farm near Arvin, California, U.S. VOA

The logistics to get food from the field to the plate, however, are being increasingly affected and point to longer-term problems.

In the short term, lack of air freight and trucker shortages are disrupting deliveries of fresh food.

In the long term, lack of labor is affecting planting and harvesting and could cause shortages and rising prices for staple crops in a throwback to the food crises that shook developing nations a decade ago.

What’s disrupting the food supply?

With many planes grounded and shipping containers hard to find after the initial coronavirus crisis in China, shipments of vegetables from Africa to Europe or fruit from South America to the United States are being disrupted.

A labor shortage could also cause crops to rot in the fields.

As spring starts in Europe, farms are rushing to find enough workers to pick strawberries and asparagus, after border closures prevented the usual flow of foreign laborers. France has called on its own citizens to help offset an estimated shortfall of 200,000 workers.

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More wide-scale crop losses are looming in India, where a lockdown has sent masses of workers home, leaving farms and markets short of hands as staple crops like wheat near harvest.

Is food going to cost more?

Wheat futures surged in March to two-month highs, partly because of the spike in demand for bakery and pasta goods, while corn (maize) sank to a 3½-year low as its extensive use in biofuel exposed it to an oil price collapse.

Benchmark Thai white rice prices have already hit their highest level in eight years.

Swings in commodity markets are not necessarily passed on in prices of grocery goods, as food firms typically buy raw materials in advance. A sustained rise in prices will, however, eventually be passed on to consumers.

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A farmer feeds iceberg lettuce to his buffalo during a 21-day nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Bhuinj village in Satara district in the western state of Maharashtra, India. VOA

Some poorer countries subsidize food to keep prices stable.

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The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has warned that a rush to buy by countries that rely on imports of staple foods could fuel global food inflation, despite ample reserves of staple crops.

Fresh produce such as fruit or fish or unprocessed grains such as rice reflect more immediately changes in supply and demand.

Will there be enough food if the crisis lasts?

Analysts say global supplies of the most widely consumed food crops are adequate. Wheat production is projected to be at record levels in the year ahead.

Also Read- Every Hospital in US May Treat COVID-19 Patients: Health Human Service Agency

However, the concentration of exportable supply of some food commodities in a small number of countries and export restrictions by big suppliers concerned about having enough supply at home can make world supply more fragile than headline figures suggest.

Another source of tension in global food supply could be China. There are signs the country is scooping up foreign agricultural supplies as it emerges from its coronavirus shutdown and rebuilds its massive pork industry after a devastating pig disease epidemic. (VOA)