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.
In 2018, the global production of pistachios was about 1.4 million tonnes, with Iran and the United States as leading producers, together accounting for 72% of the total (table). Secondary producers were Turkey, China, and Syria.
A 2020 report indicated that nearly half of the global production of pistachios in 2019 came from the United States, with production in Iran falling to as low as 7% due to US trade sanctions against Iran, climate change, and weak economic and water management in Iran. Efforts to grow pistachios for international markets were made during 2019 in Georgia and adjacent Caucasus countries.
In July 2003, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved the first qualified health claim specific to consumption of seeds (including pistachios) to lower the risk of heart disease: "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (42.5 g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease". Although a typical serving of pistachios supplies substantial calories (nutrition table), their consumption in normal amounts is not associated with weight gain or obesity.
Pistachio consumption appears to modestly lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in persons without diabetes mellitus.