There is no reason one wouldn’t go nuts for nuts. And pine nuts, let me tell you, are no exception. Cultivated for over thousands of years, these sure do have something to offer to you.
Which is what we will discuss here. Keep reading.
Table of Contents
Pine nuts are nothing but the edible seeds of pines. Scientifically called Pinus gerardiana, the tree is native to eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwestern India, and grows at elevations between 1800 and 3350 meters.
Also called ‘pignon’ in French, ‘piñones’ in Spanish, ‘pinienkernen’ in German, and ‘koukounari’ in Greek, there are 20 species of pine trees that produce pine seeds. Though they are large enough to harvest, the most commonly harvested seeds come from four pine tree varieties – the Mexican pinon, the Colorado pinon, the Chinese nut pine, and the Italian stone pine.
That’s a bit about the nuts (seeds, technically speaking). How about taking a look at the history?
These nuts have been an important food for thousands of years. In fact, the native Americans from the Great Basin had harvested these nuts for over 10,000 years.
It was in the Paleolithic era that pine nuts became quite popular in Europe and Asia. Egyptian physicians were known to prescribe pine nuts for various ailments. Roman soldiers were known to have eaten them before battles, and Greek authors had mentioned them way back in 300 BC.
So to say, these seeds are nutritious. The following section will give you an idea about that.
|Nutrition Facts Serving Size 28g|
|Amount Per Serving|
|Calories 190||Calories from Fat 162|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 19g||30%|
|Saturated Fat 1g||7%|
|Total Carbohydrate 4g||1%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
|Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol)||12.6mg||63%|
|Amounts Per Selected Serving||%DV|
One serving of pine nuts (28 grams) contains 191 calories, 19 grams of fat, and 3.7 grams of carbohydrates. Other nutrients in pine nuts include
Pine nuts contain several other vital nutrients, and all of them have one common goal – to offer us the best health benefits.
Pine nuts work great in suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss, thanks to their fatty acids. The great combination of nutrients boosts energy, while other important minerals like magnesium and protein help prevent heart attacks and diabetes. The other antioxidants in these seeds are good for pregnancy and boost immunity, vision, and skin and hair health as well.
Pine nuts contain certain fatty acids that might help curb appetite, as per studies. These fatty acids in pine nuts (especially Korean pine nuts) help release a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which is known to suppress appetite (1). When the study was done on people, it revealed encouraging results.
Another study had found that pine nuts can boost the functioning of appetite suppressants (by up to 60 percent for as long as 4 hours) (2).
The important fatty acid in Korean pine nut oil is pinolenic acid, which, studies say, is a promising satiety ingredient (3).
Certain specific nutrients in pine nuts, like monounsaturated fat, iron, and protein, can help boost energy levels. They also are a great source of magnesium, and low levels of the nutrient can cause fatigue.
Pine nuts also help build and repair tissues in the body – which might otherwise lead to fatigue. The protein in these seeds also helps burn the fuel more slowly, and this can offer you long-lasting energy without causing a burnout.
Nuts, in general, are always considered good for the heart. Studies have shown that nut consumption can cut the risk of sudden death by heart attack (4). The monounsaturated fat, vitamins E and K, magnesium, and manganese form a synergistic blend to prevent cardiovascular disease.
The pinolenic acid in pine nuts supports healthy cholesterol and even helps lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). The vitamin K in these seeds helps to form blood clots to prevent bleeding after injury while the vitamin E helps produce red blood cells important for oxygen transport. Consuming tree nuts (like pine nuts) has also been associated with lower blood pressure levels.
[ Read: Top 30 Heart Healthy Foods ]
Eating pine nuts every day can help control type 2 diabetes, according to studies (5). The seeds also prevent related complications like vision issues and stroke. Type 2 diabetes patients who had pine nuts every day showed improved glucose control and reduction in bad cholesterol levels.
More interestingly, pine nuts (and other tree nuts) have benefits for both glucose control and blood lipids. They can also be used to increase the intake of vegetable oils and protein in type 2 diabetes patients, and those two are vital to improve the symptoms of the disease without leading to weight gain (6).
We already saw pine nuts are rich in iron – one mineral required for storing and transporting oxygen. This helps improve brain health too.
Some reports suggest that pine nuts can also help treat anxiety, depression, and stress. One study proved that dietary intake of magnesium could help improve the condition of adolescents with depression and anxiety disorders. Higher levels of magnesium can lead to lesser emotional outbursts and other behaviors associated with mood disorders (7).
This can be attributed to the magnesium in pine nuts. The mineral has been linked to a lowered risk of various types of cancer. As per one study, a decrease in serum magnesium by 100 milligrams per day can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer risk by 24 percent (8).
Did you know that vitamin K builds bones better than calcium? Well, that’s what research says. One study talks about how this vitamin can help in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis (9). It not only increases bone mineral density but also reduces fracture rates.
And here’s something quite interesting – one very common reason for the deficiency of vitamin K is the intake of cholesterol-lowering pharmaceuticals. But when you take pine nuts, you wouldn’t need any cholesterol-lowering medication as the nuts, by themselves, can lower cholesterol. And they are rich in vitamin K as well.
[ Read: Top 10 Foods For Healthy Bones ]
This is where we talk about appetite suppression again. We already saw how the pinolenic acid in pine nuts could help suppress appetite. This can also aid weight loss.
The other heart-healthy fatty acids in pine nuts also help burn belly fat. One study states that replacing saturated fats in the diet with pine nuts (and nuts, in general) can help you lose weight without making any additional changes to calorie intake or exercise duration (10).
The manganese and zinc in pine nuts can do this job very well. While the former helps maintain the body’s hormonal balance and strength of connective tissue, the latter boosts immunity and aids wound healing.
As per one report, additional zinc in the diet can help boost the immune system in older adults (11). Zinc is associated with an improvement in the function and number of T-cells, which are a type of white blood cells that destroy invading pathogens.
Pine nuts contain a lot of lutein, which is an antioxidant also known as the eye vitamin. Several surveys have revealed that most Americans taking the Standard American Diet don’t take adequate amounts of lutein.
There are about 600 carotenoids your body can utilize, of which only about 20 are transported to your eyes. Of these, only two are deposited in your eyes in large amounts. One is lutein, and the other is zeaxanthin. Both these nutrients help prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma by fighting free radical damage.
High concentration of various essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants make pine nuts amazingly helpful for skin care. Vitamin E and antioxidants work to hold back the aging process. And thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, pine nut oil is very suitable for sensitive skin types. It nourishes the skin and protects it from various common conditions. Moreover, it also has great moisturizing effects on the skin.
Pine nut oil is well known for massage therapy because of its healing property. It helps to reduce a number of skin issues like itching, psoriasis, pimples, eczema, scabies, and sores. These nuts give the skin a revitalized and fresh look.
A body scrub created with raw pine nuts and coconut oil revives the skin by sloughing off dead skin cells. Moreover, due to its excellent hydrating and moisturizing properties, it is a recognized remedy for relieving dehydrated skin.
Pine nuts are a rich source of vitamin E, a vitamin known for boosting hair growth. Moreover, it also keeps the scalp in good condition. People suffering from hair loss or hair thinning have found pine nut oil to be extremely helpful in combating the condition.
These edible nuts contain a high concentration of proteins. The protein content in the nuts protects the hair against damage and keeps it strong, healthy, and lustrous.
These are the health benefits of pine nuts. But now, we have an important question to address.
Very much. Because they are highly nutritious, which is the kind of stuff pregnant women must be taking in.
Pine nuts are high in fiber, and this can help ease constipation, which is one common issue during pregnancy. And the iron and proteins are particularly beneficial, especially if the mother is a vegetarian. Iron and proteins play a vital role in the health of both the mother and the baby.
Pine nuts contain vitamin C too (though not so much), which helps in the efficient absorption of iron. However, keep in mind that taking pine nuts in their natural form is always the best option.
That settles it, right? And if you are wondering how to pick the right pine nuts and how to store them, keep reading.
As mentioned earlier, pine nuts are available in the market in both shelled and unshelled forms.
Unshelled nuts have a relatively longer shelf life than the shelled ones. They can be stored for almost three to four months.
The shelled nuts are not good candidates for long-term storage. They get damaged easily, especially if stored in a hot, humid place. So, it is best to store them in a cool and dry place.
Oh, wait. There’s more. If you want to know the different ways you can prepare and cook with pine nuts, this is it.
Pine nuts can be used for culinary purposes in more than one way. Here are some ideas to incorporate these healthy and tasteful nuts in your regular recipes:
These can be a crunchy addition to chocolate, cookies, biscuits, granolas, slices, and cakes. Moreover, they can be added to wholemeal breads, home-baked pizzas, and several desserts like sundaes and ice-cream-based recipes.
You can also use roasted nuts as salad dressing or add to protein bars and fruit smoothies.
Incorporate pine nuts in meat, fish, and various vegetable dishes. They provide a scrumptious and highly nutritious coating for chicken, fish, and tofu, which can be baked, deep-fried or pan-fried.
There are other ways you can use pine nuts in your cooking. And one of them is following these recipes.
The recipes are sure to taste great. But hey, how about checking out some fun facts?
In case you were thinking where you can pick your next pack of pine nuts from…
And wait, there are certain things about pine nuts you also must consider.
People who are allergic to nuts might also develop allergies to pine nuts.
Yes, we spoke of how good these seeds can be during pregnancy. But only in moderation. And coming to breastfeeding, less information is available. Consult your doctor before use.
Certain supplements made of oil (especially Siberian pine nut oil) might aggravate conditions in people suffering from seizures. Consult your doctor in this regard.
They have a superb mix of the most essential nutrients. And when that is the case, there is no harm in making them a regular part of your diet. Right?
Tell us how this post has helped you. Do leave a comment in the box below.
What is pine mouth syndrome?
Pine nuts can often cause a mysterious metallic taste 12 to 48 hours post consumption. This is called the pine mouth syndrome. The syndrome, however, improves over time without any serious side effects.
Why are pine nuts so expensive?
Because they are usually harvested using the hands. They are seeds produced by cones, and gathering those seeds takes time and labor.
Where do pine nuts come from?
As we saw, from the cones of a pine tree.
Are all pine nuts edible?
Yes, though the quality of the seeds depends on the species of the pine tree.
How many pine nuts can I eat in a day?
About 15 to 20 pine nuts (about 30 grams) is fine in a day.
Can pine nuts be included in a Paleo diet?
Yes, as a Paleo diet includes eating nuts and seeds, you can include these in your diet.