What are the best benefits of pine nuts? Why are pine nuts a healthy option in the daily diet? In today’s article, we will get acquainted with the pine cones.
Pine nuts are extremely healthy. Pine nuts are great for a healthy heart, for weight loss, for healthy bones, digestion, and less cholesterol.
They also help for better immunity, healthy eyes, are good for people with diabetes, and many other benefits. It is well known that all seeds and nuts are especially nutritious foods.
Specifically, they are foods that can provide us with a range of health benefits if it is varied and eaten in moderation. Of course, there are differences in nutrition between different nuts and seeds.
However, one of the most nutritious seeds is considered to be that of the pine.
What are pine nuts?
Pine seeds that are large enough and used in the diet are called pine nuts (the smaller ones are eaten, but they are not commercialized).
They usually originate from the pine trees of the species Pinus monophyly and Pinus edulis. They were originally bred in North America and the Mediterranean region.
The interesting thing about pine cones is that they are picked by hand. Also, the shells in which they are placed are dried so that their shells can be easily opened and the seeds can come out properly.
Although you probably think you have never tried them, pine nuts are a common part of various popular Mediterranean sauces, such as the pasta sauce called pesto.
This means we may have once consumed them without knowing what a dish or sauce contained. Pine nuts are quite expensive, as they are made from only 20 species of pine, and there are hundreds.
Another interesting thing about pine cones is the fact that in order to be properly used commercially, these trees must be quite old, even over 70 years old.
Additionally, due to the high percentage of fat, pinwheels must be stored in special conditions. Of course, the process of harvesting and preparation itself is a specific debt and mainly manual.
Nutritional and energy value of pine nuts
As already mentioned, pine nuts are considered one of the most nutritious seeds in a really strong “competition”.
About 30g pints contain the following ingredients:
- about 185 calories,
- of 5.5g carbohydrates (3g fiber),
- 18g healthy fats (over 10% of the daily requirement for omega 3 fatty acids)
- 4g quality proteins (composed of all essential amino acids).
When it comes to micronutrient value, the same amount of pine nuts contains:
- 31% of the average daily need for Vitamin B1
- 6% of the average daily need for vitamin B2
- 10% of the average daily need for vitamin B3
- 7% of the average daily need for vitamin B9 (folic acid)
- 16% of the average daily need for vitamin E.
- 6% of the average daily need for vitamin K.
- 35% of the average daily need for copper
- 18% of the average daily need for magnesium
- 12% of the average daily need for iron
- 55% of the average daily need for manganese
- 6% of the average daily need for potassium
- 13% of the average daily need for zinc
- 3% of the average daily need for selenium
No less important is the antioxidant content of pine nuts. Here are the omega 3 fatty acids mentioned, then zinc, selenium, antioxidant vitamin E.
We should not forget the presence of carotenoids, such as lutein. It should be noted that pine nuts from the Mediterranean region have an even better nutritional profile.
You can recognize the pins by their elongated shape, smoother surface, and slightly darker color. Given this composition, it is not at all surprising the series of health benefits that pine nuts can offer us.
Health benefits of pine nuts
Here are the best benefits of pine nuts for our health, so let’s start now.
1. Great food for a healthy heart
Healthy heart and great health by consuming pine nuts, and here is why?
This effect of pine nuts is due to their rich antioxidant composition – mainly healthy antioxidant fats, in addition to omega 3 (which is in ideal proportion to omega 6 fatty acids), there are other monounsaturated fatty acids.
In addition, there are polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as delta 5-olefinic acid, pinolenic acid, etc.
- of the reduction of the chronic inflammatory process in the body (a risk factor for many diseases, even heart disease), then
- lowering total cholesterol, and eventually
- of lowering high blood pressure as one of the major factors for cardiovascular disease.
Potassium in pine nuts works to reduce high blood pressure, regulates the effect of sodium (salt), relaxes blood vessels, and improves circulation.
Magnesium, on the other hand, works to lower blood pressure and normalize heart rhythm and blood glucose levels.
Fiber is also an important part of pine nuts. They can very successfully prevent and help obesity and regulate lipid status. Features that are especially important for having a healthy heart.
Studies consistently show that the intake of pine nuts in the diet has the effect of lowering high cholesterol.
As we all know, cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for heart disease. For example, a 2014 study showed a significant improvement in lipid profile in patients with metabolic syndrome after 6 weeks of regular use of nuts and seeds, such as pine nuts.
The benefits of pine nuts do not stop there, in addition, they contain other nutrients, such as copper, iron, and various phytochemicals important for cardiovascular health.
2. Pine nuts are great for weight loss and optimal digestion
Despite its high caloric value, pineapple-like foods, such as various nuts and seeds, are an excellent choice in the weight loss process.
Studies show that people who use pinwheels more often weigh less. Eat pine nuts and you will have a lower waist circumference and even a reduced risk of insulin resistance.
In addition, a study of Mediterranean pine nuts says that their content of specific pinolic acids has the effect of suppressing or reducing appetite in women.
This effect is not unexpected, given that all pineapple-like foods have a positive effect on satiety. Fiber, on the other hand, which is also found in pines in solid quantities, is a contributing factor to satiety.
They also contribute to maintaining the optimal function of the digestive system.
3. Better bone health
We are all familiar with the fact that calcium is a very important mineral for the metabolism of bone tissue. Also, that vitamin D is crucial.
Although pine nuts also contain calcium, they are especially rich in other minerals, very important for bone health.
They contain magnesium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and even iron.
Iron, which acts as a cofactor for enzymes involved in collagen synthesis – one of the key proteins in bone metabolism.
In addition, pine nuts are a great source of vitamin K, which is essential for good bone health.
Deficiency or deficiency of this vitamin in the diet significantly increases the risk of bone-related disorders, such as osteoporosis.
4. Food suitable for people with diabetes
Like other similar products, pine nuts do not cause sugar spikes. Conversely, they can help control and maintain normal blood glucose levels.
In addition, the solid concentration of the mineral magnesium allows pine nuts to help improve insulin sensitivity or the “ability” of insulin to inject glucose into cells.
5. Pines are great for brain health, but also for the eyes
The impressive antioxidant composition of this seed makes it especially suitable for the brain and eyes. Omega 3 fatty acids from pine nuts contribute to the creation and “repair” of brain cells.
Studies show a positive link between omega 3 fatty acids and circulation to the brain. Consequently, improved cognitive performance is encouraged.
These fatty acids, along with the other potent antioxidants in pinwheels, strongly contribute to reducing oxidative stress and brain cells.
This significantly reduces the risk of the most common mental disorders, such as dementia.
Pineapples are a great food for maintaining eye health. This is due primarily to the aforementioned antioxidant composition, but also due to the well-known important carotenoid for the eyes – lutein.
The modern diet provides quite low amounts of lutein. Along with zeaxanthin, this antioxidant carotenoid is probably the most important nutrient for preventing macular degeneration.
Macular degradation is the most common eye health problem in the elderly population. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to complete blindness.
Other potentially beneficial effects of frequent use of pine nuts
More stable mood – due to the excellent concentrations of magnesium and a number of B vitamins.
Anticancer effect – some studies show this effect, which is thought to be mainly due to the antioxidant composition, but also due to magnesium.
Prevention of anemia – because of the solid amounts of iron.
An excellent vegetable protein choice – significantly for those who do not eat meat, especially rich in protein (up to 34%!) Is the Mediterranean type of pinwheel.
Better immunity – due to the zinc content.
Better skin health – due to its powerful antioxidant composition.
Side effects from pine nuts
Similar to most nuts, pinworms can cause allergic reactions.
You should be especially careful if you are already allergic to other similar nuts, such as pistachios, peanuts, or walnuts.
Due to the high concentration of fats, which are healthy but energetically powerful, pine nuts have a lot of calories.
Therefore, although they contribute to weight loss, if you overdo it, we can cause weight problems. Therefore, the recommended daily amount is half a handful per day.
Tips for using pine nuts
Fresh pine nuts should be stored at low temperatures in the refrigerator. If not stored in the refrigerator, pine nuts can easily overheat, ie fat can be degraded.
Also, pine cones should not be stored for more than a month. Pine nuts can easily be used fresh as snacks for consumption.
Although they are usually added to various salad dressings and pasta sauces (the famous pesto sauce).
You can also add them to various ice creams, then to yogurt, to whole grains for breakfast, to blend them together with hummus, etc.
They are suitable as a substitute in most recipes where you use hazelnuts or almonds, for example.
They are also delicious in their baked form, but you should be careful because they can easily burn. Be careful not to bake them for more than 10 minutes at a medium temperature.
Pine nuts are rich in vitamins, proteins, fiber, and minerals. By consuming pine nuts we can get many benefits for our health.
These include a healthier heart, bones, lowering cholesterol, helping with eye health, and other benefits mentioned in today’s article.
In the kitchen, they are most often used in various sauces. The pine nuts are best stored in the refrigerator, but not for more than a month.
By consuming pine nuts we improve our health, and therefore we should include them in our daily diet.