6 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Pine Nuts

Pine Nuts

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A delicious evening snack that can help you with weight management too? Sounds too good to be true. But it’s true! Tasty and nutritious, pine nuts can aid weight loss along with providing a plethora of health benefits for your body

 

Pine nuts have been a popular source of nutrition since the Paleolithic times. Crunchy and delicious, pine nuts are small seeds of the pine cone. Botanically, the tree belongs to the Pinaceae family. Pine nut is known by several names like cedar nuts, pinon nuts, pinyon nuts and pignoli. It is called chilgoza in Hindi. Chilgoza is found commonly in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The seeds are small and elongated, measuring one to two inches in length.

Pine Nuts Benefits:

Let us have a glimpse at the various health benefits of pine nuts

1. Improves cardiovascular health:

Pine nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats that help to lower cholesterol in the blood. Regular consumption of pine nuts increases good cholesterol and reduces bad cholesterol in the body. Oleic acid in pine nuts helps the liver to remove triglycerides from the body. It also favors a healthy blood lipid profile, preventing coronary artery diseases and strokes.

2. Weight loss:

Eating a handful of pine nuts can help in weight management. A study has found that swapping healthy unsaturated fats for saturated fats can help you to lose weight without reducing your calorie intake. Pine nuts are very effective in suppressing appetite. Pinolenic acid stimulates CCK (cholecystokinin), a hormone that signals the brain that the stomach is full. This curbs the appetite, keeping you full for a longer time. Pine nuts can decrease food intake by 37%.

3. Antioxidants:

Pine nuts are extremely high in antioxidants. These antioxidants kill free radicals that encourage the development of cancer and other types of diseases. It also helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and viruses. Pine nut is also known for its ability to slow down the ageing process due to its high antioxidant content.

4. Improves eye health:

Pine nuts contain beta-carotene and antioxidants, which are very beneficial for the health of the eyes. Lutein in pine nuts helps the eyes to filter UV light, preventing macular damage. It also prevents our eyesight from deteriorating with age.

5. Energy:

Pine nuts are an excellent option for evening snacking. It contains protein that provides an instant source of energy. It also helps to repair and build the muscle tissues. Protein is a slow burning fuel that provides a long lasting energy boost which does not result in burnout. It also helps to improve the body’s use of oxygen, increasing the energy levels.

6. Skin health:

Vitamin E in pine nuts is required for maintaining the integrity of the cell membranes. It also protects the skin from the harmful UV rays. The emollient properties of pine nut oil keep the skin well moisturized.

Pine nut oil:

Pine nut is often pressed to extract its oil. The oil has a delicate flavor and a sweet aroma. It has been used in traditional medicinal application since ancient times. It is used as carrier oil in aromatherapy and in the cosmetic industry. It is also used in cooking and for salad dressings.

Pine nut oil has been used since ancient times to soothe an irritated digestive tract. It is very useful in curing erosive stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Nutritional Value of Pine Nuts:

Pine kernels are a good source of several essential nutrients. It contains Vitamin A, B, C, D and E. It is an excellent source of B complex vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, folate and pyridoxine. Pine nuts are rich in minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, selenium and iron. They are rich sources of pinolenic and oleic acid that are very beneficial for the stimulation of hormones. 100 grams of pine nuts contain 675 calories.

Pine nuts, raw, Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle

Nutrient Value

Percentage of RDA

Energy673 Kcal34%
Carbohydrates13.08 g10%
Protein13.69 g24%
Total Fat68.37 g228%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber3.7 g10%

Vitamins

Folates34 µg9%
Niacin4.387 mg27%
Pantothenic acid0.313 mg6%
Pyridoxine0.094 mg7%
Riboflavin0.227 mg17%
Thiamin0.364 mg30%
Vitamin A29 IU1%
Vitamin C0.8 mg1%
Vitamin E9.33 mg62%

Electrolytes

Sodium2 mg0%
Potassium597 mg13%

Minerals

Calcium16 mg1.5%
Copper1.324 mg147%
Iron5.53 mg69%
Magnesium251 mg63%
Manganese8.802 mg383%
Phosphorus575 mg82%
Selenium0.7 µg1%
Zinc6.45 mg58%

Phyto-nutrients

Carotene-ß17 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg
Lutein-zeaxanthin9 µg
 Selection and storage:

Shelled and unshelled pine nuts are available in the market all year round. Pine nuts should always be bought from authentic and reliable stores. Shelled and processed nuts are usually sold in airtight plastic bags. While buying whole nuts, make sure that the kernels are bright brown in color. They should be free from cracks, molds and spots.

Unshelled pine nuts have a longer shelf life than shelled ones. Shelled pine nuts can deteriorate easily if exposed to warm and humid conditions. They are best stored in airtight jars in the refrigerator.

Culinary uses:

Pine nuts are generally enjoyed raw; you can also roast them before consumption. As with most nuts, roasting gives pine nuts a distinct taste and aroma. Sprinkle some salt and pepper, and they are ready to eat. Soak the raw nuts in water for a few minutes to bring out their creamy texture and flavor. Roasting pine nuts also minimizes the awful aftertaste that they leave behind.

The seeds have a sweet and buttery flavor. It is used extensively in the preparation of pesto and pasta, casseroles and meat curries.

The nuts are also added to vegetable and fruit salads. Chopped pine nuts are sprinkled on yoghurt, sundaes and ice cream to add texture to the dishes. They are also added to biscuits, cookies, granola and crunch bars.

Remember, all the nuts go rancid after a while. Smell and eat a few to detect any unpleasant bitterness.

Safety profile:

The most common side effect of pine nuts is the pine mouth syndrome. Regular consumption of pine nuts leaves a bitter after taste in the mouth. It appears after a few days of consumption and lasts over a week. The side effect is not harmful and does not lead to any difference in the quality and nutrition of pine nuts.

Pine nut allergy may also occur in hypersensitive people. The reactions include vomiting, abdomen pain, diarrhea and skin itching.

Recipe – Pine Nut Pasta:

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams pasta, cooked
  • 5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2/3 cup of roasted pine nuts
  • 2/3 cups of sun dried tomatoes
  • ¼ cup of parsley
  • 1/8 cup basil leaves
  • ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to it. Add the cooked pasta and stir-fry until it turns light brown in color. In another wok, add the remaining olive oil, pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes. Stir-fry for a few minutes and then add in the pasta, parsley, parmesan cheese and basil. Sprinkle salt and pepper, and toss well. Serve hot.

Nutritional value:
  • Serving Size: 1 Pack (205 g)
  • Per Serving % Daily Value*
  • Calories: 441
  • Total Fat: 16.4g 25%
  • Carbohydrates: 53.3g 18%
  • Dietary Fiber: 4.1g 16%
  • Protein: 14.3g
  • Energy: 441 kcal
  • Protein: 14.35 g
  • Total lipid (fat): 16.4 g
  • Carbohydrate, by difference 53.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber

Try this delicious nut today and let us know if it pleased your taste buds!

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