Pine nuts are commonly found in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India. Pine nuts can be added to desserts, salads and can also be made into a sauce. There are about 29 different varieties of pine nuts that are safe for human consumption.
Pine nuts are small and elongated and they have a crunchy texture. They have a sweet and delicate flavor.
Health Benefits of Pine NutsThough small in size, pine nuts provide various health benefits. Besides culinary uses, pine nuts play an important role in the treatment, prevention and management of various health disorders. Let's get down to the health benefits of pine nuts:
Heart-Protective Role of Pine
Aids in Weight Loss
Pine nuts help
in weight loss by stimulating the release of hormones that suppress
Unsaturated fat in pine nuts helps to
release a high concentration of cholecystokinin, which is the hormone
that suppresses appetite. Thus, pine nuts help prevent overeating and
aids in weight loss.
Rich Source of Protein
Pine nuts are a good source of protein and they have a well-balanced composition of essential amino acids (building blocks of protein that are required by the body).
Pine nuts contain "arginine", an amino acid that possesses antioxidant properties and blood-pressure lowering effects in individuals with hypertension. Arginine also inhibits the formation of blood clots.
Furthermore, pine nuts contain "lysine", an amino acid that is found in very little quantities in in cereals. Thus, adding pine nuts to cereal preparations can improve the overall protein content.
Pine nuts protect the heart via the
- Pine nuts inhibit the formation of clots in the arteries and
ensure smooth blood flow throughout the body
cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke. Pine
nuts contain oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat that lowers the
level of low-density
lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart
- They also lower other factors that are
the main cause for heart diseases such as high blood pressure and high
level of oxidative stress.
- Free radicals lead to
the build-up of fatty plaques inside the arteries that obstruct blood
flow. Thus, the heart has to pump harder to make sure that blood reaches
each part of the body. This weakens the heart and can even lead to
- Pine nuts contain antioxidants that
neutralize these free radicals and prevent overall damage.
Great Source of Antioxidants
Pine nuts are packed with antioxidants, some of them include:
Due to the presence of these antioxidants, pine nuts have an amazing potential to scavenge free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. Pine nuts are also a good source of vitamin E, which prevents premature aging of the skin by combating free radical damage.
- Gallocatechin (present in highest amount among all antioxidants)
Contain Healthy Fats
Pine nuts are good sources of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA). Oleic acid in pine nuts help lower cholesterol levels and prevent the damage of arteries.
Out of the total fat content pine nuts contain:
Omega fatty acids are unsaturated fat that is favorable for the heart, brain, eyes and overall lipid profile.
- 1.5% omega-3 fatty acid
- 51.3% omega-6 fatty acid
- 39.7% omega-9 fatty acid
Helps Improve Vision
Lutein, a carotenoid present in pine nuts can help prevent eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and improve vision. The progression of AMD leads to blood and fluid formation in the retina that causes further damage. Lutein is a pigment found in the macula that protects against oxidation by light and scavenges free radicals. Studies have shown that consumption of foods that are good sources of lutein such as pine nuts can significantly reduce the risk of AMD.
Other Benefits of Pine Nuts
Studies have shown that pine nuts possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. It helps in the treatment of pathogenic diseases. Pine nuts contain manganese that strengthens the bone, thereby preventing fractures and osteoporosis.
What is Pine Mouth Syndrome?Pine mouth syndrome is a bitter and metallic taste after consumption of 10-15 pine nuts. Such a taste may even last up to 2 weeks. The reason behind this could be decomposition and degradation of fat present in pine nuts.
Recipe Using Pine NutsDates and Pine Nut Balls
- Dates- 1 cup (de-seeded and finely chopped)
- Pine nuts: 3-4 tablespoons (chopped)
- Olive oil- 1 teaspoon
- Soak the dates in warm water for half an hour and grind into a thick paste.
- In a pan, heat oil and add the dates mixture to it
- Cook this mixture for 2-3 minutes or until soft
- Turn off the gas. Knead the dates mixture with your hands if required
- Add pine nuts to dates mixture and mix well
- Divide the mixture into equal portions and roll them into balls and serve