Who would have thought the lowly pine nut could be so healthy? Here are some of the remarkable health benefits of this seed.
When you think of a nut, it’s quite likely that a pine nut doesn’t come to mind, but may maybe it should. Although technically not a nut – it’s actually a seed from the pine cone, this underappreciated snack offers considerable health benefits. What are some of the health benefits of pine cones and why should you add them to your diet?
They curb your appetite.
It may surprise you to learn that pine nuts can be a potent appetite suppressor. Why? They’re a good source of a polyunsaturated fat known as pinolenic acid. When you eat a handful of pine nuts, the pinolenic acid stimulates the secretion of a hormone produced by the intestines known as CCK. CCK sends the signal to your brain that you’re full which turns off your appetite. It also helps to slow down the rate at which your stomach empties so you feel full and satisfied longer. Who would have dreamed these tiny seeds from the pinecone could zap your appetite?
They’re nutritional powerhouses.
A single serving of the lowly pine nut can provide you with up to fourteen grams of protein per serving, depending upon the species. Pine nuts are anywhere from ten to thirty-four percent protein. They’re also an excellent source of fiber as well as vitamins E, K, and niacin. In terms of minerals, they’re an excellent source of magnesium and potassium which is important for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure.
They’re heart healthy.
Pine nuts are high in monounsaturated fats, the same “heart healthy” fats that make nuts and olive oil so beneficial. These fats have not only been shown to reduce blood cholesterol levels but also help to protect the arteries from damage which can lead to a heart attack. Because of their high content, they can go rancid quickly when you buy them already shelled. Their shelf life can be prolonged by refrigeration.
They offer antioxidant protection.
Pine nuts are also high in antioxidants which help to protect the cells of your body from free radical damage. Pine nut oil can also be bought at some natural food markets to help you deliver even more antioxidant power to your salads.
There are so many ways to add the health benefits of pine nuts to your diet. Sprinkle them on salads or onto vegetables and pasta dishes. They also make up one of the main ingredients in basil pesto. To bring out their rich, buttery flavor even more, lightly toast them. Try experimenting in your own kitchen with these tasty “nutty” seeds. You’ll soon wonder how you ever cooked without them.