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Pine Nuts

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Pine nuts come from…you guessed it, pines! Pine nuts have a delectable flavor and are tedious to harvest, which is why they are one of the more expensive nuts. The pine nut, also called pignoli or pinon, are small teardrop-shaped nuts that have been cultivated for food for more than 5,000 years. The pine trees that produce pine nuts are grown in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Health Benefits

The pine nut has long been used for medicinal and health purposes, having been used for gout, cataracts and to help increase energy. Pine nuts are rich in antioxidants, monounsaturated fats, lutein, vitamin E and zinc, making them a great snack choice for fighting heart disease, inflammation, and macular degeneration.

The fatty acids present in the pine nut can help reduce your appetite and the nut contains a high amount of pinolenic acid which is known to provide satiety, lasting sometimes for hours.

People suffering from diabetes can benefit from pine nuts because they are shown to moderate blood glucose levels as well as reduce LDL cholesterol.

Pine nuts are abundant in iron and magnesium, both of which are essential to good health. The iron helps transport oxygen throughout the bloodstream and the magnesium prevent depression, anxiety, and stress.  Also, magnesium helps reduce the risk of cancer, including pancreatic cancer.

Due to the high levels of calcium and Vitamin K found in pine nuts, they are great for supporting bone health. This type of calcium is much healthier than the form present in dairy milk, as the dairy form of calcium is actually acidic to the human bone structure and can cause acidosis. Furthermore, calcium is more readily absorbed when consumed in conjunction with vitamin K. Fortunately the pine nut contains both making it a great dietary addition in the interest of healthy bones.

Nutritional Values per 3.5 oz. Serving

Protein = 13.69 grams

Folates = 34 mcg

Vitamins A = 29 IU

Vitamin C = 0.8 mg

Vitamin E = 9.33 mg

Zinc = 6.45 mg

Potassium = 597 mg

Calcium = 16 mg

Lutein = 9 mcg

Iron = 0.9 mg

Magnesium = 66.3 mg

About the Pine Nut

Pine nuts are also referred to as Manna of the Mountains and thrive in US mountain deserts with elevations as high as 9,000 feet. The small dwarf size tree is found in the Colorado regions where the pine nuts provided sustenance to Indian tribes. Found also in Idaho, Texas, and Mexico, the pine nut tree is hearty and has been a long-standing food source.

While pine nuts are produced in the United States, those found in Asia are more economical, thus China is the largest producer. The pine nuts from Chinese varieties are typically more flavorful than those grown in the US. Each pinecone can produce as many as one hundred seeds, but some pine nuts take three years to reach maturity.

While pine nuts are enjoyed as a dessert topping, a tasty addition to salads and coffee, in ancient Roman and Greek times they were added to honey to increase shelf life.

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