Pine nuts are almost a symbol of Mediterranean cuisine. Especially if you take a look at the famous Genovese pesto recipe.
Since ancient times, Mediterranean people have been using them in cooking and medicine preparation. Numerous recipes for healthy salads, sauces, side dishes feature these mysterious nuts that are actually seeds.
What exactly are pine nuts?
Pine nuts are edible seeds from Pinyon pine cones that grow in the Mediterranean, North America, and around Siberia. Their use in the nutrition of indigenous people existed in the North American continent for over 10 thousand years. In Europe, they have been used for the last 2000 years.
They are quite pricey today, but the nutrition value is high! Specifically, the nuts (actually seeds) grow inside the cone, which must be dried and allowed to dissolve itself and make the pine nuts available. Moreover, after 15 years of age, Pinyon pine begins to produce significant quantities of pine nuts.
What is the nutritional value?
Among nuts, pine nuts are the kings of protein. Specifically, in 100 grams of pine nuts, you will find as much as 31 grams of protein! Don’t get us wrong, we still think the best source of protein in Ketonian diet is meat and fish.
Furthermore, they contain essential fatty acids, amino acids and antioxidants, which further improve their nutritional picture.
Due to their high-fat content, they are very powerful energy providers! In a 30-gram serving, you will get 200 kcal. In addition, they are rich in vitamins and minerals. These gems contain vitamins A, C, D, E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
What do pine nuts taste like?
The taste most closely resembles almonds, although the aroma is more intense. Inside the thin brownish membrane is a pale yellow seed with a delicate texture and intense taste.
Health benefits of pine nuts consumption
Due to their caloric value and high protein content, pine nuts are an excellent choice for Ketonians. The high energy content is due to healthy fats, especially monounsaturated fats (oleic acid).
Pine seeds contain pinolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is considered responsible for suppressing appetite and maintaining a sense of satiety. A study found that pinolenic acid promotes the secretion of two hormones that reduce the desire for food: cholecystokinin (CCK) and GLP1 (glucagon peptide). CCK and GLP1 suppress appetite by sending signals to the brain that reduce food cravings.
A powerful source of vitamin E
Similar to almonds, pine nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E. They contain about 9.33 mg per 100 grams. Vitamin E is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant needed by the body to protect the cell membrane from oxidative stress. As an antioxidant, this vitamin helps the body fight the free radicals that are responsible for causing a number of diseases.
Vitamin B follows
They are an excellent source of B vitamins, including thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6) and folic acid (B9). Thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin all participate in energy production, while pyridoxine and folic acid participate in the conversion of homocysteine.
Vitamin B6 has a number of positive health effects: it contributes to normal psychological and immune function, cysteine synthesis, metabolism of homocysteine, protein and glycogen, and energy production and nervous system function. Vitamin B6 contributes to the regulation of hormonal activity, reducing fatigue and exhaustion and the formation of red blood cells.
Gluten-free and safe for people with nut allergies
As a gluten-free food, these seeds are suitable for the preparation of gluten-free meals, which is of particular interest to people intolerant to gluten or those suffering from celiac disease and other intestinal diseases.
Just like other nuts or seeds, pine nuts can be eaten raw or lightly baked. They are commonly found in healthy salad recipes and are an indispensable ingredient in gourmet recipes. We will publish more recipes with these rare gems of nature! Don’t forget, even Pine needles are edible and they can be used for a great Keto pine needle syrup.