Pine nuts: nutritional value, benefits and mode of consumption

Have you ever eaten pine nuts? This dried fruit has benefits for your health. Know what they are.

Last update: 12 September, 2022

Surely you have heard of pine nuts or have consumed them at some point, but you probably do not know where they come from and the benefits they bring to health. These delicious nuts They are the seeds found in the scales of the cones produced by the Scots pine. They are also known as pine nuts, pignoli either pignons.

Their exquisite flavor and softness allow them to be consumed raw or in salty and sweet preparations. In addition, in the last decade, the recognition of its nutritional value has increased its global demand.

Today it is considered the most exclusive and expensive dried fruit on the international market.

Later we will show all the information related to the nutritional value, the benefits and the different ways of consuming pine nuts. So join us so you can enjoy this dried fruit and write it down as an ingredient that should not be missing from your diet.

What are pine nuts?

stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) It is a conifer native to the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. Today, it is grown in Asia, Australia, the Middle East, and South America.

The tree can reach up to 15 meters in height. It produces pineapples that house the seeds or pine nuts. These are considered the most expensive nuts in the world, since their yield is minimal.

To obtain a kilo of edible piñon seed, about 40 kilos of pineapples are required. In addition, they are very delicate to keep intact in flavor, since they tend to go rancid easily.

The seeds are small, whitish and elongated. To harvest them, you have to let the pineapples dry in summer and wait for them to open to extract the pine nuts, from which the shell is then removed for edible use. They have a certain sweetness and aroma similar to that of almonds or walnuts.

Nutritional value

Pine nuts are considered one of the nuts with the highest nutritional value.especially in terms of its contribution of polyunsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals.

Among the dried fruits, pine nuts represent the most expensive product of all of them.

Calories and macronutrients

Both energy and macronutrients are expressed per 100 grams of edible nuts:

  • Calories: 693.
  • Proteins: 14 grams.
  • Total fats: 68.6 grams.
  • Saturated: 4.6 grams.
  • Monounsaturated (omega-9): 19.9 grams.
  • Polyunsaturated (omega-3): 41.1 grams.
  • carbohydrates: 4 grams.
  • Fiber: 1.9 grams.

As noted in the nutritional information, pine nuts are a good source of protein, but especially unsaturated fats, such as omega-3, which represent 60%. This causes a rapid rancidity of this dry fruit, so it is worth taking care of them from heat and sunlight.

One tablespoon of pine nuts covers 35% of the recommended polyunsaturated fat. The energy contribution is one of the highest among nuts, after macadamia nuts. On the other hand, the amount of fiber accounts for almost half of all carbohydrates.

Vitamins and minerals

The values ​​are expressed in milligrams per 100 grams of pine nuts:

  • Iron: 5,6.
  • Magnesium: 270.
  • Zinc: 6.5.
  • Potassium: 780.
  • Match: 650.
  • Niacin: 6.9.
  • Vitamin E: 13.7.

Pine nuts are also rich in phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, potassium and iron. Niacin is in very good concentration and, when they are roasted, it tends to increase even more. Vitamin E is equivalent to 10% of the daily recommended intake.

benefits of pine nuts

The healthy value of the pine nut is influenced by its chemical compositionespecially for the quality of the fat that makes it up, its vitamins and minerals.

Source of omega-9 and omega-3 fatty acids

The lipids of the pine nuts have very healthy characteristics. A high proportion is omega-9 fatty acid, known as oleic, which is also found in olive oil. This fatty acid has been written and evidenced in terms of prevention of cardiovascular disorders.

The characteristic fatty acids of pine nuts, pinolenic and sciadonic, are omega-3 fatty acids, which are also related to the prevention of heart disease. Other fatty acids present in these nuts are linoleic or omega-6, in balance with omega-3.

May have antioxidant effects

Another factor that contributes to the healthy effects of pine nuts is the presence of bioactive polyphenolic and vitamin compounds. Professors Lutz and Loewe comment on the high concentration of antioxidants, vitamin E and phenols, which have a healthy impact on health humanincluding its anti-aging action.

The polyphenols in pine nut flour have a high capacity to capture free radicals and prevent the chain reaction of oxidative processes at the cellular level. For this reason, it can be considered a functional food.

They can be satiety inducers

The high levels of fat in pine nuts, as well as protein, they facilitate the satiety power of these nuts when consumed. Gastric emptying slows down and hunger disappears for a long time.

Lower cholesterol levels bad

Professors Lutz and Loewe They also highlight that pine nuts have an antilipogenic effect, in terms of lowering the levels of triglycerides and LDL or cholesterol bad. According to these experts, the seed is capable of reducing the absorption of dietary cholesterol, thanks to the presence of phytosterols such as beta-sitosterol, campesterol and stigmasterol.

In this way, the consumption of pine nuts improves the lipid profile in the blood. It is recommended for patients suffering from high cholesterol.

Pine nuts could have a role in lowering blood cholesterol. This, of course, must be accompanied by other dietary guidelines.

They can strengthen the immune system

According to a group of experts, among the nutrients that strengthen the immune system, there are some present in pine nuts. Therefore, consuming this dried fruit would be a good option to increase the intake of zinc, magnesium and iron, promoting defenses.

Consumption mode of pine nuts

White pine nuts are very tender, with a fine flavor and a little sweet. When they are fresh, they have a certain resinous taste that diminishes when passing them through the pan.

Its culinary use stands out as an accompaniment to meat, fish, vegetables, salads, desserts and sweets. There is a wide variety of sweet and savory dishes that can be prepared with these delicious nuts. They can also be eaten raw and roasted, as a snack.

In the kitchen gourmet some salty dishes stand out. The most notable are the aubergines stuffed with tomatoes and pine nuts, the melon and Iberian ham salad with toasted pine nuts or the cod with pine nuts and raisins.

Other popular dishes are Catalan-style turkey, blood sausage scrambled with potatoes and pine nuts, and Catalan-style spinach. Within the sweets, the cocas de piñones are famous or the panellets typical of Valencia, Catalonia or the Balearic Islands.

How many pine nuts can be consumed per day?

Despite the benefits of pine nut fat, you have to take care of your daily intake, since the energy intake is very high. Therefore, it is recommended to eat only a handful of these nuts per day, which is equivalent to 30 or 40 grams.

With this serving, about 200 calories, 4 grams of protein, 12 grams of omega-3 fat and 6 grams of omega-9 are guaranteed.

You might be interested…