Before getting into the many pine nuts benefits, you should know that pines are gymnosperm plants; their seeds are naked and not covered by the fruit. Pine cones are not pine fruit but the female inflorescence, which contains the seeds or pine nuts among their woody scales.
Pine Nuts Scientific Facts
- Scientific name: Pinus pinea L.
- Other names: Pine kernel, Indian nut, nut pine, Mexican nut pine.
- French: Pignon.
- Spanish: Piñón.
- German: Pinienkerne.
- Description: The seed of the pine nut tree of the Pinaceae botanical family. It reaches thirty meters in height, and its leaves or needles tend to be longer than those of other pines.
- Environment: Originally from the Mediterranean region, it has acclimated to warm areas on the American continent.
Pine Nuts Benefits
Pine nuts are delicious, and due to their relative scarcity and high price, their use is reserved as a decorative element in baked goods or an exquisite condiment in fine cuisine. However, pine nuts possess a great deal of nutritional value that many ignore. They contain 61 percent of fats composed primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids such as linolenic and pinolenic acids, which are especially important in forming nerve tissues and reducing blood cholesterol.
They are also rich in high biological quality (complete) proteins (11.6 percent), vitamin B1, and iron (3 mg/100 grams). Pine nuts stand out because of their vitamin B1 content, surpassed only by sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and brewer’s yeast. These are the most crucial applications of pine nuts.
- Nervous system disorders, thanks to the vitamin B1 content as well as pine nuts’ essential fatty acids. They are suggested for people suffering from depression and stress and their benefits for students and other intellectual workers.
- Anemia and other weakened bodily conditions because of their high nutritional and mineral content.
- Cardiac disease and arteriosclerosis due to the beneficial action of their fatty acids on the arteries.
The Chilean araucaria (Pinus Araucana L. = Araucaria Araucana K. Koch), also known as Chilean pine, reaches a height of 60 meters. It provides excellent nuts that form the staple food for the Araucanian people, who are known for their legendary strength and endurance.
How to use Pine Nuts
- Raw – raw pine nuts have a delightful flavor. A handful of them may be eaten if well chewed. They must be stored in a well-sealed container because they become rancid quickly.
- They may be used in various culinary preparations as a condiment because of their pleasant flavor and high nutritional value.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods, and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 47. Print. [pine nuts benefits]