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Top 5 Health Benefits of Pine Nuts

Contributed by Jane Ellen

Not scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks

Do you love pine nuts? That sweet, nutty flavour is a big hit, and as a rather expensive food, they’re something of a luxury with which to spoil yourself. Of course, they’re 100 percent natural, but are they really good for you, or are they a vice that you should limit? Here’s what you need to know about the many benefits of pinenuts so that you can enjoy your treat secure in the knowledge that it’s a healthy option.

1. Pine Nuts Could Cut Your “Bad” Cholesterol

Animal studies have indicated that pinolenic acid in pine nuts may help you to metabolise “bad” LDL cholesterol. That’s the type of cholesterol that has been linked to heart disease, so it would definitely count as a health benefit. Unfortunately, similar studies haven’t been carried out on humans yet, but there’s a strong possibility that we can expect a similar effect.

2. Pine Nuts May Help to Reduce Fasting Blood Glucose

There are several reasons why pine nuts might be helpful in reducing fasting blood sugar levels. To begin with, animal studies using an extract made from pine nuts showed promising results.

 

Then there’s the hypothesis that carb-rich foods with unsaturated fats could be of help in lowering blood sugar. Finally, a study on people with Type 2 diabetes found that eating 2 ounces of tree nuts helped to lower blood sugar while increasing insulin responsiveness. Although this study didn’t involve pine nuts per se, they have a similar nutritional profile to other tree nuts.

 

Not worried about diabetes just yet? Pine nuts may reduce your chances of developing this condition. They’re high in manganese, a mineral that, when taken at a rate higher than the typical RDA lowers the risk of developing diabetes.

3. They’re Rich in Antioxidants

Oxidative stress and inflammation are linked to a host of ills, and for decades, we’ve known that taking natural antioxidants can help.  Pine nuts contain polyphenols, and their antioxidant properties can help to safeguard your health. The manganese in pine nuts also acts as an antioxidant, so your pine nut nibbling could be helping to boost your immunity.

4. Looking for a Healthy Snack While Losing Weight?

Pine nuts are nutrient dense. That means that your hunger pangs will be quickly quelled and you’ll continue to feel satisfied for longer. When compared to the processed foods we usually snack on, pine nuts are definitely a better snack choice for dieters. Nibble them in moderation to stave off feelings of hunger.

 

5. Excellent for Vegetarians and During Pregnancy

The high nutrient levels, and particularly iron, in pine nuts make them a great snack during pregnancy. Vitamin C levels are low, but sufficient to boost iron absorption. They’re also high in fibre, so they’ll help to prevent constipation. Vegetarians will also benefit from pine nuts as a protein source.

The Only Downside: Cost

As you can imagine, pine nuts are a long term crop for which farmers must wait decades. As for getting the nuts free of the pine cones, it’s a costly process, and that translates into a high price for this delicacy. Nevertheless, pine nuts’ health benefits and delicious taste make them a worthwhile addition to your larder. They’re good on their own, and you can include them in a wide range of tasty recipes too.

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