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Amazing Health Benefits Of Pine Nuts (Chilgoza Pine Nuts)

Pine nuts or say, chilgoza pine nuts are one of the most nutritional species of pine. They are edible seeds of pine tree fruit and are sweeter in taste. Some pine eaters, however, complain of bitter and metallic taste one or three days after their consumption (pine nut syndrome). [1]

Chilgoza pines have a buttery texture and are low in calories. They make for the best healthy snack and are thus, preferred by diabetics or people on a weight loss journey. In this article, we will discuss the amazing health benefits of pine nuts. Take a look.

Nutritional Profile Of Pine Nuts

Pine nuts contain 51.3% fatty acids which include stearic acid (1.2%), oleic acid (2.3%), pinolenic acid (19%), linoleic acid (2.8%). It also contains 8.7% water, 13.6% protein, 0.9% fibre and 3% minerals and ash.

They are packed with high levels of phytochemicals such as catechins, uteins, carotenoids, gallocatechins, lycopenes and tocopherols. Pine nuts are one of the richest sources of manganese along with other minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and selenium. [2]

Health Benefits Of Pine Nuts

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1. Manage diabetes

Diabetes is mainly associated with increased oxidative stress in the body. A study has shown that oral administration of pine nuts can improve insulin resistance and decrease fasting blood glucose by reducing oxidative damage to the liver. Pine nuts can be used as a potential therapeutic food item in the prevention and management of hyperglycemia. [2]

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2. Prevent heart diseases

Impaired vascular functions are linked to increased risk of heart diseases. According to a study, nuts such as pine nuts can improve vascular functions and decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease. This is because they are rich in folate, magnesium, vitamin E, arginine, potassium along with polyphenols and healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats). [3]

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3. Help with weight loss

A study has shown that ellagic acid, a naturally occurring polyphenol in nuts are effective in attenuating obesity and related complications such as insulin resistance, fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. As pine nuts are also rich in ellagic acid, their consumption can help reduce adipose tissues and effectively manage obesity. [4]

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4. Have anticancer potential

Polyphenols in pine nuts have great anticancer potential and may help prevent cell division, which is the main cause of cancer. According to a study, dietary polyphenols in pine nuts may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lung cancer and other cancer types by inducing apoptosis that helps remove cancerous cells and maintains balance in the body. [5] Also, selenium in the nuts may also help reduce the risk of cancer.

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5. Reduce ageing

Ageing is the major risk factor for chronic diseases, mainly due to chronic inflammation and oxidative damage. As pine nuts are highly packed with antioxidant compounds, they may help improve endothelial functions and reduce inflammatory biomarkers, thus positively reducing the ageing factors and associated cognitive decline. [6]

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6. May reduce allergy risk in children

Nut allergy is the most common food allergy in children. According to a study, high consumption of tree nuts by non-allergic pregnant women can help reduce the risk of nut allergy in children. The consumption of pine nuts is effective in reducing nut allergy at a genetic level. However, more research is needed in the area. [7] Some studies also suggest that pine nuts are a good alternative for people with wheat allergy as they are gluten-free.

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7. Boost immunity

The high content of minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, zinc, iron and selenium in pine nuts may help boost immunity effectively. They help improve the immune functions by increasing the number of white blood cells which in turn, help fight the pathogens and strengthen the immunity. [8]

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Culinary Uses Of Pine Nuts

  • Pine nuts are best preferred roasted and salted.
  • They are widely used for the preparation of baking goods such as cookies, granolas, chocolates and energy bars.
  • Similar to pumpkin seeds, pine nuts are also sprinkled over fruits salads or soups to get their nutritional benefits.
  • They are also sprinkled over desserts or ice creams.
  • They are used as a nutritious coating for meat and chicken before baking or frying them.
  • Chilgoza nut oil is preferred as a salad dressing.

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Common FAQs

1. Why are pine nuts so expensive?

Pine nuts tree are slow growers as they take around 18-36 months to mature completely. Also, after harvesting, the cones are mainly smashed to separate the seeds and then dried in the sun for around 20 days. This shows that pine nuts production is time-consuming which explains for their high cost in the market.

2. Are pine nuts good for you?

Yes, pine nuts are extremely nutritious with fewer or no side effects. They are widely consumed for its effectiveness against diseases such as diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

3. Are pine nuts dangerous?

Pine nuts have minimal side effects. They may cause nut allergy in some people and lactating and breastfeeding women are often advised to limit their content. Also, certain supplements of pine nuts can worsen episodes of seizures in people with the condition.