- Better Living
Grab A Handful Of Pine Nuts For Good Health
This less-popular nut is great for your heart and eyes
Recent research around nuts suggests that eating them daily can lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Here’s what makes the lesser-known and little-used pine nuts (chilgoza) a great snack.
1. Pine nuts or pine kernels are the edible seeds of pine cones. These delicate ivory-coloured nuts have a soft texture, and a sweet, buttery flavour. A key ingredient in pesto and pasta dishes, it is primarily used in Mediterranean and Asian cuisine. These nuts are versatile and can be enjoyed sprinkled over salads and breakfast bowls, in desserts, confectionary items, in meat, fish and vegetable dishes, or simply toasted as a healthy and delicious snack.
2. Yes, nuts are high in fat and calories, including pine nuts. However, the good fats in these nuts outweigh the bad ones. Mono and polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids in nuts are also known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases; so including pine nuts in your diet can be a win-win situation.
3. Pine nuts are rich in protein, lipids, and vitamins K and E and are also a good source of minerals such as potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium. This makes them a food of high nutritional value. As per the “The protein content of some pine nuts ... exceeds that of all other commercial nuts, except the cashews.”
4. They come packed with vitamin E and antioxidants, including the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. “In general, these antioxidants can help preserve your eye health and prevent eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration,” says Alexandra Salcedo, RD, CDE, a clinical dietitian at UC San Diego Health, in an article on the Livestrong website. While the antioxidants in pine nuts help reduce oxidative stress thereby slowing down the skin’s ageing process, vitamin E helps nourish and improve its texture.
5. The nut is rich in fats, protein and also has some fibre, all of which can make you feel full for a longer duration. This makes pine nuts a great snack or a meal addition for those looking to manage or reduce weight. Plus, it’s just that much easier to grab a handful of these nuts on the go.