Pine nuts are full of protein and minerals; these small kernels can not only aid the prevention of disease, but they are also a useful weight loss aid, as they have been found to effectively suppress the appetite.
Pine nuts come from pinecones that grow on pine trees. They are generally more expensive to buy than other nuts, because harvesting them is fairly labor-intensive since the cones need to be heated to help dislodge the nuts.
Pine nuts are rich in protein- they contain from ten to thirty-five percent protein. They are also rich in the immunity-boosting antioxidant mineral zinc, and contain high levels of polyunsaturated fats, which help to promote a healthy heart. Pine nuts are a good source of Vitamin E, which helps to protect against the damage caused by pollution and other toxins, and is needed by the immune system's antibodies to fight disease. They are also a good source of magnesium, which helps to alleviate muscle cramps, tension and fatigue, as well as iron, fiber and vitamin K.
Pine nuts are nature's only source of pinolenic acid, which stimulates hormones and helps diminish appetite.
A University of Liverpool study investigated the effects of pine nuts on appetite. Results showed that pine nuts contain two important chemicals, endogenous cholecystokinin (CCK) and glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) that once consumed, contribute to individuals feeling satiated, and not wanting to eat further.
A further study in the Netherlands supports these findings, concluding that Korean pine nuts in particular, can work as "an appetite suppressant through an increasing effect on satiety hormones and a reduced prospective food intake".
A Russian study found that pine nut oil helped to combat hypertension (high blood pressure) and promoted healthy blood and cholesterol levels.
Tips on Using Pine Nuts
- Pine nut oil is available from health food shops, and is a great way to obtain the health benefits of pine nuts.
- Sprinkle pine nuts onto salads or vegetables, or grind them up to make a pesto. Lightly roasting the nuts brings out their rich, buttery flavor.
- Hughes GM, Boyland EJ, Williams NJ, et al. The effect of Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin) on food intake, feeding behaviour and appetite: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Lipids health Dis. 2008 Feb 28;7:6.
- Pasman WJ, Heimerikx J, Rubingh CM, et al. The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids health Dis. 2008 Mar 20;7:10.
- Bakhtin IuV, Budaeva VV, Vereshchagin AL, et al. Efficiency of Siberian pine oil in complex treating of people ill with benign hypertension. Vopr Pitan. 2006;75(1):51-3.