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Pine Nuts

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Pine Nuts Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 2.3 g
Calories: 673 kcal
Protein: 13.7 g
Carbohydrate: 13.1 g
Dietary fiber: 3.7 g
Sugars: 3.6 g
Fat: 68.4 g
Saturated fat: 4.9 g
Monounsaturated fat: 18.8 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 34.1 g
Vitamin C: 0.8 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B2: 0.2 mg
Vitamin B3: 4.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 34 μg
Vitamin A: 1 μg
Vitamin E: 9.3 mg
Vitamin K: 53.9 μg
Calcium: 16 mg
Iron: 5.5 mg
Magnesium: 251 mg
Phosphorus: 575 mg
Potassium: 597 mg
Sodium: 2 mg
Zinc: 6.5 mg

Pine nuts are the edible seeds of pines (yes, they come from pinecones!), and a highly nutritious luxury food. While they are certainly expensive (because it’s very time intensive to harvest them), pine nuts make up for it by being delicious! Commonly eaten toasted, roasted or raw, pine nuts are fantastic in pesto, pasta and a number of traditional cakes and desserts. Pine nuts can also be made into pine nut oil, which has been the source of a lot of scientific research into appetite, cholesterol levels and blood pressure. With concrete health benefits and a rounded nutritional profile, pine nuts are a fantastic addition to a healthy diet.

Nutritionally, pine nuts are like many other nuts and seeds: high calorie, but with high levels of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. 100g of pine nuts (yes, we know that’s a lot of pine nuts!) contain 673 calories, which is a lot. But for those calories you get high levels of healthy fats: 34g of polyunsaturated fats and 19g of monounsaturated fats for every 4.9g of saturated fat.

On top of that, 100g of pine nuts contains 14g of protein, over a quarter of your Daily Value (DV). This means that pine nuts (along with many other nuts and seeds) are a great way to balance out a problem prevalent in many western diets: too many simple carbohydrates and saturated fats.

Beyond that, pine nuts benefit from being high in essential minerals: 100g contains 62% DV of magnesium, 30% DV of iron and 17% DV of potassium. Deficiency in all of these is common, so this is important. Iron deficiency anaemia can lead to tiredness and paleness initially, and more severe symptoms later, and insufficient levels of magnesium and potassium have been linked to poor cardiovascular health, so avoiding these deficiencies is a big step toward a healthier lifestyle.

In addition to the great nutrient profile of pine nuts, there are also a number of well-documented health benefits of pine nuts to do with appetite, cholesterol and blood pressure; specifically, research done with Korean pine nut oil.

One study showed that pine nut oil had marked effects of appetite suppression and weight loss. Another showed that pine nut oil had positive effects on lowering LDL cholesterol (known as the ‘bad’ cholesterol), and a final study showed that pine nut oil lowered blood pressure, in addition to reducing platelet aggregation (a major risk factor for atherosclerosis). With obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis being some of the primary risk factors for some of the biggest killers in the developed world (strokes and cardiovascular disease), these are some fantastic benefits.