A pine nut is a general name of the seeds, given by the so-called cedar pines, which are several species of the pine genus, that produce edible seeds. In the USA by pine seeds people mostly mean the Nevada Soft Shell Pine Nuts (Pinus monophylla seeds). Pine nuts are a small, pale yellow grain with a bright flavor, they are almost always sold shelled. Fried pine nuts start producing oil and their spicy flavor becomes brighter.
The pine tree homeland is considered to be the vast expanses of Siberia, where these majestic trees still grow. Some of them can reach the age of 3000 years.
Pine Nuts Nutritional Value
Pine nuts contain high amounts of fats and carbohydrates. Their calorie content is 673 kcal per 100 g of dried or raw product. The meal cedar has slightly fewer calories – 432 kcal per 100 g. Excessive use of pine nuts can cause obesity.
Nutritional value per 100 g:
- Proteins – 13.7 gr
- Fats – 68.4 gr
- Carbohydrates – 13.1 gr
- Ash – 2.6 gr
- Water – 2.3 gr
- Energy – 673 kcal
Healthy Qualities of the Pine Nut
Pine nut kernel comprises: fats, lecithin, nitrogenous substances, including proteins, carbohydrates, ash, moisture, glucose, fructose, sucrose, starch, dextrin, pentosans and fiber.
Pine nuts also contain macroelements such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium, calcium and microelements: iron, manganese, copper, zinc, molybdenum, silicon, aluminum, iodine, boron, nickel, cobalt, lead, strontium, silver.
Even the shell around the nut seed contains such vital nutrients for humans macro- and microelements as phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, potassium, iron, manganese and silicon.
100 g of pine seed kernels contain a number of very rare microelements, which are able to provide the person’s daily requirement of manganese, copper, zinc and cobalt.
The protein of the pine seed kernels contains 14 amino acids, 70% of whoch are indispensable, one of which – arginine (about 20%), – plays an indispensable role in the development of the growing body.
Pine nuts contain almost all of the essential amino acids, fatty acids and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, P. The biological value of the pine nut kernels is in the high levels of vitamin B1 and vitamin E.
Eating pine nuts helps those who switched to a vegetarian diet to compensate for “protein hunger”. Vegetable protein found in the pine nuts is perfectly balanced. It’s composition is very similar to the human tissue proteins and 99% of it can be absorbed by the human body. Another thing determining the high nutritional value of pine nuts is that the pine nuts contain almost all the essential amino acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and mineral elements.
Being a natural food product, the pine nut has no contraindications to the use in food as well as in treatment or prophylactic purposes. Pine nuts are especially useful for people with immunodeficiency, allergic diseases, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract including peptic ulcer and cholelithiasis (having stones in the gallbladder).
Pine nuts oil has high nutritional and medicinal properties, it is easily absorbed by the body. It also contains a huge variety of vitamins: С, B1, В2, A, E, P, F, essential fatty acids, including polyunsaturated (Omega-3) acids. These elements help to regulate work of the liver and gastrointestinal tract, normalize blood cholesterol, help the body to get rid of toxic elements, improve metabolic process within cells, content of blood. They are good for nervous system, improve general condition, stimulate reproductive glands function, increase physical and mental performance, effectively fight disbacteriosis and vitamin deficiency, and are good for growth and development of a child’s body.
Valuable dietary and healing properties of the pine nuts help to cure high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, have a positive effect on the increased acidity of gastric juice, gastric and duodenal ulcers, fight heartburn and belching.
Milled pine nut shells can be used to feed animals. It has an average nutritional value in comparison with other types of feeding, though it contains a lot of fiber, which makes digesting it rather hard work.
During the process of pressing the oil out of the pine nut kernel (cold pressed), a pine nut mill cake is produced. It is rich with biologically active substances, microelements, proteins, vitamins E, A, C and B group, unsaturated fatty acids, and is cholesterol-free. This is an excellent dietary product that helps people to normalize metabolism, preserve health and working performance for many years. It is recommended as an addition to desserts, creams, fruit and vegetable salads. It gives a subtle flavor and aroma to cakes, pastries, ice cream and other confectionery. You can eat the pine nuts with fresh cheese, muesli, honey and so on.
Traditional medicine has readily and widely applied pine nuts for treatment of various diseases. For example, Siberian folks since ancient times consider the pine nuts an effective remedy for calcination.
Pine nut husks and mill cakes were mostly used for the preparation of cleansing baths, for which they were also mixed with the bran. The bath has provided a most beneficial effect on skin, especially if it was chapped and roughened. These baths are recommended for diathesis, eczema, pustular and other skin diseases. Besides, taking a bath with the addition of the pine nuts husk and mill cake broth has a calming effect on nervous system. It is also good to help with both the over excitement and with exhaustion.
Pine nuts (shelled) infusion is used for treatment of rheumatism, gout, for metabolic disorders and vitamin deficiency. Pounded shelled nuts are covered with alchohol, infused for 7 days, then filtered and taken for 1.5-2 months.
The pine nuts shell is rich with tanning substances. It is used to prepare infusions and decoctions (2-3 tablespoons per a cup) to cure inflammation of the mouth and other organs mucous membranes, and in the form of lotions and bathing for treatment of skin conditions (herpes, pustular lesions, eczema, etc.) and burns.
Infusion of pine nuts shells is used to treat gastro-intestinal tract disorders. It gives tone, strength and restores the normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Broth of the pine nut shells has astringent, analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect, it is recommended to drink for treatment of the gastro-intestinal disorders.
The Siberian healers advised to use the pine nut shells infusion for hemorrhoids. Folk medicine recommends drinking an infusion of shell pine nuts to cure blood diseases, as well as osteochondrosis and arthritis.
Crushed pine nut kernels mixed with honey are very good to use if you have an ulcer disease. Traditional medicine believes that constant use of pine nuts or natural cedar oil leads to recovery from various skin diseases, including cancer, eczema and blotches.
Pine nuts should be constantly present in the diet of children and adolescents. They are beneficial for a child’s physical and mental development. They are also essential when the milk teeth change.
Use of pine nuts increases the body’s defenses, strengthens the immune system. Pine nuts also increase sexual vigor in men.
Pine nuts are one of the food products that contain the biggest amount of iron, potassium and magnesium.