The next time you go to the bar you may find yourself crunching on this super food while you indulge in an ice cold beer or a glass of wine. Despite their name, pine nuts are not nuts, but actual edible, nutrient-dense seeds that can replenish, revitalize, and rejuvenate the body. Whether you’re on a diet, want to reduce your risk of chronic illnesses, or simply want to add a crunchy texture to your meals, enjoying a handful of these seeds per day may increase your longevity in six healthy ways.
1. Pine Nuts Help Suppress Appetite
Dieters may rejoice in knowing a handful of pine nuts, or 30 grams, can help in weight management. The pinolenic acid content can stimulate the intestines to produce hormones called CCK that signal the brain to turn off “hungry mode,” according to Shippensburg University. This slows down the stomach’s rate of digestion and leaves the dieter feeling full. In a paper presented at the 2006 American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, Dr. J.L. demonstrated how women given three grams of the pinolenic acid immediately before they began to eat breakfast, slowed down the absorption of food in their gut. The supplementation of the acid controlled the appetite in overweight women and led to a decrease in food intake by 37 percent.
2. Pine Nuts Boost Your Energy
To combat feelings of tiredness and fatigue, pine nuts provide an energy boost that helps repair and build tissues in the body. The protein in these seeds helps burn fuel slowly, which provides you with long-lasting energy that doesn’t cause you to burnout. Pine nuts’ iron content helps the body transport and store energy, while helping the cells produce usable energy, according to NutsforLife.
3. Pine Nuts Help Reduce Heart Disease Risk
Nuts are known for their protective effect from heart disease. The consumption of a handful of nuts, including pine nuts, may reduce the risk of heart disease. They’re nutrient-dense with healthy fats, dietary fiber, plant sterols, arginine, and antioxidant vitamins and minerals that are heart healthy. In a study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found dietary nut intake was associated with a significantly reduced risk of sudden cardiac death in males who consumed nuts two or more times per week. However, nut intake did not significantly reduce the risk of nonsudden coronary heart disease death or nonfatal myocardial infarction.
4. Pine Nuts Slow Down Aging
If you want to look and feel younger than your age, pine nuts can help slow down the aging process. Typically, free radicals are produced either when the body breaks down food or when you are exposed to environmental hazards, such as tobacco smoke or radiation. The high antioxidant content in these seeds protects cells from damage due to free radicals, says Seedsguide.info. The copper content present in pine nuts can also prevent aging.
5. Pine Nuts Help Prevent Eye Diseases
If you can’t see as well as you would like to, pine nuts can help improve your vision and eye health. These seeds contain lutein, a carotenoid vitamin, that can help the eyes filter UV light, preventing it from damaging the macula — the region of the retina responsible for central vision, nutrition expert Joy Bauer explains on her website. Lutein can also reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Pine Mouth Syndrome
The consumption of pine nuts can lead to a bitter aftertaste in the mouth, also known as pine mouth syndrome, starting 24 to 48 hours after eating certain pine nuts. It can last up to two weeks, according to NutsforLife. Consumers are advised this is not harmful, and there is no difference in the quality or nutrition composition of the seeds. The cause may be attributed to a variety of pine nut known as Pinus armandii, or Chinese white pine.
Source: Albert CM, Gaziano JM, Willett WC, Manson JE. Nut consumption and decreased risk of sudden cardiac death in the Physicians' Health Study. Arch Intern Med. 2002.