Pine nuts: uses and nutritional benefits

The umbrella pine belongs to the Pinaceae family. Their fruits, the pine cones, release pine seeds with the rise of the heat. These seeds are the pine nuts or Pignes. Pesto sauce you think? It would be reductive to associate the pine nuts to a single preparation. From appetizer to dessert, these nuts decorate and flavor the preparations. As for their health benefits, they provide zinc and vitamin E: a duo of anti-oxidant nutrients. Pine nuts have a low glycemic index, they balance blood sugar and promote satiety. Dense in energy, they also fight against the blow of tiredness and stimulate the cognitive functions. Moreover, they are interesting for their significant quantities of vitamin K. This last one contributes to the blood coagulation. Latin name: Pin us sibrica of the turn. Botanical family: Pinaceae. Part used: Seeds.

Recommended consumption

Due to the energy density of pine nuts and their high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, daily consumption recommendations are defined. In cure, a portion of pine nuts, that is 15 g per day, the equivalent of three teaspoons.

In what form?

To make the most of their benefits, you can use them :

  • Whole
  • Roasted, toasted
At what time of day?

We advise you to use them during the following meal(s) to take full advantage of their benefits:

  • Lunch
  • Dinner
What modes of use?

You can incorporate them into the following preparations to make them easier to take:

  • Salad
  • Soup
  • Aperitif
  • Dish
Precautions for use
  • Allergen: traces of sesame, nuts and soy.

Health Nutrition Benefits

15 grams of Pine nuts contain a significant portion of the Population Nutritional Reference (PNR) of the following nutrients: Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Copper, Manganese and Phosphorus. They also contain, to a lesser extent, Protein, Fiber, Zinc, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B3.

As such, pine nuts can complement your healthy and varied diet.


Pine nuts are ideal to help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Their fiber, combined with omega-6, reduces cholesterol levels. Fiber also reduces the glycemic load of meals, which harmonizes blood sugar levels and promotes satiety. Moreover, the incidence of vascular complications is reduced, thanks to the antioxidants present in pine nuts: vitamin E, zinc, manganese and copper.

Nervous system, well-being

In case of intellectual, physical or psychic tiredness, decorate your days with some pine nuts. These nuts are dense in lipidic energy, and in nutrients of the energy metabolism (copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, manganese, iron, vitamin B1 and vitamin B3). Thus, they stimulate the body. Especially since in these nutrients of the energetic metabolism, three are recognized to reduce the fatigue: magnesium, iron and vitamin B3. The pine nuts also mitigate the deficiencies of iron and zinc, which reduce the intellectual performances. Finally, they contribute to the functioning of the nervous system and the psychological functions, thanks to potassium, copper, magnesium and vitamins B1 and B3.

Digestive system

A diet low in fiber promotes constipation. In fact, this is one of the main causes of constipation (see our guide constipation and diet). Pine nuts are rich in fiber, so they stimulate intestinal transit.

Circulatory system

Various disorders are at the origin of anemia, such as an excessive loss of blood, caused by a vascular breach or an iron deficiency. Pine nuts can contribute to slow down these phenomena. Indeed, the vitamin K stimulates the healing of the vascular breach. In addition, they participate in iron intake (see our guide iron deficiency anemia and diet). In addition, this iron is accompanied by copper, copper participates in the transport of iron in the blood.

Bone system

The pine nuts are small supplements not negligible in case of demineralization or bone fracture. Rich in minerals, they will be stored in the skeleton and contribute to its mineralization. In addition, we find zinc and manganese. These act as cofactors on the enzymes of bone mineralization.

Muscles and joints

Pine nuts prove useful in cases of muscle contraction disorders. Rich in potassium and magnesium, they will contribute to normal muscle contraction (see our guide muscle cramps and diet). Thanks to manganese and copper, the joints will also benefit. Indeed, manganese and copper contribute to the normal formation of connective tissue (connective tissue provides strength to joints, tendons or even ligaments).

Oral system

Thanks to magnesium and phosphorus, pine nuts contribute to the maintenance of normal teeth.

Nutritional properties

Main properties

  • Antioxidant (zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin E): pine nuts have an ORAC score of 720 ┬Ámol TE/100 g. This score shows a weak antioxidant activity, but still present. It comes from the contribution of copper, zinc and manganese (cofactors of the antioxidant enzymes) and vitamin E.
  • Contributing to energy metabolism (copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B3, lipids): pine nuts are part of the nut family. As these last ones, the pine nuts possess a lipidic energy. The lipids are the macronutrients with the biggest energy density: 1 g of lipid gets 9 kcal to the body. Side micronutrition, the pine nuts also participate in the energy metabolism by the copper, the magnesium, the manganese, the iron, the phosphorus, the zinc, the vitamins B1 and B3.
  • Glycemic control (fiber, lipid): fiber and lipids confer a low glycemic index to pine nuts. They decrease the glycemic load of the meal: the absorption of carbohydrates is slower, balancing the glycemic.
  • Appetite regulator (fiber, lipid): by the low glycemic index of pine nuts, they fight against strong variations in blood sugar. The balance of the glycemia is favorable to the feelings of satiety.

Secondary properties

  • Protection of the cardiovascular system (fiber, omega $-6, potassium, vitamin B1): pine nuts reduce cholesterol levels and fight against high blood pressure, two factors that help protect the cardiovascular system. Their fibers lower the absorption of dietary cholesterol. They also offer a majority of omega-6 (linoleic acid). Omega-6 are cholesterol-lowering. Regarding blood pressure, they are low in sodium (which increases blood pressure) and high in potassium. Potassium is a hypotensive mineral. Finally, they contain vitamin B1, which contributes to a normal heart function.
  • Remineralizing (magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc): pine nuts help maintain a strong bone structure in two ways. First, they provide magnesium and phosphorus. These two minerals are stored in the bones, which contributes to the mineralization of the bone. Secondly, manganese and zinc are involved in the functioning of enzymes responsible for healthy bone formation.
  • Healing (vitamin K): pine nuts support the blood clotting process through their vitamin K richness.
  • Laxative (fiber, lipid): pine nuts are rich in fiber. This richness stimulates digestive transit by increasing the total volume of stool.

Nutritional values

*Recommended Daily Allowance

Learn more about the plant : The Parasol Pine

The umbrella pine is a conifer of the Pinaceae family. Pines are evergreen conifers. Their heights and climates vary from one species to another. The umbrella pine can measure up to 25 m in height and prefers warm regions. Naturally, it is found all around the Mediterranean, it is endemic to the great South.

After flowering, large cones appear, called Pine cones. This fruit is made up of tightly packed scales that conceal the seeds: the Pignoles or pine nuts. The scales will gradually spread with the rise in temperature, releasing the seeds. The seeds are 1 to 2 cm and have an ivory color.

Today, the Pine nuts are cultivated for their seeds, eaten raw or used in many recipes. Consumed for thousands of years, pine nuts have also been attributed medicinal virtues: fight against coughs, help in conception, antitubercular, etc.

Pine Gable Syndrome

If a tasting of pine nuts leaves you with an unpleasant and bitter taste in your mouth, this is not normal and indicates a fraud of the manufacturer. Indeed, this phenomenon, named Pine Nut Syndrome, has long been a mystery: why do some pine nuts taste bitter?

In 2010, scientists looked into the matter and quickly found a culprit: traceability. For the sake of profit, unscrupulous producers decide to mix different varieties of pine nuts, including a variety not recognized as edible by the FAO (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization): Pin us Armandii. This variety, originating from China, allowed to increase the quantities sold to Western retailers. After the discovery of this deception, all batches of pine nuts are strictly controlled to ensure that the species presented are edible. Rest assured, although this variety is identified as inedible, no adverse health effects are identified.

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