Pine nuts are the seeds of pine trees, in particular the variety most used for the cultivation and harvesting of pine nuts is Pinus Pinea, commonly called stone pine and stone pine.
In the scales of the pine cones of these evergreen trees are found wrapped in a shell called strobilo, the pine nuts.
With the collection of 100 pine cones indicatively we get 5 kg of pine nuts shelled. Pine cones usually come harvested between October and April to then be left to dry out in the sun. In spring, the actual harvesting and cleaning of the pine nuts takes place.
The pine nuts are then shelled and sold packaged for use in the kitchen for various sweet and savory recipes.
Pine nuts in Europe but also in Asia, Africa and North America they have been used for hundreds of years and the traditional recipes of the various countries see their use such as in el Paese in Genoese pesto or sweet castagnaccio.
In addition to their use in the kitchen to enrich dishes, sauces, salads, desserts and fruit salads, pine nuts are an important source of nutrients for the health of our body.
Properties of pine nuts
Pine nuts are a rich and very caloric food, in fact 100 grams of pine nuts provide between 670 and 900 kilocalories.
In addition to being a very caloric food, i pine nuts are also high in protein, around 30%, which are found in the form of amino acids, among these we find arginine, aspartic acid, lysine and gluttamic acid.
Indeed the greater percentage in pine nuts is given by the lipid part which sees essential fatty acids in the form above all of omega 3.
The sweet taste of pine nuts indicates the presence of carbohydrates, about 18%, and sugars, about 3,5%.
Pine nuts are also rich in:
> Vitamins: E, K and those of group B;
> mineral salts: such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, iron, copper and zinc;
> vegetable dietary fibers, around 4,5%.
Pine nuts are oil seeds also known as 'nuts in shell', this food group is important for regulating blood cholesterol levels and for the protection of the cardiovascular system.
Read also The role of seeds in the vegetarian diet >>
Benefits of pine nuts
It is the presence of linoleic acid (omega 3) which allows pine nuts to control cholesterol levels in the blood and help rebalance in case of high cholesterol.
Pine nuts are also good for help dilation of blood vessel walls of both veins and arteries, this property is useful in case of hypertension or for the prevention of heart attacks.
The wealth of vitamins and lutein makes pine nuts excellent natural antioxidants counteracting the action of free radicals, responsible for cellular aging in our body.
A charge of energy
Pine nuts are an energizing food and, as we said, rich in nutrients for these reasons they are excellent for energizing during the day, therefore perfect in case of fatigue, intense sporting activity or simply for those who need concentration for studying.
In addition, the large reserve of mineral salts sees them suggested as mineralizing after a period of asthenia and convalescence.
Pine nuts are also recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women, to the most frail children and adolescents, indeed because they provide good amounts of all nutrients.
Obviously, being very caloric, we must not exaggerate in the intake of pine nuts, in fact 20 g per day is sufficient.
Stomach, intestines and cramps
The pine nuts help the intestinal regularity and are very useful in case of constipation. In fact, thanks to the presence of vegetable dietary fibers, they facilitate the transit and bowel movement allowing one better stool evacuation.
The vitamin K contained in them helps improve blood circulation reducing the pains of the menstrual cycle, while magnesium relieves muscle cramps.
Magnesium as we know also helps against tiredness, fatigue and stress in general.
Contrasts seasonal diseases
Finally the pine nuts are also useful to counteract the classic seasonal diseases such as cold, flu, fever and cough.
In fact, pine nuts have anatural antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory action which works by supporting our immune system.
Eating pine nuts is the best advice for keep colds ailments away.
Read also How to eat pine nuts >>
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