Winters are just about all things warm and wonderful. Besides all the fussy clothes and ghee-laden foods, with winters come dry fruits – pine nuts or chilgoza. While it is not the wisest idea to eat pine nuts during the summer – thanks to its warming qualities. Winter are meant for gorging on all things indulgent and warm. Pine nuts are among the healthiest foods you can eat. They are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats.
Pine nuts should be a part of your everyday snacking in winter season, for the wide gamut of benefits it offers:
Help in weight management: These nuts keep you feeling full for longer. It can be a healthy casual evening snack with tea or coffee, considering you eat an average of 10 nuts, will be fewer calories. A hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK) has been found in pine nuts that increases feeling of fullness. It helps reduce appetite and feel fuller even when you consumed fewer calories overall, thanks to their fatty acids.
Healthy for skin: Pine nuts have high vitamin E content, which integrates the cell membranes of the mucous membranes of the skin. Thus it protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
Heart health: Pine nuts help in reducing bad cholesterol, LDL and increase good cholesterol, HDL in the body, thus preventing heart diseases. Important minerals like magnesium and protein help prevent heart attacks. Studies have shown that nut consumption can cut the risk of sudden death by heart attack. The more saturated fat, vitamin E, vitamin K, magnesium and manganese form a synergistic blend to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Lowers bold pressure: Eating pine nuts everyday has been associated with lower levels of blood pressure.
Energy booster: Pine nuts are loaded with monosaturated fat, iron and protein. They can help boost energy levels. They are also a great source of magnesium and high levels of the nutrients causing you less fatigue. They also help build and repair tissues in the body. The protein in these nuts helps burn the fuel more slowly and this can offer you long-lasting energy.
Improves brain health: Being rich in iron, these nuts help store and transport oxygen in the body. This helps improve brain health and treat anxiety, depression and stress. Higher the levels of magnesium in pine nuts can lead to lesser emotional outbursts and other behaviours associated with disorders.
Good for bones: Pine nuts are rich source of vitamin K that builds bones better than calcium. They can help in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. It can increase bone mineral density and reduce fracture rates.
Good for diabetics: Consuming these tree nuts regularly can control glucose level. They can also increase the intake of vegetable oils and protein in type 2 diabetes patients. The seeds also prevent related complications like vision issue and stroke.
Contain a lot of leutin: Because of this content, it helps prevent macular degeneration and glaucoma by fighting free radical damage. Leutin that is an antioxidant is also known as eye vitamin.
Boosts immunity: The manganese content in pine nuts helps maintain the body’s hormonal balance and strength of connective tissue, while zinc content boosts immunity and aids wound healing.
Healthy hair: Vitamin E present abundantly in pine nuts is known for boosting hair growth and keeping the scalp in healthy condition. Pine nut oil is very effective for the people suffering from hair-loss or hair thinning.
Good to consume during pregnancy: Being very highly nutritious and high in fiber, pine nuts can help easing constipation – a common symptom during pregnancy.
Rich in Vitamin C: The presence of vitamin C content in pine nuts helps in efficient absorption of iron.
Antioxidant: Having high concentration of antioxidants, pine nuts are believed to get rid of all free radicals in the body. They prevent oxidation from taking place and free radicals from freely moving around which would otherwise cause damage to body cells and arteries.
Pine nut oil: Oil is extracted from these nuts which is used in cooking many vegetarian, meat and fish dishes.
Pine nuts are one of the healthiest alternatives to fried or oily snacks and a great way to satisfy your food cravings in the winters. They also provide you the much-needed nutrients. They indeed are a quick and delicious way to get energy during a busy day.
Buying tips: Pick pine nuts which are brown in colour and have compact and uniform size. Take few nuts in your hand and drop them from a little height. If they produce a good metallic sound, their quality is assured. Pine nuts you buy should be heavy in weight and free of cracks. If you are buying shelled or processed pine nuts, go to an authentic source to ensure optimum quality and freshness.
Storage tips: Unshelled nuts have a relatively longer shelf life than the shelled ones. You can store them for four to six months. Do not store them in hot and humid place. Store them in a cool dry place.
Taking pine nuts in their natural form is always the best option.
Word of caution: It may cause itchiness, dizziness, rashes, vomiting, stomach pain, running nose and watery eyes if you are allergic to this nut or nuts family in general. Therefore it is better to check with your doctor first before consuming pine nuts or anything related to it. Also you may not like the bitter taste it leaves in your mouth after munching, it may last for hours.