Like all tree nuts, pine nuts are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals beneficial to health. Regularly eating nuts has been shown to contribute to heart health, reduce overall mortality and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, assist with weight management, reduce the risk of cancer, improve sperm quality, reduce depression and overall promote good health.

A 30g serve is around 2 tablespoons of pine nuts.

Nutrient Per 100g Per 30g
energy
Energy (kJ) 2925 878
macronutrients
Protein (g) 13 3.9
Total fat (g) 70 21
Saturated fat (g) 4.2 1.3
Monounsaturated fat (g) 23 6.9
Polyunsaturated fat (g) 39.9 12
Omega 3 ALA 190 57
Carbohydrate (g) 4.5 1.35
Sugars (g) 3.4 1.02
Dietary fibre (g) 5.1 1.53
minerals
Calcium (mg) 11 3.3
Copper (mg) 1.2 0.36
Iron (mg) 4.1 1.23
Magnesium (mg) 230 69
Manganese (mg) 6.9 2.07
Potassium (mg) 600 180
Selenium (ug) 1 0.3
Sodium (mg) 3 0.9
Zinc (mg) 5.3 1.6
vitamins
Thiamin (mg) 0.6 0.18
Riboflavin (mg) 0.2 0.06
Niacin (mg eq) 7.3 2.19
Folate DFE (ug) 34 10.2
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.02 0.01
Vitamin E (mg) 12.9 3.87
other
Arginine (g) 2.4 0.7
Sterols (mg) 236 71
Polyphenols (mg) 68 20

Health effects

In addition to the health benefits that all tree nuts provide, pine nuts have been associated with: 

  • Increased satiety: pine nut oil may increase levels of appetite-regulating hormones and reduce appetite sensation for up to four hours after a meal [1, 2].
  • Better results in tests measuring cognitive function, attention capacity and working memory in children whose mothers ate more nuts (including pine nuts) during the first trimester of pregnancy [3].
  • Pine mouth, also known as pine nut syndrome, is an uncommon syndrome affecting some people after eating pine nuts. It generally begins 12 to 48 hours after consuming pine nuts, and characterised by a bitter metallic taste, which lasts 2 to 4 weeks. Recent findings have correlated this disorder with the consumption of nuts of the species Pinus armandii (Chinese white pine) [4].

What makes pine nuts unique

  • Pine nuts are high in manganese – a mineral important for bone formation and metabolism of nutrients. 
  • They are the second highest of all the nuts for iron and zinc, and are also a good source of vitamin E. 
  • Pine nuts contain mainly polyunsaturated fats, with lesser amounts of mono-unsaturated fats. 
  • Pine nuts are a source of polyunsaturated fat, and are naturally low in sugar and sodium.
  • They are a source of copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, thiamin and niacin, and are high in manganese and vitamin E. 

Where they are grown

Most pine nuts in Australia are imported from Asia and the Mediterranean but there is a small orchard in central Victoria, near Heathcote.

Forms and best eaten with…

  • Pine nuts are usually purchased as unsalted, raw kernels. 
  • Pine nuts are probably best known as a key ingredient in pesto.
  • They also make the perfect partner for pasta, and go well in rice and couscous dishes. 

Storage

Remove nuts from plastic bags and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. Nuts can be refrigerated for up to 4 months and frozen for up to 6 months. Remember, bringing nuts back to room temperature before eating can help them taste nuttier.

References

  1. Pasman, W.J., et al., The effect of Korean pine nut oil on in vitro CCK release, on appetite sensations and on gut hormones in post-menopausal overweight women. Lipids Health Dis, 2008. 7: p. 10.
  2. Hughes, G.M., et al., The effect of Korean pine nut oil (PinnoThin) on food intake, feeding behaviour and appetite: a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Lipids Health Dis, 2008. 7: p. 6.
  3. Gignac, F., et al., Maternal nut intake in pregnancy and child neuropsychological development up to 8 years old: a population-based cohort study in Spain. Eur J Epidemiol, 2019.
  4. Risso, D.S., et al., A potential trigger for pine mouth: a case of a homozygous phenylthiocarbamide taster. Nutr Res, 2015. 35(12): p. 1122-5.
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