If you have not tried the simple pine nut, you will be amazed at the healthy punch this tiny nut packs. Its key benefit is that it suppresses hunger and tells your brain Thanks, but I am already full. Additionally, it slows the emptying of your stomach, again helping you feel full. These benefits are due to a powerful hormone called cholecystokinin (or CCK.)
Siberians used a handful of nuts to sustain them on long hunting trips and as a way to maintain their energy. Portable, tasty and offering a long-lasting fill, they were the perfect trail mix. Still today, in Siberia, a handful of pine nuts precede a meal, setting the stage for a moderate meal.
Pine nuts are delicious with a mild, nutty flavor and contain certain fatty acids that can help suppress hunger. One ounce of pine nuts (approximately ¼ cup) has 190 calories, 19 g of fat and only 4 g of carbohydrates. They contain more protein that any other nut or seed as well as a variety of vitamins and nutrients such as: vitamins E, B1, B2, and B3, beta-carotene (pro-vitamin A) as well as essential amino acids, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Pinolenic acid is a polyunsaturated fat that encourages two hormones (including CCK) that suppress hunger. It has been studied extensively and is included in many appetite suppressing diet formulas. It signals to your brain that you arent hungry any more. These same hormones are included in both pine nuts and pine nut oil.
The secret of CCK
The secret to pine nuts effectiveness is cholecystokinin (or CCK) which is a peptide hormone gene expressed through the digestive tract, set off by food intake and released into the blood stream. The hormone sends a signal to the brain which indicates satiation. It is also believed that partial digested protein aids in the release of CCK. Pine nuts are exceptionally high in protein at 31%.
CCK has been studied at length since its discovery almost 30 years ago. Researchers have discovered that CCK is produced in the duodenum (the beginning part of your small intestine) after eating and sends the full feeling to the brain. It releases digestive enzymes from the pancreas, contracts the gall bladder and slows the rate of stomach emptying, helping you feel full. In fact, cholecystokinin means to move the gall bladder.
Other health benefits
Additional health benefits of pine nuts include:
Treats gastrointestinal problems
Promotes cardiovascular health
Addresses inflammatory and autoimmune disorders
Incorporating Pine Nuts into your diet
It is easy to add these versatile nuts to your diet in a variety of ways.
They can be tossed into a salad as a nutty addition. Or add them in your next pasta dish or soup for a mild crunch. Pine nuts are an essential ingredient to pesto or can be made into a simple, delicious dip perfect for pita chips or vegetable sticks. Or try them, raw by the handfuls, just like the Siberians.