If you haven’t tried Mediterranean pine nuts you are in for a treat! Aside from being one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, they are just plain delicious. They add such a delectable, buttery flavor to most any dish. And when you toast them, the taste is over the top!
Pine nuts come from the pine tree and most of the pine nuts available here in the U.S. come from pine trees that grow in China, Korea, or Mexico. What is not commonly known is that the nutritional composition of these pine nuts is very different from the Mediterranean pine nut. These are the seeds of the Stone Pine tree which is native to Italy, Spain, and Portugal. And the people in the Mediterranean region have been eating these nuts for thousands of years. And no wonder because they are an explosion of richness and flavor in your mouth!
Now, all pine nuts have fantastic nutritional value and all are rich sources of numerous health-promoting minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals like vitamin K, vitamin E, phosphorus, zinc, non-heme iron, and manganese. It gets better, because pine nuts contain a fatty acid called pinolenic acid which has been shown to curb appetite in women by increasing secretion of satiety hormones. I love that!
The pine nut of the Mediterranean region takes nutrition over the top! Besides the health benefits listed above, the incredible Mediterranean pine nut is even lower in calories than other pine nuts and contains a favorable omega-3 to omega-6 ratio which is almost ten times higher than other pine nuts. They also contain high levels of cholesterol-lowering phytosterols. In fact, these powerhouses tie with pistachios for the highest phytosterol content of all nuts and contain more than twice the protein of other nuts including other pine nuts. In fact, Mediterranean pine nuts are richer in protein than any other plant food!
You can easily tell the difference between Mediterranean and other pine nuts by looking for the following:
The commonly grown pine nuts you will see in your local grocery store are cone-shaped, with dark coloration at the smaller end. But, you will see a difference with the Mediterranean version because these are long, with an even diameter. If you have never seen these, it’s because they are very rare in stores in the U.S.
Here are two great places to get them from:
You will find that Mediterranean pine nuts are more expensive than other nuts and seeds, but they are so worth it! And because they are so rich tasting, you don’t need much. They make a fabulous topping on a salad or blended into a smoothie. I love to sprinkle them on steamed vegetables. By the way, the fat in the pine nuts will help your body better absorb the nutrients in the vegetables. How cool is that?
I hope you will give these a try because they are truly a treat. To your good health!