EN on Foods

July 2009 Issue

Tiny, Versatile Pine Nut Packs Plenty of Nutrition

Pine nuts, also known as pignoli, pignolia, piñon and Indian nuts, are creamy white in color, soft, sweet and chewy. The tiny, torpedo-shaped kernels measure about one-half inch long. They are harvested from the cones of about 20 varieties of pine trees. The Mediterranean or Italian pine nut—most commonly found in the U.S.—comes from the Stone Pine tree (Pinus pinea). A serving of pine nuts (one ounce or 1/4 cup, about 160 kernels) is a good source of copper, magnesium and zinc. Pine nuts are surpassed only by almonds and hazelnuts in vitamin E content of nuts and supply nearly 20% of the Daily Value for vitamin K, important for blood clotting and bone health. As with all nuts, the fat is mostly good-for-you mono- and polyunsaturated. Pine nuts also contain phyto-sterols—plant compounds that block cholesterol’s absorption—at twice the level found in walnuts.

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