Acorns have an impressive number of health benefits, including their ability to protect the heart, boost energy, improve digestion, and regulate blood sugar levels. These nuts also help in building strong bones, growth and repair, soothing inflammation, eliminating diarrhea, and skin care.
What are Acorn Nuts?
An acorn is a nut of the oak tree or one of their common relatives in the Quercus or Lithocarpus genera. It contains a single nut in a hard outer shell, typically topped by a cupule, which is where the nut attaches to the oak branch. You can find these nuts falling from oak trees across the Northern hemisphere or perhaps being gathered by squirrels for their winter food hoard. However, acorns used to be an important dietary staple in many early cultures, as they were widely available and served many of the same dietary needs as grains do today. In fact, acorns are still used in some cultures in specialty dishes, most notably by Korean and Native Americans.
Acorn Nuts Nutrition Facts
Acorns are consumed due to their various nutrients. They contain carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The vitamin wealth in these nuts contains vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, and vitamin B9 (folate). Minerals like calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, and zinc are also found in these nuts.
Health Benefits of Acorns
Let’s take a closer look at the unexpected health benefits of acorns.
There are a number of ways in which acorns are used to protect the skin, including as an astringent agent. After you soak or boil the nuts in water, the rich tannin water can be topically applied to the skin in order to soothe burns and rashes, speed up healing of cuts and wounds, and reduce inflammation or burns. This application of nutrient-rich water can also be used to topically treat aches and pains.
Like most nuts, acorns have a significant amount of fiber, which makes them ideal for improving your digestive health. Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and eliminate both, constipation and diarrhea. This is ideal for people suffering from irregular bowel movements, cramping, bloating, and other gastrointestinal issues.
One of the most important benefits of acorns is their ability to regulate sugar levels in the body, thus preventing the dangerous spikes and plunges of glucose that can lead to diabetes or endanger those already suffering from it. The fiber content and relatively complex carbohydrates found in these nuts are the reason for this regulatory benefit.
Protect Heart Health
Acorns can be a good alternative for people wanting to cut down on their overall fat content. There are roughly five times more unsaturated fats as compared to saturated fats in these nuts, which ideally improve your overall cholesterol balance and prevent obesity, atherosclerosis, and other dangerous conditions that threaten the heart.
Boost Energy Levels
The high level of complex carbohydrates, found in acorns, provides long-lasting energy reserves when consumed. The flour and the nuts are better alternatives than empty carbohydrates or simple sugars in instant energy drinks, which only provide short bursts of energy.
Keep Bones Healthy
The impressive mix of minerals found in acorns, which includes phosphorus, potassium, and calcium, helps boost bone health and prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Calcium is one of the most important minerals for bone mineral density and is found in high concentrations within acorns.
One of the key roles of the B-family vitamins lies in the metabolic activities of the body. These oak nuts may be small, but they are packed with B vitamins, including niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin. By ensuring that your metabolic needs are taken care of, acorns can help regulate a number of enzymatic processes in the body that are crucial for overall health.
Proteins are key components of a healthy lifestyle and acorns are a rich source of them. They are very important for the creation of new tissues and cells, repair of damaged areas and rapid healing following an injury or illness.
- Acorns have a rich content of tannins that make their taste quite bitter. Boiling or soaking the nuts in water until they stop turning the water brown can help with this. Boiling the nuts will neutralize more nutrients and thus reduce the health benefits, so opt for soaking the nuts always.
- Acorns have been used more recently as a replacement for coffee, where the bitterness wasn’t as undesirable.
- Acorns can be ground into a flour and baked into bread, muffins, and any other food where grain flour is typically used.
Word of Caution: Excessive consumption of these nuts can cause nausea and stomach upset due to the tannin content, so always ensure that you steep the acorns to remove those bitter components.