When we think of acorns, we tend to think of a certain movie. Some of us think it’s just a nut from an oak tree, carrying no benefits whatsoever. Actually, acorns offer an array of health benefits.
What Are Acorns?
An acorn is the nut of an oak tree, categorized into the genera Lithocarpus or Quercus. Each acorn has a hard shell topped with a cupule, which is where it attaches itself to the branch. These acorns fall off, where they are commonly gathered by squirrels and stored for the winter. Oak trees are found across the Northern hemisphere.
Acorns are a significant staple in diets around the world due to their wide availability. In fact, many Korean and Native American cultures include them in specialty dishes.
Acorns are rich in tannins, which can make them taste bitter, but there are many ways to eliminate the unpleasant taste, such as soaking or boiling them until the water browns. More recently, acorns have been used as a substitute for coffee, where their bitter taste is more welcome.
Acorns can also be ground into a flour for baking muffins, bread and other traditionally grain-based food. In spite of the nutrients found in grain, acorns are sometimes favoured due to their rich vitamin, mineral, carbohydrate, protein and fat content.
Nutritional Facts of Acorns
One (1) ounce, or about 28.35 grams, of acorns contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 7
- Monounsaturated fat: 3 grams
- Saturated fat: 9 grams
- Polyunsaturated fat: 3 grams
- Sodium: 0 milligram
- Potassium: 8 milligrams
- Carbohydrates: 6 grams
- Protein: 7 grams
- Vitamin A: 6 µg
- Vitamin B6: 1 milligrams
- Vitamin B12: 0 µg
- Vitamin C: 0 milligram
- Calcium: 6 milligram
- Iron: 2 milligrams
- Magnesium: 6 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 4 milligrams
- Zinc: 1 milligrams
- Copper: 2 milligrams
- Manganese: 4 milligrams
- Retinol: 0 µg
- Thiamine: 0 milligram
- Riboflavin: 0 milligram
- Niacin: 5 milligram
- Folate: 7 µg
- Water: 9 grams
Health Benefits of Acorns
Here are some of the best health benefits of acorns:
Helps improve metabolism. The B vitamins are beneficial for the metabolic processes. Furthermore, acorns may also help regulate some enzymatic processes in the body.
Helps keep bones healthy. The minerals in acorns, like calcium, potassium and phosphorus, help boost bone health and prevent the possible risk of osteoporosis.
Helps increase energy levels. Acorns are rich in complex carbohydrates, which may help provide long-lasting energy reserves. Acorns and their flour derivative are good alternatives to simple sugars, which may help provide short bursts of energy.
Helps protect cardiovascular health. Acorns may be a good alternative to nuts that are high in fat content. Moreover, since acorns have more unsaturated fats than some other nuts, they help improve the overall balance of cholesterol in the body.
Helps prevent diabetes. Acorns help regulate sugar levels in the body, thus preventing the dangerous plunges and spikes of glucose which may lead to diabetes.
Helps improve digestion. Since acorns are very rich in fiber, they improve digestive health by regulating bowel movements and eliminating diarrhea and constipation.
Helps take care of skin. This is probably one of the most amazing health benefits of acorns, all down to the tannins in the nuts.
Even though acorns offer a lot of health benefits, it is still important to consume a balanced amount. Excessive intake can upset your stomach and cause nausea, thanks to the tannins in them. Preparing it in a processed and tasty way also ensures you are maximizing its health benefits. So what are you waiting for? Give them a go!