How often do you add pine nuts to your salad or recipes? If you’re like a lot of foodies out there, the answer is probably more often than not. And you’re probably one of those people that add a little more than just a small handful of these tasty little suckers to whatever dish you’re making.
Now, think about how often you’ve experienced a bitter, almost metallic taste in your mouth that you just can’t shake. It’s not all that rare, and no matter what you do, you just have to deal with that foul taste in your mouth for a little while. Have you ever thought that it could have been caused by the pine nuts?
But, what is strange is that others who have eaten the same thing as you on the same day don’t have the same experience. So what’s up? It’s called pine nut mouth. (Sounds a little dirty, doesn’t it?)
Pine nut mouth is poorly documented, so there’s not a whole lot of research on it, though there are a few articles in food magazines and blogs out there. So, that means there are only a bunch of theories out there as to why pine nut mouth actually happens. We’ve put together a couple of them for you so you can come to your own conclusion.
Could they be toxic?
As a leading environmental chemist and toxicology expert at the University of Idaho, Gregory Moller was asked about pine nut mouth. He mentioned that because there are so many different species and varieties of edible pine nuts out there some may be slightly toxic to some people thus resulting in pine nut mouth. This actually comes down to a mild allergy. There are about 29 varieties safe to eat, so if you’ve experienced pine nut mouth, perhaps try a different variety.
Are they too old?
Another interesting possibility about the cause of pine nut mouth comes from a Belgian study that was actually published in the European Journal of Emergency Medicine. This study suggests that when someone experiences pine nut mouth, they have eaten nuts that have oxidized, which means they should not have been eaten. The study also indicates that most occurrences of pine nut mouth happen after eating pine nuts from China, though that has yet to be proven.
Is it you?
Dysgeusia, or changes in taste, can occur in people for a variety of reasons. These reasons could range from something you ate to a more serious health problem. This can also happen during pregnancy or as a side effect of taking medication. Sometimes, perhaps in the case of pine nut mouth, dysgeusia can also go completely unexplained. If you’re worried that the funky taste in your mouth is more than a little pine nut after-effect, check with your doctor. (It’s probably not, but we do have to warn you!)
The overall conclusion is that you shouldn’t worry too much about pine nut mouth. It won’t kill you and you haven’t been poisoned by any heavy metals. Just remember, there are plenty of pine nut varieties out there, all of which have incredible health benefits, so you may or may not ever experience the fun of pine nut mouth. But if you do have a funky taste in your mouth all of a sudden that you just can’t lose, think back…have you eaten any pine nuts lately?