Pecan Health Benefits and Nutrition Info
Louisiana Pecans are an easy way to embrace a healthier lifestyle. A one-ounce serving of pecans contains 196 calories, 3 grams dietary fiber and over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc.
Health Benefits of Pecans
Landmark research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (June 2004) found pecans rank highest among all nuts to contain the highest antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants help protect against cell damage. The antioxidant compounds found naturally in pecans, including vitamin E, ellagic acid and flavonoids, are believed to help prevent disease-causing oxidation in cells. This oxidative damage has been linked to a wide variety of diseases including heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.
Helps Lower Cholesterol
A recent study from Loma Linda University in California and New Mexico State University, have confirmed that when pecans are part of the daily diet, levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood are lowered. Pecans get their cholesterol lowering ability from both the type of fat they contain and the presence of plant sterols. Pecans contain no cholesterol and no trans-fat. Eating a handful (25 to 30 natural pecan halves) a few times a week can therefore reduce the risk of heart disease when it’s part of a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association has designated pecans as heart-healthy and has designed the AHA Heart-Check Mark symbol. Today, the red and white heart healthy symbol has become one of the most trusted and well-known nutrition icons representing heart-healthy eating. This certification program was launched in 1995 to help grocery shoppers quickly and easily identify heart-healthy foods that can be incorporated into a healthier eating pattern.
A review of pecan and nut research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Sept 2003) indicates that nut consumption may increase metabolic rates and enhance the feeling of being full. A Harvard University study recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine (June 2011) determined that an extra serving of nuts daily kept off a half-pound of weight gain over 4 years. When used in conjunction with a healthy low-fat diet, nuts offer increased flavor, texture and palatability that can help dieters stay on track.
Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. Just one ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the Daily Recommended intake of fiber.
Why not make this all around healthy nut your super food instead of taking supplements? There are numerous ways to add pecans to one’s daily diet. Following are some simple ways to incorporate this important “ANTIOXINUT” into dishes other than pecan pie:
- Keep fresh natural pecans on hand and use 10-12 pecan halves as a snack in place of sugar laden choices.
- Sprinkle a few pecan pieces on oatmeal or your favorite breakfast cereal.
- Make your own pecan praline sundae by topping vanilla ice cream with roasted pecans and caramel sauce.
- Make waffles and garnish with maple syrup and spiced pecans.
- Add a handful of glazed pecans to your favorite healthy salad.
How do you say PECAN?