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10 Health Benefits of Pecans: Why They Are Good for You

Come the holiday season and pecan pies are a rage. The pecan nuts with their contoured structure, crunchy texture and buttery flavour make for an interesting ingredient to include in a number of dishes, and they look pretty on the plate too. Native to America, these pricey nuts are related to the walnut and grow enclosed in a brownish-red oval shell. Now whether you say pee-can or peh-kahn, they are probably one of the most sought after nuts and can be tossed in just about anything. You can stuff them in peppers with goat cheese or toss them in a salad for some crunch. Pecans pair beautifully with caramel too, so just add a handful on top of a caramel cheesecake for a flavour-packed bite every single time. Or spruce up an ice cream with a splash of bourbon and candied pecans in the summer. You can even add a crumbly pecan topping the next time you bake a coffee cake, or add it to a batch of double chocolate chip cookies. Nutrition in a Nutshell
According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, pecans (19 halves, 193 calories per serving) contain more antioxidants than any other tree nut. Pecan nuts in fact rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants according to the USDA. They are also a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium, offering some wonderful health benefits.
Health Benefits of Pecans:
1. Heart Healthy
Pecan nuts contain monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to the National Pecan Shellers Association, adding a handful of pecan nuts in your diet helps decrease LDL i.e. ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase HDL i.e. ‘good cholesterol’, which in turn prevent stroke and coronary artery disease.

2. Improves Digestion
Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat says, “Since pecan nuts are fiber-packed, they promote colon health and facilitate regular bowel movements. Pecan nuts prevent constipation and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and colitis by cleaning out the gastrointestinal system.”
3. Helps with Weight Loss
Consuming nuts enhances satiety and increases metabolism, research has indicated that a diet comprising pecan nuts helps in losing weight. The nuts are also very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates which together help increase the rate of metabolism.
4. Reduces the Risk of Certain Cancer
Pecan nuts protect the human body from cancer due to the anti-proliferative properties of ellagic acid which inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They contain oleic acid, a fatty acid which has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Pecan nuts also reduce the risk of colon cancer since they help clean the gastrointestinal system.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Pecans are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have proved that increased magnesium intake reduces inflammatory indicators in the body, and also reduces inflammation in the arterial walls, thus reducing the risk of arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory ailments.

6. Boosts Immunity
Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Healing Touch Hospital, says “Adequate intake of manganese is vital for nerve conduction and brain function, and pecans are a rich source of manganese which is a powerful antioxidant. This trace mineral protects your nerve cells from free-radical damage, thus boosting immunity and protecting the body from diseases, infections, etc.”
Skin Benefits and Hair Benefits of Pecans:
Pecan nuts are an excellent source of vitamin-E, vitamin-A, zinc, folate and phosphorous which play an important role in maintaining good skin. Here are the skin benefits pecan nuts have to offer.
7. Prevents Skin Problems
The toxins inside your body cause breakouts, dullness and excess oil. Pecans are packed with fiber and aid in eliminating these toxins and waste from the body, thereby improving the appearance of your skin. Pecan nuts also contain vitamin A and zinc which help achieve a clear complexion and protect against skin infections.
8. Anti-aging Benefits
Pecan nuts contain numerous antioxidants including ellagic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E which fight and eliminate the free radicals responsible for causing premature skin aging. Thus, pecans can prevent the occurrence of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.
9. Stimulates Hair Growth
Pecans are an excellent source of L-arginine, an amino acid which, when applied topically helps treat male pattern baldness as well as encourage the growth of healthy hair. L-arginine helps increase flexibility of the artery walls and makes them less prone to blood clots. This in turn increases the rate of blood flow throughout the body and to the hair roots which is vital for healthy hair growth and scalp.
10. Prevents Hair Loss
Lack of iron in the body leads to anemia which is one of the common causes of hair loss. But pecans are a good source of iron and hence, combat hair loss.

Now if you’re as excited about the super-healthy nut as we are, you’re in luck! Here are decadent recipes we can’t do without, including pie, of course.
Pecan Cupcakes
Upgrade your cupcake topper. Skip the fruit slices or chocolate ganache, and add a sprinkling of pecans instead.
Ingredients:
¾ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup shortening
¾ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
For the frosting:
¼ cup butter
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
⅛ tsp vanilla extract
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups.
2. Spread pecans in an ungreased shallow pan. Bake uncovered for 6 to 10 minutes, and stir occasionally until golden brown. After cooling, place ¼ cup of the pecans in a food processor, and price until finely chopped. In a small bowl, mix finely chopped pecans with brown sugar and set aside for topping.
3. In another small bowl, mix the flour and baking soda; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, beat ¼ cup butter and the shortening with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add ¾ cup of the granulated sugar, and beat well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat after each addition. Stir in the vanilla essence, add flour mixture alternately with buttermilk.
4. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar (1 tablespoon at a time) and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold one-third of the egg whites into batter; fold in remaining egg whites with remaining 1/2 cup toasted pecans. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
5. Bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, whip up the frosting. In a heavy saucepan, cook ¼ cup butter over medium heat, and stir constantly until browned. Pour into a large bowl and refrigerate 20 minutes. Add cream cheese to the browned butter, and beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in a dash of vanilla essence.
7. Frost each cupcake with generously, 2 tablespoons of frosting perhaps. And sprinkle the remaining pecan and brown sugar mixture.

Candied Pecans
We’ve got 1 word for you- addictive. Candied pecans make for a delicious snack and can also be sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes and ice creams. Umm, yum!
Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tsp water
2 cup pecan halves
Instructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
2. Mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a bowl.
3. Whisk egg white and water together in a separate bowl until frothy. Toss pecans in the egg white mixture. Then mix sugar mixture into pecan mixture until pecans are evenly coated. Spread coated pecans onto a baking sheet.
4. Bake, but note: Stir every 15 minutes while baking, until the pecans are evenly browned. It could take upto an hour.

Pecan Pie
Recipe by Chef Niru Gupta
This pecan pie recipe features maple syrup and brown sugar, and is sure to draw recipe requests all year round. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter-tightly packed
1/4 cup brown sugar-tightly packed
1/3 cup castor or powdered sugar
3 eggs-slightly beaten
3 Tbsp maple syrup
6 Tbsp milk
120 gm pecans-cut small, saving a few whole for decoration
1 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp salt
1 unbaked shell of short crust pastry of 7
CommentsInstructions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
2. Blend brown sugar and butter and melt in a pan placed over a pan of hot water.
3. Add castor sugar, eggs, maple syrup and milk. Mix well and cook till thickened a bit (all over hot water).
4. Remove from heat and mix in pecans, vanilla and salt.
5. Pour mixture into the unbaked shell and bake for an hour in a pre-heated oven.

Native to North America from Mexico to Canada, pecans are one edible nut that can truly do it all. Whether you’re candying them, turning them into Cinnamon Whiskey Pecan Pie, or making Candied Pecan Bourbon, the fruit of the hickory tree is incredibly versatile, and as it turns out, incredibly good for you. Wait, did you catch that? There’s so many health benefits of pecans! Not technically part of the tree nut family, the pecan is a drupe, defined as a fruit with a single stone or pit surrounded by the husk. Those pecan shells you crack open while picking pecans in your hometown are the husks, and the pecan itself is the soft fruit.

So now that we’ve classified the tricky tree nuts correctly, in what ways do pecans help your body naturally? Let’s just say there’s a reason they’re the state tree of Texas.

1. Pecans provide more than 19 vitamins and minerals.

The humble pecan is packed full of incredible nutritional gains including, but not limited to: vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and zinc.

And that’s not all, an ounce of pecans provides about 10 percent of your Daily Recommended fiber intake. They’re sodium-free naturally and contain natural protein to keep your body alert and moving.

2. Pecans promote heart health.

Because pecans have high-fat content like avocados olive oil and, they promote stable heart health through unsaturated fats. The little brown tree nuts pack about 60 percent monounsaturated fats. Of the remaining 40 percent, pecans contain 30 percent polyunsaturated fats, with about 10 percent or less of saturated fats.

Diets high in monounsaturated fats, like the Mediterranean diet, consider pecans an integral part of daily nutrition as they can significantly reduce blood pressure across the board. They’re also proven to decrease coronary heart disease, coronary artery disease, and other cardiac-related deaths, especially those linked to cardiovascular disease.

3. Pecans maintain high energy and promote effective weight loss.

Linked to the above nutrition layout, the fatty acids and healthy fats supplied by pecans, especially manganese, are vital to weight loss. These healthy fats signal to the grehlin hormone that the body is full and satisfied. The nuts also produce oleic acid, which lowers blood pressure and provides energy through monounsaturated fats.

Copper is also found in pecans, and a fast metabolic system requires copper in 50 different ways to create ATP, also known as adenosine triphosphate. Thiamine, also found in pecans, boosts APT production, too.

4. Pecans pack high antioxidant levels.

A rich source of antioxidants, pecan halves prevent oxidative stress or an imbalance between free radicals in the body and their harmful effects. Oxidative stress becomes a factor in developing cancer and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart failure, Chronic fatigue syndrome, and depression.

Researchers, in a study from Loma Linda University in California, pointed to pecans as vital in the body’s health because the fruit acutely increased antioxidants in the bloodstream within 24 hours of consuming the pecan tree nuts.

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I mean, it’s been a minute.

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5. Pecans reduce inflammation.

Inflammation is received positively in the body in small amounts because it is part of our natural defense system as the body works to repair damaged cells, from oxidative stress or otherwise. Most cell mutations come from chronic inflammation, however, so pecans role in reducing inflammation is vital to your health.

Not only are they generally a good addition to any diet, they especially help those who suffer from mild to severe arthritis. Increase your nut consumption for a happier body.

6. Pecans lower cholesterol.

Because they are high in fiber and unsaturated fats, pecans reduce LDL cholesterol levels while raising HDL cholesterol levels. Ultimately, pecans lower the bad and raise the good, so how can you truly go wrong with these health benefits of pecans?

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Wish I could have tried those #crackpecans #texaspecans #gonnagetbacktothose

A post shared by Devin R. (@devin_rzc) on Jul 9, 2017 at 7:52pm PDT

7. Pecans can reduce the symptoms of PMS.

In the same way, manganese promotes energy, it can also ease the effects of mood swings and cramps when taken with calcium during PMS. The dietary fiber also promotes healthy digestion, an essential body function during PMS, so hey, spoon up some pecan ice cream the next time you’re feeling low.

8. Pecans are linked to breast cancer and osteoporosis prevention.

Oleic acid, found in abundance in pecans, has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Because pecans are high in phosphorous, the nuts effectively reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, especially in women. Dedicated to healthy bones and teeth, phosphorus in particular maintains your body’s waste system, reinforces your bones, and can prevent muscle pain and cramping from exercise.

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9. Pecans improve brain function.

Thiamine and copper found in pecans work together to stop free radical damage in the brain and can delay the rapid onset of Parkinson’s disease. Manganese also stabilizes the brain’s synaptic process. Mood swings, learning disabilities, and epilepsy are affected by low manganese levels, making pecans crazy good brain food. When it comes to the health benefits of pecans, this one is key!

10. Pecans contribute to your overall glowing appearance.

Not only do pecans do wonders for your complexion with all those antioxidants, but they also prevent anemia. Caused by an iron deficiency in the blood, anemia can be remedied by increasing foods high in iron and pecans are just that.

Additionally, they also provide L-arginine, an amino acid that can encourage the growth of healthy hair and also treat male pattern baldness by promoting blood flow to the head.

Watch: The Best 5 Pecan Pies Made in Texas

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Chances are, you don’t really think about pecans at very often—unless it’s the holiday season and you’re baking them into a pie. (Or they end up as one of the ingredients in packet of trail mix you buy at the store.) They definitely don’t receive the same amount of love as almonds, aka the most popular nut milk. So what’s the deal? Are pecans good for you? The answer is a resounding yes. These nuts boast a bevy of health benefits.

“Pecans are nutrient-packed and contain a variety of vitamins,” says Neda Varbanova, certified culinary nutritionist, holistic health coach, and founder of Healthy with Nedi. The nutritional breakdown reads kind of like a multivitamin: They’re packed with B vitamins, folic acid, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A and E.

Below, Verbanova breaks down the benefits of pecans, and why they’re worth a place in your pantry.

1. They’re lower in carbs than other nuts. If you follow the ketogenic diet, then you know that nuts, while high in healthy fats, count toward your meticulously calculated carb count. Varbanova says that pecans are lower in carbs that a lot of other nuts (they clock in at around four grams per one-ounce serving). To put that in perspective, almonds have six grams of carbs per one-ounce serving, and cashews contain nine grams.

2. They help support your immune system and fight inflammation. “Boost your immune system” and “fight inflammation” are buzz phrases you hear a lot in the wellness world, but pecans actually deliver. “The high amount of zinc in pecans helps support your immune system,” Varbanova says. Since your immune system is the thing that keeps your body humming along disease-free, that’s definitely a pro. Zinc is also a powerful antioxidant, which means it fights free radicals (bad-guy molecules that cause oxidative stress) and can help reduce inflammation.

3. They make your heart healthier. “Pecans are packed with monounsaturated fats that are crucial for heart health,” Varbanova says. In addition to these good fats, pecans are a smorgasbord of antioxidants, including gamma-tocopherols. This heart health-boosting form of vitamin E has been shown to help decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body—specifically after people ate pecans.

4. They can help boost your memory. These memory-boosting nuts are chock-full of vitamin E, a crucial nutrient for your brain. “Studies have shown that a diet high in vitamin E can fight inflammation and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s,” Varbanova says. Additionally, another study linked poor memory to brain inflammation brought on by stress—so the inflammation-reducing properties of vitamin E can also help your brain function more optimally.

Reap the nutritional benefits of nutrient-dense nuts with these three pecan-centric recipes.

Photo: Healthy With Nedi

1. Pumpkin oatmeal topped with pecans

Pecans and pumpkins go hand-in-hand. This ultimate fall breakfast is made with gluten-free rolled oats, pumpkin puree, almond-coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and—you guessed it—pecans.

2. Vegan and Paleo pecan pie bars

Pecan pie is notoriously delicious… and notoriously packed with refined sugar. These bars get their sweetness from medjool dates—which won’t spike your blood sugar—and feature pecans in both the crust and the filling. Get you a nut that can do both.

3. Crispy balsamic brussels sprouts

For a savory pecan experience, let us present this healthy side dish. It’s only seven ingredients, and the most complicated part of the recipe is cutting the Brussels sprouts into even pieces.

Speaking of nuts, here are 7 things your probably didn’t know about them (like that pistachios are actually a fruit!). Also, is there such a thing as too much nut butter? (We hope not.)

3 Great Reasons to Snack on Pecans, According to a Nutritionist

Nuts have have a very well-deserved reputation as a health food. In addition to fiber and plant protein, they’re chock-full of good fat, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But pecans are one nut healthy eaters tend to overlook. (I’m sure it doesn’t help that pecans star in a few indulgent desserts, like pecan pie and pralines.) The truth is, this delicious nut boasts some unique nutritional perks that are worth spotlighting. Here, three good reasons to eat more pecans—plus simple ways to enjoy them, all year long.

Pecans contain particularly potent antioxidants

Pecans are rich in polyphenol antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, which have been tied to heart benefits. In fact, the nuts have more than twice the flavonoid content found in almonds, cashews, and pistachios, and seven times the amount in walnuts. Compared to other nuts, pecans also have the highest levels of gamma-tocopherols, which is a form of vitamin E and another key antioxidant. Two separate studies have suggested that the increase in gamma-tocopherols levels from eating a pecan-rich diet helps prevent the oxidation of cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. (Note: Both studies were funded in part by the National Pecan Shellers Association.)

RELATED: The Best and Worst Nuts for Your Health

They’re also rich in minerals

Pecans are an excellent source of thiamin and zinc, as well as manganese and copper. One ounce (about 19 halves) supplies 60% of the Daily Value (DV) for manganese, and 40% of the DV for copper. Manganese helps regulate blood sugar, and is needed for healthy bones. This mineral also helps form collagen, which gives skin its firmness and elasticity. Copper aids in iron absorption, and works with iron to help the body form red blood cells. It also supports immunity, and helps keep blood vessels, nerves, and bones healthy.

Eat clean (and save money) with our 21-Day Healthy Lunch Challenge!

And they’re naturally sweet

One ounce of pecans contains just one gram of sugar. But compared to other nuts, pecans taste sweeter. That means they can help satisfy a sweet craving with no or less added sugar.

You can simply snack on a handful, or pair them with fruit (pecans go well with apples, pears, grapes, and kiwi). In the morning, try blending pecans into a smoothie; or add them to hot or cold cereal, oatmeal, a yogurt parfait, or muesli.

Pecans also add natural sweetness and crunch to savory dishes. Sprinkle them onto cooked veggies, whole grains, pulses, spaghetti squash, fish, chicken, tuna salad, or entrée salads. (Check out this recipe for Mixed Green Salad With Dried Plums and Toasted Pecans.) Or use chopped pecans as a garnish for hummus, soup, chili, stir-fries, and lettuce wraps.

For a superfood treat, dip pecan halves into melted dark chocolate and dust with ground cinnamon (yum), or use pecan butter and chopped pecans as the base for energy balls, mixed with chopped dried figs, raisins, or apples, rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.

Pick up a bag of pecans on your next trip to the market, or look for the nuts in bulk. And if you live in California, Kansas, Missouri, or a southern state, search for fall pecan picking in your area.

Cynthia Sass is Health’s contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a consultant for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

You May be Surprised by the Health Aspects of Pecans

Health is of great concern to almost everyone. It may not appear to be such a concern to Americans who eat so many fat-laden fast foods. The news media is filled with articles about obesity as a result of elevated fat intake. Many of our agricultural products have great nutritional characteristics that are included in heart-healthy diets. The basic food groups contain many of the agricultural commodities we grow, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and dairy products. Because pecans contain an average of 72 percent fat, which is similar to other nuts, many people consider them unhealthy but recent research has proven quite the contrary.

Dr. Sabate’ of Loma Linda University 1 found consumption of pecans significantly lowered human blood cholesterol levels in research subjects. Healthy test subjects were placed on the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Step One diet, which is low in fat, and compared to a Step One diet with the addition of pecans as a portion of the diet. Sabate’s research showed that not only did the diet containing pecans lower total LDL (bad cholesterol) over the recommended Step One diet, it also helped maintain desirable levels of HDL (good cholesterol). Even though the diet containing pecans had greater fat content than the low fat Step One diet, it still lowered LDL while increasing HDL. The blood triglyceride levels from the test subjects were significantly lower than the Step One diet participants. Triglycerides are similar to cholesterol in that elevated levels of either, and especially both, are bad.

While the diet containing pecans was twice as effective in lowering cholesterol as the AHA Step One diet, Sabate’ 1 also noted that the study participants commented on the enhanced taste, palatability, and satiety of food containing pecans compared to the Step One diet. He also reported that even though the addition of pecans elevated the fat content of the diet, it did not cause participants to gain weight.

A study published in June by the Harvard School of Public Health 2 in Boston, Mass., showed a lower risk of sudden cardiac death and other coronary heart disease with test subjects that frequently eat nuts. The study compared men who ate nuts at least twice per week with those who only consumed nuts rarely, if ever. The U.S. Physicians Health Study involved some 21,454 male physicians, from 40 to 84 years old, who were enrolled in the study for an average of 17 years. It indicated a 47 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac deaths and 30 percent lower risk of total coronary heart disease for those who consumed nuts, including pecans.

Preliminary research presented at the American Diabetes Association 2002 Annual Conference indicated that frequent nut consumption is associated with lower risk of Type II diabetes in women. The study is being conducted by Harvard Health Sciences using a Nurses Health Study group that involves 83,818 women aged 34 to 59 years. The 16 years of follow-up data indicates nut consumption in this study was inversely associated with risk of diabetes.

Research being conducted on artery health at the University of Bern in Switzerland 3 has indicated that alpha tocopherol (a form of vitamin E) has a significant effect on the smoothness of the artery lining. Their research indicates that it reduces the collection of blood platelets that can cause arterial blockage. Dr. Eitenmiller, of the University of Georgia 4, tested pecans for their alpha tocopherol content. All varieties tested were shown to be a good source of vitamin E, especially alpha tocopherol.

Table 1 compares the vitamin E and alpha tocopherol levels of pecan and some other healthy foods. The levels are furnished by the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.

The American Heart Association 5 warns against the consumption of too many calories from fat, and further defines the bad fat to be saturated. They explain the fat from nuts is polyunsaturated or monounsaturated (walnuts, almonds and pecans), which don’t have cholesterol and are good sources of energy and protein. Macadamia nuts and other associated foods, such as coconuts, contain mostly saturated fats.

More studies are underway to determine the long-term effects of what we consume in our diets. The platform of President Bush’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson, is “prevention” rather than treatment. With his concern about prevention of health problems, more research on these issues will be forthcoming.

With the great nutrition characteristics pecans exhibit and the positive effect they may have on human health, they should only be included in a healthy diet with many other wholesome foods. I would hope that these studies help people to understand that pecans can be included in a healthy diet.

Literature Cited:

The Power of the Pecan: 7 Health Benefits That Make This the Best Nut On Earth

There is no denying the power of the pecan.

There are not many foods out there that are both mouthwatering AND great for your heart, so we are a proud farm to be able to produce such a magical product.

If the pecan isn’t already sitting comfortably at #1 on your list of favorite nuts, then prepare yourself. We’ve got some facts about this Texas native that may change your vote.

7 amazing health benefits of pecans

  1. Pecans have been certified as a “Heart-Healthy Food” by the American Heart Association1. Why is that, you ask?…
  2. Clinical research published in the Journal of Nutrition found that eating a handful of pecans each day may help lower cholesterol levels similar to what is seen with cholesterol-lowering medications2. Trading expensive meds for a snack like this? Yes, please!*
  3. Pecans also reduce the risk of heart disease with an abundance of “good” heart healthy fats. These unsaturated fats can have a protective effect by lowering total blood cholesterol when eaten in moderation4.
  4. Around 80% to 95% of the pecans grown in the world come from the United States. (*chants:* USA! USA! U– ok, moving on…)
  5. Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber1.
  6. Pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein that contains very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol and are naturally sodium-free1.
  7. 70% (by weight) of the pecan kernel is made up of oil – which is great news to pecan lovers because studies have shown that pecan oil is very beneficial to reducing the risk of heart disease3.

One other interesting fact about pecans:

The best soil for growing premium pecans is found in river bottom floodplains, which we are grateful to say is literally in our backyard.

We have over 500 acres of the best Texas soil needed to naturally grow these magical nuts, and we are honored to be a part of producing pecans year-round, especially considering the health-benefits they bring to the table.

How to incorporate pecans into a healthy lifestyle

Pecans are easy to add to your eating plan; simply grab a handful! With antioxidants as well as a tender texture, rich buttery flavor and gentle crunch, pecans make an ideal snack choice for everyone.

We also love how diverse it can be as an ingredient. As I’m sure you know, pecans can be much more than just a quick snack. You can also use them:

  • As the perfect topping to any salad
  • As a way to take your chicken, fish or pork to the next level by baking them with an amazing “pecan crust”
  • In breakfast dishes, like whole-grain muffins, pancakes and danishes
  • In homemade pies, casseroles, cookies or other treats for your dinner table. Whether sweet or savory, the pecan always comes through!

Try some of our farm fresh, all-natural pecans. You’ll love them!

Happy Customers

“Royalty Pecans has been providing the pecans for my restaurant for over 15 years. The quality and taste of their product is outstanding and I can’t say enough about the personalized service I receive. Everyone there always does more than is expected.”
– Jeanie, The Mad Hatter’s Tea Room

“We offer the Royalty Pecans because, well, there are none better! And they are locally grown and harvested, so we get nice fresh pecans from you guys. Always a treat!”
– Bob, Brazos Natural Foods

“Bought these pecans for my mom and brought them with us on a recent trip to visit family. They are so good! We all just stood around eating them until one of us had the will power to put them away. Will definitely be getting these again and trying some of the other flavored pecans soon!”
– Michael S.

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1 – American Heart Association Certifies the Pecan as Heart Healthy
2 – Heart Healthy Pecans Lower Cholesterol
3 – http://www.royaltypecans.com/march-national-nutrition-month/
4 – A Handful of Pecans Can Help Lower Cholesterol

Pop a Pecan, Not a Pill

According to the National Pecan Shellers Association, pecans are high in healthy unsaturated fat and just a handful a day can lower “bad” cholesterol. They also contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B, and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. Just one ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the Daily Recommended intake of fiber. Pecans are also rich in age defying antioxidants. In fact, research from the USDA shows that pecans are the most antioxidant-rich tree nut and rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. I’m thinking a bowl of Greek yogurt topped with blueberries and pecans may as well be the breakfast version of the fountain of youth!

I had no idea just how good pecans are for you and, since I’m all about getting my nutrients from food, not supplements, I’ll be adding this healthy nut to my diet-and I’m looking beyond pecan pie. Sure it’s one of my Thanksgiving favorites but considering pecan is one of the worst pies for you, I did a little research and found some amazingly delicious yet healthy pecan recipes. My mouth was watering just reading about the 200-calorie goat cheese and pecan stuffed peppers, and I never would have thought to put pecans in my soup! More amazingly, I actually found a pecan pie recipe with no butter and no corn syrup and a raw, dairy-free ice cream recipe made with pecans.

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  • By Karen Borsari

Last Updated on February 12, 2019

Pecans are one of the most popular types of nuts in the world.

Assuming they are not in a pie, these nuts also offer some interesting health benefits.

This article takes a full look at the nutrition profile of pecans as well as the benefits that they provide.

What Are Pecans?

Pecans (carya illinoinensis) are an edible tree nut native to Mexico and the Southern states of the US (1).

Regarding their appearance, pecans look slightly like walnuts, but they are smaller in size.

The color of these nuts can also vary, with some nuts having a grey to brown shade and others having a reddish-brown coat.

Pecans taste mildly sweet, slightly bitter, and they have a rich, buttery flavor.

Nutritionally, pecans are predominantly a source of fat, but they also provide smaller amounts of carbohydrate and protein.

Lets now take a look at their full nutrition profile.

Nutrition Facts

Here we can see the full nutritional values for pecans, including the calories, macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

All values are from the USDA food database and on a per 100 grams (2).

Calories and Macros

Amount
Calories 691 kcal
Carbohydrate 14.0 g
Fiber 9.6 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Fat 72.0 g
Saturated Fat 6.2 g
Monounsaturated Fat 40.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 21.6 g
Omega-3 986 mg
Omega-6 20630 mg
Protein 9.2 g

As shown above, pecans are extremely high in calories and fat.

Additionally, the carbohydrate content is low to moderate and mainly from fibrous carbohydrates.

Pecans also offer a moderate amount of protein. However, due to the nut’s calorie-density, it will be difficult for anyone to use them as a substantial source of protein.

Vitamins

Vitamin Amount
Vitamin B1 44%
Vitamin B6 10%
Vitamin B5 9%
Vitamin B2 8%
Vitamin E 7%
Vitamin B3 6%
Folate 5%
Vitamin K 4%
Vitamin C 2%
Vitamin A 1%

As shown in the table, pecans are an excellent source of vitamin B1. Additionally, they contain a small to moderate amount of B vitamins.

Minerals

Vitamin Amount
Manganese 225%
Copper 60%
Zinc 30%
Magnesium 30%
Phosphorus 28%
Iron 14%
Potassium 12%
Calcium 7%
Selenium 5%
Sodium 0%

Their overall vitamin-density is not high, but pecans are a significant source of minerals.

Among these, the nuts are a particularly good source of manganese, magnesium, zinc, and copper.

This mineral profile is somewhat similar to the nutritional values of pine nuts.

Key Point: Pecans are a reasonably nutritious tree nut, and they provide significant amounts of calories and fat.

Health Benefits of Pecans

There are lots of exaggerated claims about most nuts, and it is no different for pecans.

However, they do have a range of potential benefits backed by science.

1) Pecans May Improve the Cholesterol Profile

We can often hear media stories about nuts being good for the heart, and there may be some truth to it.

In recent years, numerous controlled trials have looked into the potential health benefits of pecans, and the results appear to be promising;

  • In one randomized controlled trial, researchers split overweight and obese adults into two groups with calorie-matched diets containing the same amounts of fat. One group’s diet contained 72 grams of daily pecans, and the other did not. After four weeks, the pecan-rich diet group had an improved cholesterol profile, reduced markers of oxidative stress, and lowered blood glucose levels (3).
  • A recent meta-analysis and systematic review of 61 controlled trials demonstrated that 1 oz (28 g) of pecans per day could lower apolipoprotein A, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol (4).
  • Pecans are one of the most significant sources of dietary flavonoids, especially flavan-3-ols. In a controlled trial using human participants, blood tests showed that consuming whole pecans led to higher plasma concentrations of flavonoids and a decreased level of oxidized LDL (5).

Key Point: Consuming pecans appears to improve the overall cholesterol profile.

2) Pecans Are a Rich Source of Minerals

As we saw in their nutrient profile, pecans provide a substantial amount of minerals, and especially;

  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc

Each of these minerals has differing—but equally important—effects on the body.

For example, magnesium plays a significant role in energy production, blood pressure, and skeletal health (6, 7, 8).

Regarding the other minerals, studies link even slight copper deficiencies with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and reduced immune response (9, 10).

The most abundant mineral in pecan nuts is manganese, and this nutrient is vital for maintaining healthy bones, optimal skeletal health, and wound healing (11).

Pecans provide a good supply of all these minerals and many more in smaller concentrations.

Key Point: Pecans are rich in a variety of minerals.

3) Pecans Are Loaded With Flavonoids

Flavonoids are a group of polyphenols associated with several health benefits.

Although we do not fully understand how they work at this point, numerous randomized clinical trials have shown benefits from a high-flavonoid intake. These benefits include improved immune response, better vascular function, and improved glycemic control (12, 13, 14).

We can find large concentrations of flavonoids in foods and drinks like cocoa, coffee, green tea, and red wine.

Notably, pecans are one of the most significant sources of these compounds in the world. These tree nuts contain more polyphenols than any other nut, and more than most other foods too (15).

The primary flavonoid compound in pecans is epigallocatechin-3-gallate, otherwise known as EGCG. A recent review paper showed how this compound is likely responsible for many of the health benefits pecans demonstrate in clinical trials (16).

EGCG is also one of the major compounds believed to play a role in green tea’s health benefits.

Key Point: Pecans contain a large concentration of flavonoid polyphenols, which may have numerous positive impacts on our health.

4) Pecans May Improve Blood Sugar Levels and Insulin Sensitivity

Firstly, it is important to note that no single food can singlehandedly control blood sugar and insulin levels. There are no “superfoods” in that sense.

It is our whole lifestyle that is important, and this includes everything from the way we eat to how we sleep and exercise.

However, as part of a healthy lifestyle, certain foods may help to improve insulin sensitivity.

Based on recent evidence, pecans are one of these foods.

Over the past two years, two interesting trials examined the effect of pecans on risk factors for cardiovascular disease, specifically focusing on blood glucose and insulin levels.

Studies on Pecans and Cardiovascular Risk

In one randomized controlled trial, 26 overweight or obese adults consumed pecans at 15% of total daily calories for four weeks. Additionally, they ate a control diet (with no pecans) for four weeks.

Interestingly, after four weeks of following the pecan plan, key markers of cardiovascular risk such as blood glucose levels and insulin resistance improved compared to the control diet (17).

A previous (and similar) randomized trial from 2016 displayed the same results. In a 12-week study, 15% of calories from pecans per day improved cardiovascular risk compared to an eating plan based on the average American diet (18).

However, we should be careful not to exaggerate the benefits from these studies. Were the benefits entirely because of the pecans? Or were the “average American diet” foods the nuts replaced part of the problem?

Either way, compared to a standard American diet, a diet that includes a high intake of pecans improved the cardiovascular risk profile.

Key Point: Pecans may improve cardiovascular health, especially when replacing nutrient-poor food choices.

5) High In Fiber (and Low In Net Carbs)

While pecans contain a moderate amount of carbohydrate (14.8 grams per 100g), the majority of this comes from fiber (2).

Although fiber is a type of carbohydrate, it does not break down into glucose in the same way that simple carbs (like sugar and flour) do.

Firstly, this means pecans contain a minimal level of “net” (digestible) carbohydrate, making them an excellent choice for anyone consuming a lower carbohydrate diet.

For a similar reason, pecans are a suitable snack for people with diabetes trying to control their blood glucose levels (19).

Fiber also slows digestion, and studies demonstrate that it can reduce postprandial blood glucose levels. As a result, a higher fiber intake will help to reduce the blood glucose response from meals higher in carbohydrate (20).

On this topic, pistachio nuts contain more fiber than any other nut.

Key Point: Carbohydrate quality is important, and the carbs in pecans are much healthier than simple sugars and flours.

6) May Have Benefits For People With Diabetes

As just mentioned, pecans are suitable food for anyone trying to control their blood sugar levels.

However, what effect does consuming tree nuts have on blood glucose in people with diabetes?

A recent study looked into this issue, and when nuts replace dietary carbohydrate, the results appear to be positive.

This particular study was a randomized controlled trial, and it featured 117 people with type 2 diabetes (21).

The study period was three months and included three treatment groups;

  • The first group’s diet replaced a whole wheat muffin with a calorie-matched 75 grams of nuts.
  • In the second group, only half of these calories were replaced by nuts.
  • The third group did not replace any of the carbohydrates with nuts.

Overall, the results demonstrated that replacing carbohydrate with nuts improved glycemic response and lowered HbA1c levels.

Furthermore, as previously discussed, diets including a high daily intake of pecans lead to better blood glucose levels than standard American diets (17).

Key Point: A higher intake of pecans appears to improve glycemic control, with studies showing that replacing dietary carbohydrate with pecans leads to improvements.

7) Pecans Are a Source of Protein

Although it is not a significant amount compared to other foods, pecans also provide a source of protein.

Pecans are approximately 9% protein by weight, and despite not being a complete protein, they contain a decent range of amino acids (2);

  • Tryptophan: 93 mg
  • Threonine: 306 mg
  • Isoleucine: 336 mg
  • Leucine: 598 mg
  • Lysine: 287 mg
  • Methionine: 183 mg
  • Cystine: 152 mg
  • Phenylalanine: 426 mg
  • Tyrosine: 215 mg
  • Valine: 411 mg
  • Arginine: 1177 mg
  • Histidine: 262 mg
  • Alanine: 397 mg
  • Aspartic acid: 929 mg
  • Glutamic acid: 1829 mg
  • Glycine: 453 mg
  • Proline: 363 mg
  • Serine: 474 mg

While pecans can’t compete with animal-based proteins, they are a good plant source for those following vegetarian or vegan diets.

Key Point: Pecans offer a moderate amount of protein and contain a good range of amino acids.

Final Thoughts

Overall, pecans offer a good nutrient profile, more polyphenols than any other nut, and they may help to improve blood glucose levels.

If you are looking for a healthy snack, there are not many better options than a handful of pecans.

For more delicious and healthy nuts, see this guide to macadamia nuts.

You can also read about the benefits of Brazil nuts.

Pecans are a holiday staple often featured in sweet treats like pecan pies and cookies. However, apart from their delicious flavor, these tasty tree nuts bring so much more to the table in terms of nutrition.

Not only are they high in healthy fats, protein and fiber, but pecans are also brimming with key nutrients like manganese, copper and thiamine. Plus, they’ve been tied to a number of impressive health benefits, from improved heart health to better brain function and beyond.

So are pecans good for you? This article will take a closer look at the benefits and risks of this nutritious nut, as well as some simple ways to squeeze a few extra servings into your day.

Related: Top 9 Nuts and Their Health Benefits

What Is A Pecan?

Pecans are a type of tree nut that grow on lush, green trees in the Southeastern/South Central regions of the U.S. as well as Mexico. This North American nut variety, Carya illinoinensis, has been cultivated for several centuries and is, surprisingly, not technically a nut at all.

One similarity between pecans vs. walnuts and other common nut varieties is that they are botanically classified as a fruit cultivar known as a “drupe,” or “stone fruit.” Drupes contain a small seed on the inside, a shell of some kind surrounding the seed and an outer “fleshy” component.

Pecans first came on the food scene in Native American history around the year 1500, its name originating from the Algonquins. The word “pecan” actually means “a nut that requires a stone to crack.”

Colonists in North America celebrated pecan tree plantings as early as the 1600s, with the first recorded pecan planting in the U.S. documented in 1772. In the beginning of the 17th century, the French recognized the financial potential of exporting this delicious treat and began sending crops to the West Indies.

Since then, pecans have been an important and common food in American culture, finding their way into recipes from everything from salads to desserts. Texans are especially fond of it, as they named the pecan tree as their state tree in 1919. Georgia pecans are also incredibly common, as Albany, Georgia is considered the pecan capital of the U.S.

In addition to supplying plenty of heart-healthy fats, pecans also offer several vitamins and minerals that can protect against nutritional deficiencies and optimize overall health.

A one-ounce serving of pecans (about 19 halves) contains about:

  • 195 calories
  • 4 grams carbohydrates
  • 2.5 grams protein
  • 20 grams fat
  • 2.7 grams fiber
  • 1.3 milligrams manganese (64 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligrams copper (17 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram thiamine (12 percent DV)
  • 34.2 milligrams magnesium (9 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams zinc (9 percent DV)
  • 78.2 milligrams phosphorus (8 percent DV)
  • 0.7 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (3 percent DV)
  • 116 milligrams potassium (3 percent DV)

Pecans also contain a small amount of riboflavin, calcium, niacin, pantothenic acid and selenium.

Health Benefits

1. Supports Weight Loss

Many people wonder: are pecans fattening? While it’s true that the pecans nutrition profile is high in fat, it’s full of healthy fats that can actually be beneficial for providing long-lasting energy and promoting weight loss.

These heart-healthy fats can help slow the emptying of the stomach to help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Furthermore, most of the carbs in pecans are made up of fiber, which moves through the intestinal tract undigested and reduces hunger and appetite.

According to one review published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, some studies have found that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet could be linked to a lower body weight. Another 2018 study out of France also reported that a higher intake of nuts was tied to reduced weight gain and a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese over a five-year period.

2. Prevents Oxidative Stress

Pecans are loaded with antioxidants, which are important compounds that help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation. Some research shows that antioxidants may play a central role in overall health and could aid in the prevention of chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

Interestingly enough, one study out of Loma Linda University in California found that eating pecans increased antioxidant levels in the bloodstream within 24 hours of consumption. What’s more, other research shows that nut consumption could be tied to a lower risk of heart disease and cancer as well.

3. Enhances Heart Health

Some studies have found that pecans could help reduce several risk factors for heart disease to help keep your heart healthy and strong.

For instance, a 2018 study published in Nutrients found that pecan consumption helped reduce several markers used to measure the risk of heart disease, including cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Another study out of California had similar findings, noting that a pecan-enriched diet was effective at reducing the cholesterol and triglyceride levels of participants.

4. Reduces Inflammation

Although acute inflammation is an important immune process, sustaining high levels of inflammation long-term can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disease and contribute to conditions like heart disease and cancer.

Filling up on antioxidants is an effective strategy to help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage. Superoxide dismutase (SOD), in particular, is an antioxidant compound that relies on the presence of manganese to operate. Therefore, eating pecans can help fulfill the manganese requirement necessary for this antioxidant to perform properly and reduce levels of inflammation.

The copper found in pecans can also help decrease inflammation, especially for pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. This is why pecans and other anti-inflammatory foods can make a great addition to an arthritis diet treatment plan.

5. May Prevent Bone Loss

In conjunction with other nutrients, manganese, copper and zinc (all found in pecans) have been used to help treat symptoms of osteoporosis, which is a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones. Early research has found these nutrients to be particularly beneficial for increasing bone mass and preventing bone loss.

6. Promotes Proper Brain Function

Many of the minerals found in pecans can promote proper brain function. Thiamine, for instance, is given to patients with Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, a brain disorder that is common in alcoholics due to thiamine deficiency.

Copper is another nutrient necessary for good brain function, as it impacts brain pathways involving dopamine and galactose and can help prevent free radical damage to protect against neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The brain’s synaptic processes also depend on manganese, which is abundant in pecans. A deficiency in manganese can contribute to mood problems, impaired focus, learning disabilities, mental illness and possibly epilepsy.

7. May Reduce Symptoms of PMS

Thanks to its rich content of manganese, adding pecans to your diet could reduce PMS symptoms, such as mood swings and cramps. Dietary manganese, when consumed with calcium, seems to have significant impact on these PMS symptoms and may help improve mood and reduce pain during menstruation.

8. Aids in Treatment of Diabetes

Pecans are a great source of manganese, an important mineral that acts as an antioxidant to help protect the body against free radical damage.

Some studies suggest that supplementing your diet with manganese-rich foods, including pecans, can aid in the management of diabetes. Although current research is limited, this may be because higher manganese levels are associated with improved insulin secretion and glucose tolerance.

Risks

Although nuts can definitely be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy weight loss diet, it’s important to remember that they are very energy-dense, meaning that there are a high amount of pecans calories in each serving. For this reason, it’s best to stick to a few servings per day and be sure to make adjustments to your diet to account for these extra calories if you’re trying to lose weight.

Additionally, it is possible to suffer from a pecan or tree nut allergy. The most common symptoms occur within the first hour after consuming pecans and can range anywhere from hives and swelling to vomiting and loss of consciousness.

If you suspect you or your child may have an allergy to pecans, it’s important to get tested at an allergist before trying them. Anytime you believe you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to pecans, you should immediately discontinue eating them and consult a physician.

Finally, many people wonder: Can dogs eat pecans? Although this tasty tree nut can be a great addition to the diet for humans, they’re not so great for your furry friends. This is because they contain a compound called juglone, which can be toxic to some animals, including dogs and horses. They may also cause stomach issues or an obstruction, which can have serious side effects if left untreated.

Recipes

When selecting your pecans, it’s best to look for nuts that are uniform in size and feel heavy. Many people choose to purchase only deshelled pecans, reducing the amount of work involved in using them for cooking. However, if you’re looking for fresher nuts, you may be interested in buying pecans still in their shells and shelling them yourself.

The beauty of these drupes is that they don’t have to be cooked in order to eat, but they’re delicious when prepared in almost any method. Some recipes call for you to first toast pecans before adding them to your dish, which gives them a slightly richer flavor. There are many recipes and instructions for how to toast pecans, but it generally involves spreading them on a baking sheet and toasting for around five minutes.

Here are a few simple recipes you can use to take advantage of the many health benefits of pecans:

  • Pecan Pesto Salmon
  • Candied Pecans
  • Gluten-Free Pecan Pie
  • Cinnamon Spiced Pecans
  • Pecan Coconut Balls
  • Pecans are a type of tree nut that are botanically classified as a drupe, or stone fruit.
  • Are pecans healthy? There are numerous potential pecans health benefits, including increased weight loss, reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, improved heart health, better brain function and more.
  • The pecans nutrition facts also boasts a good amount of fiber, protein and heart-healthy fats along with micronutrients such as manganese, copper and thiamine.
  • From candied to spiced to roasted pecans, there are tons of different ways to include this nutritious ingredient in your diet.
  • However, keep in mind that they are very energy-dense, so be sure to enjoy in moderation as part of a well-rounded, healthy diet.

Benefits of Pecans

Many Americans are most familiar with pecans as they take center stage on the holiday table in the form of pecan pie. However, these delicious nuts deserve to be enjoyed throughout the year. Outside of their pie form, which tends to be laden with sugar and fat, pecans are a healthy nut that makes an easy snack or can add heft to a meal.

Pecan Snacks & More

Pecan trees are large, deciduous trees that are related to hickory trees. Easily identifiable by its rich brown kernel with a distinctive grooved surface, pecans have a distinct flavor from other tree nuts. Some people describe the pecan as nearly buttery in flavor (Hudson Pecan, n.d.). It is possible to purchase pecans in a variety of sizes, from “midget” to “mammoth.” This makes them an incredibly versatile food. Consider some of the following benefits of pecans when deciding to add them to your diet.

Pecans Have the Highest Fat Content of Any Nut — And It’s the Good Kind of Fat!

More than 70% of pecans is made up of fat (Hudson Pecan, n.d.). Before you steer clear of the nuts, rest assured: it’s the good kind of fat. Scientists have found that only certain types of fat are unhealthy to include in your diet. For example, saturated and trans fats are associated with higher levels of cholesterol and greater risk of cardiovascular disease (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2016). Minimizing your consumption of these fats, preferably to below 10% of your daily calories, is important.

In contrast, pecans are full of healthy monounsaturated fats and contain very few saturated fats (Hudson Pecan, n.d.). They are a particularly good source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to improve immune system functioning, reduce inflammation, and potentially reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease (Sales-Campos et al., 2013).

Pecans Contain Vitamin E, Which Has Antioxidant Effects and May Boost Immune Activity

Pecans are one of the best known dietary sources of vitamin E, which has antioxidant effects. Vitamin E actually comes in eight isoforms, with alpha-tocopherol being the preferred form of the vitamin used by the human body (Traber, 2015). There are 0.4 mg of alpha-tocopherol in a one-ounce serving of pecans, helping you get to your recommended daily allowance of 15 mg of alpha-tocopherol with every serving. Pecans also contain 6.9 mg of the vitamin E isoform gamma-tocopherol (Traber, 2015). This compound scavenges free radicals and reactive nitrogen species that can cause cellular damage. Getting enough vitamin E is associated with reduced risk of age-related macular degeneration, fatty liver diseases, cataracts, type 2 diabetes, and even certain types of cancer (Traber, 2015).

Pecans Are a Plant-Based Source of Protein

Because of their rich and naturally sweet flavor, some people mistakenly categorize pecans as an exclusively dessert food. This is a huge mistake, causing you to miss out on pecans as a great source of nutrition in savory items. For example, if you’re craving a salty snack, toss pecans with garlic powder, dried mustard, and a sprinkle of sea salt before throwing them into the oven to roast.

Pecans are rich in protein, adding bulk to your meals that will prevent you from getting hungry shortly after eating. For instance, one ounce of pecans contains 3 grams of protein (Self Nutrition Data, 2015). Try adding a handful pecans to a spinach salad with dried cranberries and goat cheese; encrust your favorite fish with a nutty exterior before cooking; or add pecans to a stir fry with broccoli and tofu or chicken.

Pecans As a Source of Thiamin

Thiamin, also known as vitamin B1, is one of the B complex vitamins. Although all of the B complex vitamins play a role in energy metabolism, thiamin is particularly important in this regard (Office of Dietary Supplements, 2016). It helps your cells grow, develop, and divide, ensuring proper cellular health. Failing to get enough thiamin can negatively impact your metabolism and lead to certain neurological problems.

It is recommended that adult men get 1.2 mg of thiamin each day, while adult women need 1.1 grams. There are 0.2 mg of thiamin in one ounce of pecans (Self Nutrition Data, 2015), helping you reach 12% of your daily dietary goal.

Pecans are Rich in Critical Minerals for Growth and Metabolism

In the attempt to get enough vitamins and antioxidants, some people forget about the other micronutrients that keep your body running properly: minerals. Pecans are a great source of manganese (one ounce provides 63% of your recommended daily intake) and copper (one ounce contains 12% of your daily intake) (Self Nutrition Data, 2015). These minerals are critical components of enzymes that your body needs to perform physiological reactions within your cells. Failing to get enough of these minerals can cause problems with your growth and metabolism.

Pecan Recipes

Ponder pecans’ prolific palate per pleasantly planned plates and prepare your pecans properly today!

Quinoa Pancakes Recipe

Pecans provide the perfect palate to pair with protein-packed quinoa in this positively prodigious pancake plate. Place a petite portion of pecans atop the pancakes for an added plus!
Ingredients: Quinoa, whole wheat pastry flour (or brown rice flour for gluten-free cakes), eggs, milk, maple syrup or honey, raw pecans, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt.
Total Time: 15 minutes | Yield: 7 pancakes

Pecan Pie Recipe {gluten-free}

This prime post-supper plate will prove the pecan pie is permanently and perpetually the premier pièce de résistance to present to patrons, parents, and progeny. Produce the perfect pie posthaste and try this recipe today!
Ingredients: Almond flour, coconut oil, honey, eggs, pecan halves, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract, butter, salt.
Total Time: 1 hour | Yield: 8 servings

Pecan Snacks & Foods

We purvey a plethora of pecan products and each is pristine as it is palatable. Peruse the portion provided below and pick your preferred products or procure any pecan product on our pecan page.

Georgia Pecans (Raw, No Shell)

$14.99/lb

Georgia pecans supply a smooth and supple sensation with every serving. Stay healthy with the unseasoned nuts and enjoy the rich flavor of their natural fats in its purest form.

Oh My! Pecan Pie

$16.99

For those who prefer not to bake their own confections, our pre-made pie provides a mouthwatering means of enjoying your favorite seasonal dessert all year-long.

Orange Pecans

$15.99/lb

This simple snack pairs pecans with the piquant palate of orange zest to create a confection with a superb savor that will blow your mind. Enjoy these treats as a snack or light dessert!

Organic Pecan Date Rolls

$11.99/lb

These delicious dates have been rolled in pecan pieces that pack a pleasant crunch into every sweet treat. Enjoy these wholesome treats a substitute to unhealthy candies and artificial treats.

Pecan Brittle

$12.99/lb

A simple combination of a classic brittle formulation and our pristine pecans produces a treat that will blow you away. Enjoy its chewy texture and buttery sweet tastes and get your bag now.

Pecan Meal

$13.99/lb

This coarse powder is pure pecan to produce a substitute for other flours in baked goods or a soft coating for fish, chicken, and other savory dishes that would benefit from a subtle crunch.

Dark Chocolate Covered Pecans

$16.99/lb

Pecans coated in decadent dark chocolate meld the mouthwatering flavors of our favorite fatty nuts with the sharp savors of cocoa. Enjoy these delectable bites anytime!

Praline Pecans

This brilliant twist on a classic treat substitutes pecans for the traditional almonds to provide an even more robust palate. Try the impressive savor these snacks offer today!

Butter Toffee Pecans

A combination of creamy tastes and textures, pecans are coated with sweets that give the treat the uniquely distinctive taste of toffee. Enjoy a helping of these scrumptious candied pieces today!

In my opinion, among nuts, pecans are the best and have been one of my favorite snacks for years; they’re also one of the healthiest. In fact, after looking at 277 different nuts and foods, USDA researchers say pecans are the most antioxidant-rich nut around. On top of this, pecans deliver more oleic acid than olive oil, contain 90% unsaturated (heart-healthy) fats, are low sodium, cholesterol free, contain essential vitamins and minerals, and have important alpha and gamma-tocopherol forms of vitamin E.

All of this adds up to a powerful little nut with big health benefits! Here we will explain 7 of the major health benefits of pecans.

Top Benefits of Pecans

1. Heart Support

Men and women who regularly eat nuts have lower rates of heart disease, according to researchers. Antioxidants like those in Pecans neutralize free radicals before they can corrupt low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and other proteins that block your arteries, making them stiff and rigid. This reduces stress on your heart and keeps it strong as you age.

2. Fights Inflammation

Pecans are similar to other nuts by potentially soothing internal irritation. Here are some of the ways it does this:

  • The alpha- and gamma tocopherol versions of vitamin E are two of most powerful antioxidants around. These discourage the cellular damage that leads to irritation.
  • The magnesium in pecans reduces the presence of specific markers, such as C-reactive protein and Interleukin-6, and protects against widespread irritation within the body.
  • Provides omega-3 fatty acids.

Plus, pecans have vitamins A, C, the B-complex, and vitamin K, not to mention calcium, zinc, and potassium. As you soothe irritation, you reduce your risk of heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease – all diseases linked to internal irritation and swelling.

3. Fights Cancer?

It’d be overzealous to say pecans are the answer to cancer, but one important antioxidant in pecans has shown some promise in overall prevention. Studies show gamma tocopherol, a powerful antioxidant and one of the most potent forms of vitamin E, protects men against prostate cancer. Research from Purdue University suggests vitamin E offers protection against lung cancer too.

4. Anti-Aging

When your cells work right, you age more gracefully. That’s why everyone’s always talking about antioxidants. And that’s what research continues to show. A recent five-year French study reported those who consumed antioxidant-rich foods and supplements enjoyed better health as they aged, especially men. Pecans make it easy. They’re nutritious, tasty, and make a great snack. And you don’t need to eat a ton – a handful of pecans every now and then will do the trick.

5. Weight-loss

Nuts like pecans contain the vitamins, unsaturated fats, minerals, and fatty acids you need in a small, low-calorie serving. When combined, all these nutrients will help you lose weight and keep it off. According to a National Health study from 2005-2010, adults who eat nuts regularly have a smaller waist size and lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who don’t.

6. Cholesterol

Beta-sitosterol, a plant chemical, reduces blood cholesterol levels. In pecans, beta-sitosterol makes up 90% of these antioxidant plant chemicals. Studies show whole pecans lower LDL cholesterol by 30% within 2 hours of eating them, and regular consumption lowers overall cholesterol levels.

7. Blood Pressure

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reports tree nuts, like pecans, help with blood pressure management. Researchers reported nuts significantly lower blood pressure in participants who did not suffer from diabetes. Now that’s not to say diabetics didn’t benefit from the nuts, just that they didn’t show the same blood pressure control as the other participants.

Perspective: Nutritional Facts of Pecans

How many pecans should you eat? Should you eat whole pecans or pecan halves? And how many calories are in a serving? Here’s a table to help you decide the best serving size for your nutrition needs.

Nutrient 1 Cup Chopped 1 Cup Halves 1 oz (19 Halves)
Water 3.84g 3.48g 1g
Calories 753kcal 684kcal 196kcal
Protein 10g 9.08g 2.6g
Total fat 78.45g 71.25g 20.4g
Carbohydrate 15.11g 13.72g 3.93g
Fiber 10.5g 9.5g 2.7g
Sugars 4.33g 3.93g 1.13g
Minerals
Calcium, Ca 76mg 69mg 20mg
Iron, Fe 2.76mg 2.5mg 0.72mg
Magnesium, Mg 132mg 120mg 34mg
Phosphorus, P 302mg 274mg 79mg
Potassium, K 447mg 406mg 116mg
Sodium, Na 0mg 0mg 0mg
Zinc, Zn 4.94mg 4.48mg 1.28mg
Vitamins
Vitamin C 1.2mg 1.1mg 0.3mg
Thiamin 0.719mg 0.653mg 0.187mg
Riboflavin 0.142mg 0.129mg 0.037mg
Niacin 1.272mg 1.155mg 0.331mg
Vitamin B-6 0.229mg 0.208mg 0.06mg
Folate, DFE 24µg 22µg 6µg
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg 0µg
Vitamin A, RAE 3µg 3µg 1µg
Vitamin A, IU 61IU 55IU 16IU
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1.53mg 1.39mg 0.4mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) 0µg 0µg 0µg
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU 0IU
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 3.8µg 3.5µg 1µg
Lipids
Fatty acids, total saturated 6.736g 6.118g 1.752g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 44.473g 40.393g 11.567g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 23.559g 21.398g 6.128g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg 0mg

How to Get the Most from Pecans

When it comes to any food, organic is best. They are not coated in harmful pesticides and herbicides, so look for raw, organic pecans for the greatest benefits. Eat them right from the bag as a snack or crush them and toss them on a salad.

If you find raw pecans hard to digest, don’t worry, you can still enjoy them. Here’s what to do:

Take 4 cups of raw pecans and put them in a large bowl. Cover them with filtered water and mix in a tablespoon of sea salt. Cover and let it sit for about 8 hours. Then drain, and spread them on a baking sheet. Heat them in your oven at the lowest temperature and stir them around a few times to dry them evenly.

How do you enjoy pecans? Leave a comment below and share your tips.

References (7)

  1. Blomhoff R1, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60.
  2. Purdue University. Vitamin E in plant seeds could halt prostate, lung cancer, says Purdue scientist. Purdue University.
  3. Assmann KE, Andreeva VA, Jeandel C, Hercberg S, Galan P, Kesse-Guyot E. Healthy Aging 5 Years After a Period of Daily Supplementation With Antioxidant Nutrients: A Post Hoc Analysis of the French Randomized Trial SU.VI.MAX. Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Sep 15. pii: kwv105.
  4. O’Neil CE1, Fulgoni VL 3rd2, Nicklas TA3. Tree Nut consumption is associated with better adiposity measures and cardiovascular and metabolic syndrome health risk factors in U.S. Adults: NHANES 2005-2010. Nutr J. 2015 Jun 28;14:64. doi: 10.1186/s12937-015-0052-x.
  5. Hudthagosol C1, Haddad EH, McCarthy K, Wang P, Oda K, Sabaté J. Pecans acutely increase plasma postprandial antioxidant capacity and catechins and decrease LDL oxidation in humans. J Nutr. 2011 Jan;141(1):56-62. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.121269.
  6. Morgan WA1, Clayshulte BJ. Pecans lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in people with normal lipid levels. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000 Mar;100(3):312-8.
  7. Mohammadifard N1, Salehi-Abargouei A1, Salas-Salvadó J1, Guasch-Ferré M1, Humphries K1, Sarrafzadegan N1. The effect of tree nut, peanut, and soy nut consumption on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 May;101(5):966-82. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.114.091595.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

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The benefits of pecans

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