A Pecan is a tree nut native to North America. It’s oval in shape with a woody, brown shell. The inside of the pecan is edible and has a sweet, nutty flavor. Pecans can be eaten raw, but they are often used in baking, as they add a rich, nutty flavor to cakes, cookies, and pies.
They are generally high in fat and calories but are also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamins A and E, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. They also contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that may protect against heart disease and cancer. Learn more about Pecan nutrition and health benefits below
Pecan Nutrition Facts
An once (About 19 halves or 28 grams) of pecans can offer about:
- Calories: 195
- Carbohydrates: 4 grams
- Protein: 2.5 grams
- Fat: 20 grams
- Fiber: 2.7 grams
- Manganese: 1.3 milligrams, or 64 percent of the recommended daily value (DV)
- Copper: 0.3 milligrams, or 17 percent DV
- Thiamine: 0.2 milligram, or 12 percent DV
- Magnesium: 34.2 milligrams, or 9 percent DV
- Zinc: 1.3 milligrams, or 9 percent DV
- Phosphorus: 78.2 milligrams, or 8 percent DV
- Iron: 0.7 milligrams, or 4 percent DV
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 milligrams, or 3 percent DV
- Potassium: 116 milligrams, or 3 percent DV
1. Promotes cardiovascular health
Pecans contain several important nutrients that can boost cardiovascular health.
For example, pecans are a good source of oleic acid, which is a type of monounsaturated fat. In fact, 49–76.5% of fats in pecans are oleic acid, followed by 13-40% linoleic acid, and 6-17% saturated fat.
Oleic and linoleic acid can help boost heart health in different ways:Oleic acid has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood vessel function. Linoleic acid, on the other hand, helps reduce inflammation and keep blood vessels healthy.
Together, these two can keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Pecans are also a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
Additionally, pecans contain magnesium, another important nutrient for heart health.
In one study, healthy participants on 2.5 ounces of pecans daily recorded a significant decrease in LDL or bad cholesterol after eight weeks. The control group did not show the same results.
Another study on patients with coronary artery disease (characterized by arterial narrowing) found that a daily intake of one ounce of pecans for 12 weeks reduced total cholesterol levels while increasing good cholesterol, both of which improved their condition.
2. Promotes brain function
Pecans are a good source of several nutrients that are important for brain health, including vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are harmful molecules that can damage cells and have been linked to the development of various conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Magnesium is involved in many biochemical processes, including those that regulate neurotransmitter activity. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that allow nerve cells to communicate with each other.
Zinc is another mineral that is essential for brain health. It plays a role in cell signaling, which is important for communication between neurons. Zinc also helps protect the brain from damage caused by inflammation.
Additionally, the healthy fats, in pecans, including monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are important for maintaining cell membranes, which protect the brain cells from damage.
The fatty acids in pecans can also increase blood flow to the brain, which helps protect against cognitive decline.
3. Stabilizes blood sugar levels
Pecans are a great source of healthy fats, proteins, and fibers that can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
They contain monounsaturated fats that have been shown to help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels.
They are also a good source of magnesium, a mineral essential for proper insulin function. In addition, the fiber in pecans helps slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing spikes in blood sugar levels.
4. Fights inflammation
Pecans are known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory food. Studies have shown that pecans can help fight inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines and increasing anti-inflammatory compounds.
They are a good source of manganese, an important mineral for many bodily functions. One of the most important roles of manganese is its involvement in the production of Superoxide dismutase (SOD), an enzyme that helps fight inflammation.
Pecans are also rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from damage caused by inflammation.
Pecans are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties. One study showed that people who ate a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids had lower levels of inflammation markers in their blood than those who did not eat a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
PMS, or premenstrual syndrome, is a condition that affects many women during the weeks leading up to their period. Symptoms of PMS can include mood swings, irritability, bloating, and cravings for sweet or salty foods. While there is no cure for PMS, there are things that you can do to relieve symptoms. One such thing is eating pecans.
Pecans are a good source of magnesium, which has been shown to help reduce the symptoms of PMS. In one study, women who took a magnesium supplement for three months had less severe PMS symptoms than those who did not.
Pecans are also a good source of antioxidants and healthy fats. Both of which have been shown to help improve mood and reduce inflammation.
So if you’re feeling down during that time of the month, try reaching for some pecans instead of that pint of ice cream.
Promotes healthy bones
Pecans are an excellent source of several essential vitamins and minerals for bone health.
They are a good source of phosphorus, a key mineral for bone formation. Pecans are also a good source of magnesium, another mineral needed for bone health.
In addition, pecans contain vitamin K, which is important for bone metabolism.
Also, pecans contain antioxidants that may further protect bones from inflammation and oxidative damage.
One study found that pecans may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and fragile bones.
Pecans are a good source of protein
Protein is an important nutrient that helps your body build and repair tissues, make enzymes and hormones, and regulate metabolism. It’s also necessary for fluid balance and blood clotting. Pecans are a good source of protein, providing 6 grams per ounce. This makes them a great addition to any diet, especially for those who want to increase their protein intake.
The Antioxidants in Pecan Nuts May Help Prevent Cancer
Pecan nuts are a good source of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage. These substances can help prevent cancer by scavenging harmful toxins and free radicals that can damage DNA. The antioxidants in pecans may also help reduce inflammation, another factor contributing to cancer development.
Nuts are a great source of protein and healthy fats, both of which are essential for a healthy metabolism. Pecans are especially high in fat, with about 75% of their calories coming from fat. This makes them an excellent choice for people looking to boost their metabolism.
Pecans are also a good source of fiber, another important nutrient for a healthy metabolism. Fiber helps keep the digestive system moving, which is essential for the proper absorption of nutrients includinng those that support fat-burning processes.
Pecans lower blood pressure
High blood pressure is a common problem that can be difficult to manage. However, making small changes to your diet can greatly impact your blood pressure. Pecans are a delicious and nutritious snack that can help lower blood pressure.
Pecans are rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure. Additionally, they contain magnesium and potassium, both of which are essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Eating just a handful of each day can help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health.
Pecan Risk Factors
Pecan can be calorie dense
Pecans are a calorie-dense food, with a one-ounce (28 grams) serving providing about 200 calories. Most of the calories in pecans come from fat, with each ounce containing about 20 grams of fat. This makes them a high-fat food, and one that should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
While the fat content in pecans is mostly healthy unsaturated fats, they do contain a small amount of saturated fat. Saturated fats can contribute to heart disease and other chronic health conditions, so it’s best to limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat, including pecans.
Pecan allergies are a real and potentially serious problem for some people. While the severity of an allergic reaction to pecans can vary from person to person, even a mild reaction can be extremely uncomfortable. If you have any sort of allergy to pecans, it is important to avoid them completely to prevent any possible reactions.
Pecan allergies can cause a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Mild symptoms may include itching and swelling in the mouth and throat. More severe symptoms can include difficulty breathing, wheezing, and hives. In the most severe cases, anaphylaxis can occur. Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening reaction that can cause swelling of the airways, difficulty breathing, and shock.
Raw or Roasted Pecans?
Raw pecans are a great source of healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also a delicious and versatile ingredient in many recipes.
Roasted pecans have a deep, rich flavor that is perfect for savory dishes or sweet desserts. They’re also a good source of healthy fats and minerals.
So, which is better? Raw or roasted pecans?
There is no right or wrong answer, it simply depends on your preference. If you like the taste of raw pecans, then go for it! If you prefer the flavor of roasted pecans, then roast them. It’s really that simple.
How Many Pecans Should You Eat in a Day?
Pecans are a healthy snack option, but it’s important to eat them in moderation. So how many pecans should you eat in a day?
The answer depends on a few factors, such as sex, activity level, and overall health. Generally speaking, you can eat up to 1 ounce (28 grams) of pecans per day. This is equivalent to about 10-12 whole pecans.
If you’re looking to increase your intake of healthy fats, you can bump up your daily pecan intake to 2 ounces (56 grams). Just be sure to keep an eye on your total calorie intake for the day.
And if you have any allergies or sensitivities to nuts, it’s best to avoid them altogether. However, if you must eat them, start with just a few pecans and see how your body reacts before eating more.
Recipes with Pecans
Pecans can be used in a variety of recipes, including pies, cakes, cookies, and even savory dishes. Here are some ideas for ways to use pecans in cooking:
- Add chopped pecans to your favorite pie or cake recipe for a flavor and texture boost
- Make pecan shortbread cookies by adding finely chopped pecans to the dough before baking
- Mix chopped pecans into oatmeal or yogurt for a nutritious breakfast or snack
- Use pecan meal (ground-up pecans) as a gluten-free flour alternative in recipes
- Use pecans in place of croutons in salads
- To add flavor and texture to salads, try adding chopped pecans
- For a sweet and nutty twist on classic roasted vegetables, try roasting them with pecans
- Pecan pie is a classic dessert that is perfect for the holidays. If you’re looking for something a little different, try making a pecan crisp or a pecan tart.
Try these recipes:
Pecans are an excellent source of healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They have been shown to improve heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and help regulate blood sugar levels. Pecans are also a good source of antioxidants and can help protect against some forms of cancer. If you’re looking for a nutritious snack that’s also delicious, look no further than pecans!
That being said, pecans can be high in calories, so always eat them in moderation.
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