Pecans & How to Boost Your Immune System With These 9 Health Benefits
All nuts (when eaten raw) are full of health benefits and if you can eat a handful of different ones every day, so much the better.
One of these health filled nuts is the pecan which is an especially rich source of energy while also filled with many nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for our well being.
Just one and a half ounces of nuts daily, such as pecans could help you to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pecan nuts were one of the more recent of domesticated major crops as the commercial growing in the USA did not begin until the 1880s.
Today, this country produces the majority of the world's pecans (up to 95%) from some 10 million trees with the harvest occurring in October. The rest of the world's supply comes from Australia, Brazil, China, Israel, Mexico, Peru and South Africa.
An interesting fact about pecan trees is that they can carry on bearing edible nuts for more than 300 years.
Many other health benefits from eating pecan nuts
1. Pecans are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and are an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients found in foods that help protect against cell damage while fighting diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and cancer.
2. Pecans are an excellent source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotenes, lutein and zeaxanthin. Research studies have suggested that these compounds help our bodies to remove toxic oxygen free radicals as a further form of protection from disease.
3. Pecans are a rich source of vitamin-E which is important for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of both mucus membranes and the skin. The nuts are especially rich in one form of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherols. Studies have found that after eating pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body double and unhealthy oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood decreases by as much as 33 percent. Oxidized LDLs can contribute to inflammation in the arteries and place people at greater risk of cardiovascular problems. While on the subject of cholesterol, pecans contain plant sterols which are known for their cholesterol-lowering ability.
4. Pecans are also packed with many important B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. These vitamins function as co-factors for enzymes during cellular substrate metabolism.
5. Pecans are also full of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
7. Pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein that contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. 8. Pecans are also naturally sodium-free, making them an excellent choice for those on a salt- or sodium-restricted diet.
9. Pecans may even aid in weight loss, and then maintaining such weight loss, according to the findings of a review of pecan and other nut research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2003). This review pointed to nut consumption possibly increasing metabolic rates while enhancing satiety (so you get that fuller feeling sooner). When used in conjunction with a healthy low-fat diet, nuts also offer increased flavor, taste and texture that can lead to greater dietary compliance, according to the review.
A one ounce serving of pecans - that is about 20 halves - contains 196 calores, 20.4 grams total fat (of which 1.9 is saturated fat), no cholesterol, no sodium, 2.7 grams of dietary fiber and over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins A and E, calcium, potassium and zinc.
Luu HN, et al. Prospective evaluation of the association of nut/peanut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2015; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.8347.
Martin N, et al. Nut consumption for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2015; doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011583.pub2.
Ros E. Nuts and CVD. British Journal of Nutrition. 2015; doi:10.1017/S0007114514003924.
Go nuts (but just a little!). American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/go-nuts-but-just-a-little. Accessed Aug. 15, 2016.