Are you curious about the health benefits of pecans? Or have you ever wondered about how the pecan goes from tree to your table? Here you’ll find the answers to these and many more frequently asked questions.
Other than pecan pie, how can I incorporate pecans into my diet?
You don’t have to wait until Fall or Winter to have pecans. They are available year round and can be used in many recipes or as a snack right out of the bag.
- Toppings – Use as a topping on a salad, yogurt, ice cream or in a entree glaze.
- Baking – Pecans are great for cookies and cakes.
- Entrees – Pecan meal can be used as an alternative to bread beef, chicken and pork.
- Pecans in a bag – Replace your sugar or salt filled snack with plain (natural) pecans. But if you are still looking for something extra, you can find flavored pecans. Honey roasted, spiced, praline and chocolate covered to name a few.
Pecans contain fat, so why should they be included in a healthy diet?
Pecans do contain fat, but not all fats are created equal. Over 90% of the fat found in pecans is unsaturated, heart-healthy fat meeting the new Dietary Guidelines that recommend Americans keep intake between 20 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from heart-healthy sources like fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Source: www.ilovepecans.org
Are pecans a good source of protein?
Yes! Pecans are an excellent source of protein and can be substituted for meat, poultry or fish in a healthy diet, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. The dietary guidelines recommend that the average American should eat 5 ½ servings from the “Meat and Beans” group every day. Pecans are included in this group because they contain approximately the same amount of protein and nutrients as meat, poultry, fish, beans and seeds. Eating 1 ounce of pecans (or about 20 halves) equals two servings from the meat and bean group and 2 teaspoons of oil. That means you still have 3 servings of meat and 4 teaspoons of oil left each day. Source: www.ilovepecans.org
What about natural antioxidants?
Pecans are loaded with natural antioxidants. In fact, researchers at the USDA Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center found that pecans contain the most antioxidant capacity of any other nut and are among the top category of foods (#13 overall) to contain the highest antioxidant capacity. Plus, new research, published in the August 2006 issue of Nutrition Research, shows that adding just a handful of pecans to your healthy diet each day may be help inhibit unwanted oxidation of blood lipids, thus helping prevent coronary heart disease. The researchers suggest that this positive effect was in part due to the pecan’s significant content of vitamin E – a natural antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances found in foods that protect against cell damage and – studies have shown – can help fight diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer and coronary heart disease. Source: www.ilovepecans.org
Can I eat pecans if I’m trying to improve my cholesterol?
Absolutely! In fact, a 2001 study out of Loma Linda University found that adding just a handful of pecans to a traditional low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet can have a dramatic impact on the diet’s effectiveness. Furthermore, the cholesterol lowering effect shown in the study is similar to what is often seen with cholesterol-lowering medications. When the Loma Linda study participants were on the pecan-enriched diet, they lowered their total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol twice as much as they did when they ate the American Heart Association (AHA) Step I diet. Just as importantly, the pecan-enriched diet lowered blood triglyceride levels and helped maintain desirable levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol compared to the Step I diet, which often unfavorably raises triglycerides and usually lowers HDL levels. Source: www.ilovepecans.org