The Benefits of Pecans
Pecans: delicious, filling, great to bake with… and nutritious! Not only do pecans check off several important categories when it comes to snacking, they encompass a plethora of incredible health benefits as well. Pecans really can do it all!
Pecans are great for heart health, but what does that mean exactly? To be certified as Heart-Healthy Food by the American Heart Association, nuts must meet certain nutritional requirements for saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium and beneficial nutrients. Certified as Heart-Healthy, pecans that are unroasted, unsalted and grown in the U.S. meet the Association’s nutritional guidelines, including criteria for saturated fat and sodium.
Lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease
Containing zero trans fats and a large amount of “good” heart-healthy fats, pecans play an important role in reducing the risk of heart disease. When eaten in moderation, it’s been proven that they can even help lower total blood cholesterol. “Pecans stay with you longer than high carbohydrate snacks that your body burns through quickly,” claims Vickie Mabry, National Pecan Shellers Association Executive Director.
Rich in antioxidants
Pecans contain vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, folic acid, potassium, phosphorus and several more nutrients, totaling 19 in all. They’re also a natural high-quality source of protein, containing very few carbohydrates, zero cholesterol and are naturally sodium-free!
Lower your chance of disease
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pecans have more antioxidants than any other tree nut. Those who consume diets rich with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found mostly in fruit and vegetables, have been found less likely to develop chronic diseases including heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and cognitive decline.
Easily incorporated into a healthy diet
From sweet to savory, there are many unique recipes that incorporate pecans into healthy diets! Use candied, roasted, shelled or in shell pecans to top off a salad, create a crust for chicken or fish, or add them into a variety of breakfast dishes like pancakes or muffins.
For those eating paleo or keto diets, raw pecans satisfy healthy cravings with their rich, buttery flavor. Even a handful goes a long way!
- National Pecan Shellers Association. (2020, June 24). ILovePecans | National Pecan Shellers Association. ILovePecans. https://ilovepecans.org/
- Blomhoff, R. (2020). Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17125534/
- Nuts, Peanuts, and Seeds | Food and Nutrition Information Center | NAL | USDA. (2019). United States Department of Agriculture. https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/nuts-peanuts-and-seeds