Discover the 9 shocking health benefits of pecans.
The shell of pecan nuts is ovoid and can be broken with a nutcracker, just like that of the common walnut; However, as it has a smooth surface – unlike other nuts – it is usually more complicated.
For this reason, most establishments usually sell them peeled. The nuts themselves are tan in color and have a smooth, shiny surface marked by three or four low-relief ribs. Inside, if we split them, they have a lighter color.
The tree from which pecans come – Carya illinoinensis or pecanero – is a species native to the southeastern United States; anyway, it is now also grown in Malta, South Africa, Azerbaijan, China, Australia, Ukraine, Brazil, and other South American countries. In addition, it seems that it also begins to naturalize in some areas in southern Spain.
The main nutritional properties of pecans
Like all nuts, pecans are an energy food but, in addition, they also provide vegetable protein, good quality fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytosterols and antioxidants.
Pecan nuts provide 9.2 g of protein per 100 g.
Pecans are very rich in omega-9, a fatty acid closely related to virgin olive oil , but that we can also find in avocado , olives or some nuts, such as pecans.
Unlike omega-3 and omega-6 , omega-9 is not essential , since the body has the ability to synthesize it.
However, taking omega-9 through diet has great benefits: it helps regulate cholesterol levels – it increases HDL and lowers LDL -, it protects against neurodegenerative diseases – it is beneficial for brain function – and it is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory , among others.
Pecans are especially rich in manganese which participates in the formation of sex hormones, activates enzymes of energy metabolism, is necessary for the synthesis of mucopolysaccharides in cartilage and is related to the functions of vitamin E.
They also contain magnesium, copper, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, and selenium.
They contain vitamins group B (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9), vitamin K, vitamin E and small amounts of vitamins A and C .
The vitamin E is an antioxidant nature and within the body, prevents oxidation of vitamin A and the polyunsaturated fatty acids that are part of cell membranes. In addition, it also participates in different enzyme systems that inactivate free radicals.
Its fiber helps fight constipation , reduce the absorption of cholesterol and acts as a protective mechanism against colon diseases.
They provide plant phytosterols , substances with a structure similar to that of cholesterol and that help to displace it from the intestinal micelles, which makes us absorb less cholesterol.
Health benefits of pecans
Pecans are delicious energy generators, full of nutrients, that can be an ideal snack or used as a condiment or ingredient in your favorite recipes. Here are some facts you should know about these delicious nuts.
1 – A single handful has a big impact
28 grams of pecans (about a handful) provide 200 calories, 3 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and 20 grams of unsaturated fats, making them an extremely healthy and satisfying snack with a significant load of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
2 – They are important for the immune system
Pecans provide phytonutrients, plant compounds with powerful antioxidant benefits. They are also a good source of the mineral zinc, crucial for white blood cell development and function.
Diets high in zinc are associated with a lower risk of various diseases, particularly those related to age and lifestyle. Additionally, eating foods containing ellagic acid – an antioxidant found in pecans – is associated with a reduced risk of some cancers.
3 – They are full of flavonoids
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), pecans have more flavonoids – a type of antioxidant found mainly in fruits and vegetables – than any other type of nut.
Those who consume foods high in flavonoids are less likely to develop chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers and cognitive degradation. In addition, a study conducted in 2016 found a possible connection between flavonoids and weight control.
4 – They are crucial for good heart health
Pecans are full of monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that is related to improving cholesterol levels in the body.
Another benefit of these delicious nuts: Pecans are packed with beta-carotene and vitamin E that mitigate the effects of various chronic inflammations.
5 – They have a surprisingly low amount of sugar
Not only do they contain very little sugar, but pecans can also help improve blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of sugar from the bloodstream by peripheral tissues. This helps maintain good energy levels and prevent blood sugar spikes.
6 – They can boost the brain
It may not be news that nuts are one of the most nutritious foods around, but it may not be as well known that diets high in vitamin E are associated with a decreased risk of disease Alzheimer’s and dementia by up to 25%.
This is so because vitamin E and other antioxidants found in plant foods help reduce oxidative stress caused by inflammation, protecting cells and tissues of vital organs such as the brain.
That being said: it is wise to avoid dietary supplements of vitamin E. In high doses, vitamin E has a pro-oxidant effect that can increase the risk of oxidative stress and potentially chronic disease.
7 – They help control weight
It is true that nuts are high in fat. However, the type of fat found in tree nuts can promote weight loss and control. This occurs because nuts are a source of oleic acid, a fatty acid that creates satiety while promoting heart health.
The key to long-range and successful weight management is to eat every three to four hours, limit your intake of added sugar and saturated fats found in processed foods, and make meals based on source foods. vegetable.
Being a delicious and satisfying snack, pecans are a nutritious food that never fails to satisfy the appetite.
8 – They have key minerals
Pecans are an excellent source of manganese and copper, two minerals that support overall metabolic health, contain anti-inflammatory properties, and can potentially reduce heart conditions.
An added benefit: these nutrients have shown specific qualities in preventing high blood pressure.
Pecans in the kitchen
Pecans can be eaten raw as a snack or to complement preparations such as a salad or homemade granola. In addition, we can also use pecans to prepare dried fruit creams and vegetable patés.
Some countries also use pecans to prepare fillings, ice cream, breads, or other pastry sweets.
In Mexico they prepare the walnut pancake.
In the United States, the pecan pie is very typical , a traditional cake that is usually prepared on holidays such as Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays.
The American Indians use them to make pawcochiccora , a sweet milk obtained from cooking pecans and then used for cooking.
What you should not forget about pecans
Pecan nuts , native to America, are an oleaginous dried fruit with a very high nutritional value. They provide vegetable protein, monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, fiber, plant sterols and a wide variety of minerals.
They are a food with a delicious flavor and aroma that we can use to give a crunchy touch to any type of dish or to prepare pastry recipes.
We hope the article on the 9 shocking health benefits of pecans has been of help.