Pecans are a hearty and healthy snack
Did you know pecans are loaded with nutritious goodness? Yes it's true. New research on this tasty tree nut tells us they’re rich in chemicals called anti-oxidants. As such, a daily serving of pecans can help ward off many diseases. Everything from helping prevent heart disease, to lowering cholesterol, to weight control, to preventing cancer has been documented. Pecans are also loaded with phytochemicals, a group of micro-nutrient chemicals found in plants. These nutrients include flavonoids, plant sterols and sulfur compounds. In fact, pecans contain more phytochemicals and have higher anti-oxidant activity than any other tree nut.
Heart-Healthy Pecans Not Just for Pies Anymore
A handful of pecans each day may help the lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Pecans are the only tree nut native to North America, so it’s fitting that just a handful a day may help lower the risk of this country’s number #1 killer: heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and a major cause of disability. Fortunately for pecan-lovers, their favorite nuts contain an abundance of heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
“Since the vast majority of fat found in pecans is unsaturated, pecans are an ideal choice for anyone interested in maintaining a healthy diet,” said Sue Taylor, R.D., nutrition communications director for the National Pecan Shellers Association.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition suggests eating just a handful of pecans each day may be as effective at lowering cholesterol levels as prescription medication. In addition, research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) shows pecans contain more antioxidants than any other nut and have one of the highest antioxidant capacity of any food. Antioxidants are nutrients that serve as armor for our bodies and may help slow the oxidation or “rusting” of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Studies have shown antioxidants may also decrease the risk of developing cancer, diabetes and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Pecans are ideal diet snack food!
Pecans are a tasty and healthy substitute for traditional snack foods. These power-packed tree nuts contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, and they’re cholesterol-free. There’s no better time to start eating healthy by substituting pecans for other snack food:
- Instead of chips, which are loaded with sodium, bring about 20 pecan halves to work to snack on throughout the day. Pecans are naturally sodium-free.
- Substitute pecans for a candy bar when you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up. Research has shown people who eat pecans feel fuller longer. Pecans provide that long-lasting energy because they contain heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Plus, a handful of pecan halves contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple.
- Sprinkle pecans on top of your yogurt and you’ll get more zinc – an important nutrient for proper growth and strong immunity.
Weight Control and Pecans
A review of pecan and other nut research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (September 2003), suggests that nuts like pecans may aid in weight loss and maintenance. The review cited studies indicating that nut consumption may increase metabolic rates and enhance satiety. When used in conjunction with a healthy low-fat diet, nuts also offer increased flavor, palatability and texture that can lead to greater dietary compliance, according to the review.
Nearly 60 percent of the fats in pecans are monounsaturated and another 30 percent are polyunsaturated, leaving very little saturated fat in pecans. The unsaturated fat in pecans is 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. In addition, pecans contain no trans fat.
Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein that contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. Pecans are also naturally sodium-free, making them an excellent choice for those on a salt- or sodium-restricted diet.
Pecans are sexy!
Pecans are nutrient dense. They contain 19 vitamins and several minerals. As a bonus, you only need a one ounce serving to achieve 10 percent of the recommended daily value for fiber. Pecans can contribute to a healthy sex life due to the high amounts of absorb-able organic zinc. Zinc helps your body generate testosterone, a hormone needed by both men and women.
Quality pecans equals healthy pecans.
Priester's pecans are exceptional quality, freshly harvested at the height of ripeness and quickly shelled and frozen at the proper temperature. So not only are you getting a better tasting pecan, but you're also getting a better for you pecan. Pecans are an ideal snack for anyone wanting to control their weight, watch their cholesterol, and protect themselves against disease. Pack a handful for your next lunch or trip.
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