Whether you call ’em PEE-can or PEH-kahn, they are one of the most sought after nuts around the globe. A cousin of the walnut, pecans are the only major tree nut native to North America. People love pecans for their versatility: They add a sweet, nutty goodness to breads and cereals, stuffing and spreads, salads and side dishes, entrees and desserts. At the same time, they bring a lot of nutrition to the table.
Pecans contain healthy, monounsaturated fats like oleic acid, as well as antioxidants that support heart health by lowering LDL cholesterol and increasing the good cholesterol, HDL. Packed with fiber, pecans support healthy digestion and colon health. Some research shows that diets consisting of pecans (and other healthy nuts) can support a healthy body weight and even help people lose weight. Pecans are a good source of vitamins and minerals that support overall health, including B-vitamins, magnesium, manganese, vitamins E and A, zinc, iron, and folate.
Your family can enjoy the natural, nutty sweetness of pecans as a snack (plain or roasted), sprinkled over yogurt or oatmeal, or sautéed with savory seasonings such as curry powder, sea salt, or paprika. Consider baking with pecans—from cookies to cheesecake and even homemade ice cream.
When purchasing pecans, fresh is best and organic is even better. Look for pecans in the bulk foods section at a grocer that regularly “turns the stock.” Store pecans, and all nuts, in an airtight package away from heat, preferably in the fridge to retain nutrient content.
- NutritionAndYou.com “Pecans Nutrition Facts” Accessed 6 Feb 2018: https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/pecans.html
- Hudthagosol, C., Haddad, E. H. et. al, “Pecans Acutely Increase Plasma Postprandial Antioxidant Capacity and Catechins, and Decrease LDL Oxidation in Humans.” The Journal of Nutrition, 1 (January 2011) 141:1 pages 56–62. Accessed 6 Feb 2018: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/141/1/56/4630660#xref-fn-1-1
- Blomohoff, R., Carlsen, M.H,, et al., “Health Benefits of Nuts: Potential Role of Antioxidants” Br J Nutri. (2008 Feb) 99:2, pages 447-48. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17125534
- Health.com “13 Zinc Rich Foods” Accessed 6 Feb 2018: http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20929453,00.html#zinc-rich-foods-
- Rajaram, S., Burke, K., et al., “A Monounsaturated Fatty Acid-Rich Pecan-Enriched Diet Favorably Alters The Serum Lipid Profile Of Healthy Men And Women.” J Nutr (2001 Sep) 131:9, 2275-79. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11533266