Ever wondered about the health benefits of pecans? Pecans are edible nuts that are native to Mexico and North America. They come in numerous varieties, all growing from a huge deciduous tree and can be eaten either fresh, roasted or sprinkled on top of recipes. The nuts are rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats that promote overall wellness.
Health experts recommend that you should eat 4 to 5 servings of seeds, legumes or nuts per day to stay healthy and keep a balanced diet. Pecans can be a good source of this requirement considering that they are not only affordable but readily available as well. The nuts also have more antioxidants than others in the same category. Apart from protecting against cell damage, antioxidants can help combat diseases like cancer.
Moreover, they contain lots of vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and potassium which are all great for the body. Studies also show that eating nuts like pecans can be beneficial when trying to watch your weight. Adding pecans to your daily diet can help you meet the best healthy eating practices recommended by nutritionists.
Top 7 Health Benefits of Pecans
Check out these amazing health benefits of pecans and why you might want to think about introducing them into your diet.
- Boosts Heart Health
- Lowers Blood Pressure
- Anti-inflammatory Properties
- Promotes Stronger Bones and Teeth
- Relieves Constipation and Promotes Digestive Health
- Prevents Cancer
- Reduces the Risk of Stroke
1. Boosts Heart Health
Pecans are rich in monounsaturated lipids like oleic acid which promote better heart functionality. In fact, pecans contain about 70% of the healthy fats which help prevent coronary artery disorder and strokes. Furthermore, a study conducted by Nutrition Research magazine found that the nuts may help curb coronary heart problems by impeding oxidation of lipids within the blood.
Eating pecans regularly increases the portion of healthy antioxidants found in your body which is important in preventing diseases like cancer and heart conditions. It’s also been discovered that when this nut is introduced into your daily diet, levels of “bad” cholesterol reduce significantly. This cholesterol-lowering ability is partly due to the presence of beta-sitosterol compound, a naturally occurring substance that helps suppress bad fat.
2. Lowers Blood Pressure
Eating the nut can be an effective way of lowering your blood pressure and preventing diabetes, considering that it’s low in sugar. The recommended amount for maintaining optimal heartbeat is 1.5 ounces per week. While the effects may not be immediate, in the long term, eating pecans can definitely be beneficial.
3. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Pecans contain lots of magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, a certain research study found that inflammatory bodily indicators such as TNF-tumor necrosis factor, CRP(C-reactive protein) and IL6 (interleukin 6) were significantly reduced when intake of magnesium was increased.
Likewise, swelling in the arterial lining was also minimized by taking magnesium, with pecans being one of the richest sources of this nutrient.
4. Promotes Stronger Bones and Teeth
The nut has a decent amount of phosphorus which is essential for the formation of healthy bones and also prevents muscle soreness. 85% of the body’s phosphorus quotient is found in teeth and bones, while the other 15% is found in cells and tissues. Phosphorus also helps the body remove waste faster and is essential for growth and regeneration of new cells along with the production of RNA and DNA. Furthermore, it helps prevent muscle aching after exercise.
5. Relieves Constipation and Promotes Digestive Health
Pecans are rich in fiber which is essential for enhancing colon health and promoting regular bowel movements. Similarly, this nutrient helps cleanse residual waste from the gastrointestinal system, allowing your bowel to work more efficiently. Other benefits of fiber are the reduced risk of colitis, hemorrhoids, and colon cancer.
6. Prevents Cancer
Oleic fatty acids found in pecans have been found to protect from breast cancer. It impedes migration and propagation of breast cancer cells while promoting an overall increase in invasiveness of these cells. Additionally, oleic acid is known to suppress the function of genes suspected to cause breast cancer. Though studies on this topic are still ongoing, researchers are optimistic that it could eventually lead to the recommendation of eating more foods that contain oleic acid such as pecans. A single ounce serving of pecans consists of around 25% more oleic than 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Additionally, the beta-sitosterol compound found in the nuts has been found to be effective in relieving symptoms of BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia, a disorder that’s characterized by enlargement of the prostate organ in men. Similarly, a study by Purdue University revealed that the gamma-tocopherol compound found in pecans can kill prostate cancer growths while leaving the healthy cells intact. Scientists are in the process of testing this and other forms of vitamin E, so as to discover more about their amazing properties.
7. Reduces the Risk of Stroke
Following a comprehensive study lasting 14 years, scientists concluded that the risk of stroke was cut by 9% for every 100 milligrams of magnesium that an individual takes per day.
Pecans can also be used as a healthy substitute for meat, mainly because they are rich in proteins and other essential nutrients. Additionally, the nuts contain healthier fats than meat since they are absolutely cholesterol-free. For dieters, they will make an excellent choice over fatty meats such as steak or chicken.
Generally, 10 pecan halves can replace 1 ounce of meat in a person’s diet. Though the daily recommended serving for protein may vary from one person to another based on factors like age, gender, and lifestyle, an average adult should get around 5.5 servings of protein every day to maintain the necessary nutrient requirement.
Since research shows that saturated lipids found in meat can heighten the risk of contracting heart disease, health experts recommend that you should frequently substitute meat for beans and nuts such as pecans which are much safer. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t eat pecans as a snack as well. But if you’re following a Food Plan Pyramid, then note that these nuts can easily and safely replace meat in your dieting plan.
Furthermore, there’s evidence to suggest that eating a handful of pecans every day can protect your nervous system from damage. It may also delay the onset of age-related neurological diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Vitamin E found in the nuts is also helpful in neurological protection, fighting diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
In summary, pecans contain around 19 different types of minerals and vitamins. With 60% of the fat content found in them being monounsaturated and 30% polyunsaturated, both of which are safer than saturated fat.
As you can see, when it comes to the health benefits of pecans, there a many good reasons to introduce them into your diet.