Do Pecans Provide Health Benefits?
Georgia pecan trees provide more than just shade, and pecans help in a lot more ways than just being delicious. That’s right, the tasty additions to pies, deserts, and any other of your favorite pecan recipes also provide a variety of benefits to your overall health.
Finding vitamins and nutrients in your food is always preferable than relying on multivitamins in pill-form. They are simply unable to replicate the exact health benefits of the foods they are meant to replace.
Pecans provide a lot of health benefits. We’ve compiled a list of some of the advantages you can see from incorporating pecans into your diet.
Here are 8 health benefits of eating pecans:
- Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
- Boosts Brain Function
- Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals
- Aids in Weight Loss
- Reduce Inflammation
- Better Digestion
- Can Help Lower Risk of Breast Cancer
1. Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
There are two types of cholesterol in our bodies that each have varying health effects — LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). It’s tempting to tie them together because they sound so similar, but they are quite different in how they affect us. LDL is often referred to as the “bad” cholesterol and HDL is called the “good” cholesterol.
Pecans help reduce levels of LDL ( the “bad” cholesterol) which helps prevent strokes and coronary artery disease.
Pecans provide a few different antioxidant-rich benefits. First, they contain phytonutrients. This refers to an estimated 4,000 different compounds that come from plants. Flavonoids belong to this group and provide antioxidant properties — a reduction in potential for diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. And pecans just so happen to contain more flavonoids than any other tree nut.
Pecans also provide zinc, which is a main contributor to the development and function of immune cells. Zinc helps reduce the effects of aging.
3. Boosts Brain Function
Pecans help boost brain function while fighting against cognitive decline. They are a good source of vitamin E, which has been linked to reducing the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia by up to 25%.
They also serve as a good source of copper and thiamine. These minerals fight against damage to the brain from free radicals. This can help delay the onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Manganese is also found in pecans, which helps stabilize synaptic processes. Low levels of manganese have been linked to learning disabilities, mood swings, and epilepsy.
4. Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals
Georgia pecan trees produce delicious and nutritious nuts that can provide 19 different vitamins and minerals to your diet. Some of these include:
- Pantothenic acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin E
Along with these vitamins and minerals, pecans are also naturally free of sodium and are a great source of protein. These nutrients help aid a well-balanced diet to keep you energetic, alert, and feeling well.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
Metabolism is the process by which your body turns food into fuel. People most often think of metabolism as how efficiently your body uses the food in your diet. A low metabolism is often associated with a tendency to gain weight from despite a low caloric intake.
Pecans help to speed up your metabolism, which makes your body better at working through the calories and leading to a higher potential for weight loss.
Healthy weight loss will also require smart meal choices and exercise, but metabolism can give you the extra edge to see the results you want.
6. Reduce Inflammation
Magnesium is a great, natural way to reduce inflammation in the body. And pecans are a great source of magnesium.
Inflammation can actually a good thing. It’s when your white blood cells fight off bacteria, viruses, or anything else potentially damaging to your body. However, the problem is that these processes can be set off when they don’t need to be.
Arthritis is a common example of inflammation. More serious instances of inflammation include cancer, diabetes, asthma, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Pecans’ anti-inflammatory benefits can help reduce the risk of these conditions.
7. Better Digestion
One ounce of pecans provides about 10% of your daily recommended amount of fiber. This makes it a great source of natural fiber which aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
A diet with the proper amount of fiber can help a person to control their blood sugar levels, maintain bowel health, and normalize bowel movements. And while it might be uncomfortable to discuss proper digestion, it’s even more uncomfortable to experience problems with your digestive system. So grab some pecans and get your recommended amount of fiber!
8. Can Help Lower Risk of Breast Cancer
Ellagic acid is a micronutrient that is found in fruits and vegetables, including pecans. It helps to remove toxins from your body and protects against free radicals. Ellagic acid also protects against carcinogens that can blossom into breast cancer.
Oleic acid is also found in pecans. This fatty acid has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer.