There are many reasons to be nuts about pecans. Pecans are portable — a great, lightweight snack for when you’re on the go, and you can incorporate them into food. They’re tasty, packed with vitamins and minerals, and they’re low in sugar and have zero sodium.
In short, they make it easier to stick to a healthy diet. Here are some ways you can enjoy pecans and gain a better understanding of what makes them so good for you.
Nutritional Facts About Pecans
Pecans are high in fat, but don’t let this scare you. One serving of pecan halves — that’s 1 ounce or about 19 pecan halves — has 20 grams of fat with 196 calories per serving.
Of those 20 grams, 1.7 grams consist of saturated fat. Yet, 12 grams and 6 grams are composed of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, respectively. These are “good” or “healthy” fats that help your body absorb nutrients, and produce hormones and energy.
Pecans are also a source of plant-based protein and fiber. One serving has 2.6 grams of protein, and 4 grams of carbohydrates. Of those carbs, 3 grams come from fiber.
But that’s not all! One serving of pecans also includes:
- 1.1 grams of sugar
- 0.2 mg of vitamins B1 and B5
- 0.4 mg of vitamin E
- 0.3 mg of copper
- 6.2 mcg of folate
- 0.7 mg of iron
- 34.4 mg of magnesium
- 1.3 mcg of manganese
- 1.3 mg of zinc
Weight Loss and High Energy
When your stomach is empty, the “hunger hormone” ghrelin signals to your brain that it’s time to eat. When you feed that hunger with pecans, you’ll feel full for a longer period of time afterward, because pecans’ fat, fiber and protein content promotes satiety.
Therefore, the more full you feel, the lower your level of ghrelin, which means you’ll be less likely to consume additional calories.
If you’re striving to drop a few pounds, there’s more good news: the copper and manganese in pecans appear to aid weight loss. Manganese may help men lose weight, while copper may help keep your energy high. Copper enables your body to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), its main source of energy, which contributes to a high metabolism.
Pecans are a heart-friendly food. They can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or the “bad” cholesterol, that can build up as plaque on the walls of your arteries and blood vessels.
High levels of LDL, as a result, can put you at greater risk of developing coronary artery disease or suffering a stroke. However, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats — like those found in pecans — may reduce this risk.
In addition, the potassium in pecans (116.2 mg per serving) can also help lower blood pressure by reducing the effects of sodium.
Another fatty acid in pecans is oleic acid, which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. In one study, researchers followed 62,000 postmenopausal women for more than 20 years. Their findings suggest that eating 10 grams of nuts (like pecans) daily reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Pecans also have ellagic acid, which helps detoxify your body and protect it against free radicals and carcinogens.
Tips for Adding Pecans To Your Diet
There are many ways to eat pecans other than pecan pie.
Start your day with cereal or oatmeal sprinkled with chopped pecans, or mix them into pancakes, yogurt or a smoothie. At lunch, add pecan pieces to a salad, and throw them into a side dish that features rice or green beans. Bake them into breads and muffins.
When it’s time for an afternoon snack, a few pecans and an apple give you all your macronutrients to keep you going until dinnertime. Coat fish or chicken breasts in ground pecans and bread crumbs and bake them for dinner to discover a delicious main dish.
The beauty of pecans is you can experiment with them in foods. Just add a nut or two initially, and if you like what you taste, add a few more.
Get Your Own Pecan Tree From a Pecan Nursery
Pecans are small, but mighty. From their buttery flavor and crispy texture, to their versatility, portability, and nutritional benefits, they’re an easy addition to your diet (barring any allergies).
Support your healthy lifestyle by investing in your very own pecan tree! Georgia Pecan Nursery has you covered with more than 14 varieties of affordable premium stock. Visit our shop to pick out a tree, and place an order today!