Pecans are gourmet nuts with a delicious buttery taste and not just in a pecan pie. Also, pecans have an abundance of health benefits making them a great powerfood  addition to our meals and even our snacks!

‘Pecan’ means ‘a nut requiring a stone to crack’ it in Algonquian.  They are technically a fruit with a single stone or pit, surrounded by a husk, not really a nut.

6 Health Benefits of the Pecan

The research since 2000 clearly indicates that the pecan are a healthy addition to your diet as well as being tasty.

Lowers Cholesterol

study at the Loma Linda University found that eating a diet supplemented with pecans, gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and bad cholesterol in the blood decreased by 33 percent.  “This study is another piece of evidence that pecans are a healthy food,” says researcher Dr. Haddad.

To hear more about what researcher Dr. Haddad has to say watch this video:

Helps  Keep the Heart Healthy

Pecans are rich in one form of vitamin E; gamma tocopherol which is helpful in preventing coronary heart disease.

High in Antioxidants

Foods that have a high antioxidant capacity can decrease the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, and neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s.  Also, pecans contain the highest antioxidant capacity compared to all nuts according to the largest USDA study of food antioxidants.

Protects Your Nervous System

Adding pecans to your diet are helpful in protecting the nervous system and may delay the progression of age-related motor neuron degeneration such as diseases like ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. This is according to research at the Center for Cellular Neurobiology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Do they Create Weight Gain?

Also, a study found that eating nuts did not increase weight, so a few pecans a day and can be eaten without gaining weight.

Pecans are Nutrient Dense

  • They contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, protein and zinc.
  • Also, they are a good source of protein containing very few carbohydrates and are sodium-free.
  • Approximately 20 halves contain 196 calories so you can eat 10 halves for less than 100 calories.

Above from: Nutrition Data

Pecan History

Fossil pecan remains show that the pecan tree was prehistoric.

Native Americans cultivated the wild pecan in the 1500’s.

They are native to the Mississippi valley.  The world’s largest pecan nursery is located in Lumberton, Mississippi.

pecans

Young pecans

Fun Pecan Facts

  • A pecan pie contains about 78 pecans!
  • 80% of the world’s pecans are grown in the U.S.
  • There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named for Native American Indian tribes (Cheyenne, Mohawk, Sioux, Choctaw and Shawnee).
  • Texas adopted the pecan tree as its state tree in 1919.
  • The pecan comes in many sizes: mammoth, extra-large, large, medium, small and midget.
  • Before a pecan can be sold, first it is cleaned, sterilized, cracked and finally, shelled.
  • Texas has over 70 million wild pecan trees; the pecan tree was officially designated the Texas state tree in 1919.
  • The shell of a pecan is a great mulch for gardens.

Cherry pecan dark chocolate bar

Pecan Recipes

Baked Sweet Potatoes

Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Bar

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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