Known as one of the most popular tree nuts around, pecans come from a large deciduous tree native to North America and Mexico. The nut can be found in hundreds of different varieties, and can be enjoyed fresh, roasted, or added in various recipes . Best of all, the health benefits of pecans can be experienced all year round.
Nutritional Content of Pecans
Composed predominantly of fat – with a fat content of 70+ percent – pecans contain more fat than just about any other nut. But don’t let fat content fool you; these large, buttery flavored nuts are rich in numerous vitamins and minerals known for promoting various aspects of health. Below I have outlined some of the most prominent nutrients found in pecans. The figures are based on a 1 ounce serving (28 grams) of pecans.
- Fiber – 2.7 grams. 11% RDA.
- Manganese – 1.3 milligrams. 64% RDA.
- Copper – 0.3 milligrams. 17% RDA.
- Thiamin – 0.2 milligrams. 12% RDA.
- Magnesium – 34.2 milligrams. 9% RDA.
- Phosphorus – 78.2 milligrams. 8% RDA.
- Iron – 0.7 milligrams. 4% RDA.
- Protein – 2.6 grams. 5% RDA.
- Fatty Acids, Total Polyunsaturated – 6.128 grams.
- Carotene-ß – 29 µg.
- Crypto-xanthin-ß – 9 µg.
- Lutein-zeaxanthin – 17 µg.
According to NutritionData.Self, pecans contain 279 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 5828 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids (per 1 ounce). Check out the USDA Nutrient Database for a complete nutritional profile of pecans.
The Known Health Benefits of Pecans – What Pecans Have to Offer
Like many nuts, pecans have some awesome health benefits to offer. Here are over 7 health benefits of pecans.
- 1. Promoting Digestive Health, Relieving Constipation – Fiber is essential for promoting colon health and paving way for regular bowel movements. The fiber found in pecans help to clean out the gastrointestinal system, allowing the colon to work at greater levels of efficiency. Some other benefits relating to fiber and colon health are reduced risks of colitis, colon cancer, and hemorrhoids.
- 2. Boosting Heart Health – Fiber is also known to boost heart health. Pecans also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats like oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants. Both of these substances help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. Additionally, one study (of many studies coming to similar conclusions) published in a 2006 issue of Nutrition Research found that pecans may help prevent coronary heart disease by inhibiting unwanted oxidation of blood lipids.
- 3. Promoting Bone and Teeth Health, Preventing Muscle Soreness, and More – After calcium phosphorus is the most abundant minerals in the body, with 85% of it being found in bones and teeth. The other 15% can be found in both cells and tissues. In addition to helping the body to cleanse waste, the mineral partners up with calcium to promote the health of your bones and teeth. Additionally, the mineral is essential for the growth and repair of cells and tissues along with the production of DNA and RNA. Lastly, phosphorus helps prevent muscle pain following exercise.
- 4. Anti-Inflammatory – Pecans are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. One study found that ”inflammatory indicators in the body such as CRP (C-reactive protein), TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha), and IL6 (interleukin 6) were all reduced when magnesium intake was increased.” Further, inflammation in the arterial walls was also reduced with magnesium intake. Based the findings of this study, magnesium can effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-related health ailments.
- 5. Reduced Blood Pressure – Magnesium has also been shown to help lower blood pressure. Again, pecans are rich in magnesium.
- 6. Reduced Stroke Risk – After evaluating 7 studies published over a 14 year time period, researchers found stroke risk was reduced by 9% for every every 100 milligrams of magnesium a person consumes per day. The research can be found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
- 7. Breast Cancer Risk – Like olive oil, pecans contain oleic acid, a fatty acid with some promising benefits. One of oleic acid’s prime benefits revolves around the reduced risk of breast cancer, where the substance has been shown to induce migration and proliferation in breast cancer cells, and promote an increase in breast cancer cell invasiveness.
Related Read: Over 12 Health Benefits of Sesame Seeds
In one study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition, researchers came to conclusions similar to that of past studies, finding that pecans can contribute to heart health and overall disease prevention thanks to high antioxidant levels. ”
“Our tests show that eating pecans increases the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body,” says LLU researcher Ella Haddad, DrPH, associate professor in the School of Public Health department of nutrition. “This protective effect is important in helping to prevent development of various diseases such as cancer and heart disease.”
A Summary of Pecans Health Benefits: Pecans are Great for:
- Reducing blood pressure
- Reducing stroke risk
- Promoting bone health
- Promoting teeth health
- Preventing muscle soreness following exercise
- Helping the body to rid waste in the kidneys
- Reducing inflammation
- Helping cells and tissues to grow and repair
- Boosting heart health, reducing heart disease risk
- Promoting digestive health
- Building muscle, aiding in muscle recovery
- Preventing breast cancer
- Reducing cancer risk
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Weight Loss
- Promoting healthy vision
Don’t forget to tell your friends and family about all of the health benefits of pecans!
University of Maryland Medical Center