Come the holiday season and pecan pies are a rage. The pecan nuts with their contoured structure, crunchy texture and buttery flavour make for an interesting ingredient to include in a number of dishes, and they look pretty on the plate too.
Pecans are rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamin, and zinc, plus 10% of your daily fibre. Diets high in these items tend to help prevent illnesses like cancer and heart disease
Native to America, these pricey nuts are related to the walnut and grow enclosed in a brownish-red oval shell, they are probably one of the most sought after nuts and can be tossed in just about anything.
You can stuff them in peppers with goat cheese or toss them in a salad for some crunch. Pecans pair beautifully with caramel too. Below are 9 health benefits of eating pecans:
1. Heart healthy
Pecan nuts contain monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to a study, adding a handful of pecan nuts in your diet helps decrease LDL i.e. ‘bad cholesterol’ and increase HDL i.e. ‘good cholesterol’, which in turn prevent stroke and coronary artery disease.
2. Improves digestion
Since pecan nuts are fiber-packed, they promote colon health and facilitate regular bowel movements. Pecan nuts prevent constipation and reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and colitis by cleaning out the gastrointestinal system.
3. Helps with weight loss
Consuming nuts enhances satiety and increases metabolism, research has indicated that a diet comprising pecan nuts helps in losing weight. The nuts are also very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates which together help increase the rate of metabolism.
4. Reduces the risk of certain cancer
Pecan nuts protect the human body from cancer due to the anti-proliferative properties of ellagic acid which inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They contain oleic acid, a fatty acid which has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Pecan nuts also reduce the risk of colon cancer since they help clean the gastrointestinal system.
5. Anti-inflammatory benefits
Pecans are rich in magnesium which is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Studies have proved that increased magnesium intake reduces inflammatory indicators in the body, and also reduces inflammation in the arterial walls, thus reducing the risk of arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and other inflammatory ailments.
6. Boosts immunity
Adequate intake of manganese is vital for nerve conduction and brain function, and pecans are a rich source of manganese which is a powerful antioxidant. This trace mineral protects your nerve cells from free-radical damage, thus boosting immunity and protecting the body from diseases, infections, etc.
7. Prevents skin problems
The toxins inside your body cause breakouts, dullness and excess oil. Pecans are packed with fiber and aid in eliminating these toxins and waste from the body, thereby improving the appearance of your skin. Pecan nuts also contain vitamin A and zinc which help achieve a clear complexion and protect against skin infections.
8. Anti-aging benefits
Pecan nuts contain numerous antioxidants including ellagic acid, vitamin A and vitamin E which fight and eliminate the free radicals responsible for causing premature skin aging. Thus, pecans can prevent the occurrence of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation.
9. Prevents hair loss
Lack of iron in the body leads to anemia which is one of the common causes of hair loss. But pecans are a good source of iron and hence, combat hair loss.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé