Pecans are considered to be the only nut tree that grows naturally in North America and is also considered to be the most valuable nut species in the same region. Pecan is a native American word given to all the nuts that are generally thought to crack with help of a stone (or tools producing similar force). While pecans were readily available in America and Mexico, many native tribes used pecans as their major source of food during the autumn season.
Pecans are sold in markets in a variety of sizes (extra large, large, medium, and small) and in different forms (classified mainly as wholes, halves, pieces, granules and in some cases as a meal item).
Researchers and doctors have made a number of suggestions to add pecans to our daily diet plans and claim that these have an important role in protecting the nervous system from many health conditions. Eating these nuts each day may delay the degeneration of motor neurons related to the aging process.
Pecans are considered to be among the top category of foods as well as are ranked high among nuts due to great capacity of antioxidants. Naturally occurring antioxidant found in these nuts, especially vitamin E, may play a key role in the protection of the neurological system. Antioxidants are counted as important nutrients in food and especially in nuts as this help providing protection from cell damage, help fight cancer and may prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer.
Pecans have fats which are approximately 60 percent monounsaturated and about 30 percent polyunsaturated, meaning that saturated fats are present only in a very little amount. The unsaturated fat in these nuts is healthy for our heart and is treated as a fat produced from healthy sources (mainly fish, nuts, and vegetable oils).
Pecans are also very helpful to maintain lower and healthy cholesterol levels in our body. Research works performed on individuals with high level of cholesterol, where they were provided a pecan-enriched diet, showed that eating such enriched diet controlled and lowered the total cholesterol in the body significantly and without any weight gain. Research also established that these nuts contain plant sterols which are famous for lowering cholesterol levels in our body. Scientific and medical evidence suggests that eating a balanced quantity of most nuts like pecans as a diet in combination with low saturated fats and low cholesterol may prove to be very useful in reducing the risks of heart attacks and similar diseases.
Pecans nuts may also help in achieving weight loss and maintaining the results for long-term as nuts consumption may boost our metabolism rates. Typically a serving as small as of one ounce of these nuts contains approximately 196 calories, just above 20 grams of total fat, almost about 3 grams dietary fiber (which is roughly 10% of GDA recommendations) and a number of mineral and vitamins (over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, potassium and zinc) while having no amount of cholesterol and sodium at all. These are also proved to be a rich and healthy source of oleic acid, vitamin B1, thiamin, magnesium, and protein likes most of the other nuts.
These nuts are also a natural, good quality source of protein containing very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. These are also a great choice of food for people on salt and sodium-restricted diet. Those who are on a vegetarian diet will find out that these nuts are providing them a good alternative method to consume proteins. Moreover, research studies also suggest that these nuts can also help in preventing breast cancer, a very common form of cancer in women.
Amna Sheikh is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelors in Economics and Statistics. She is also a medical writer working as a freelancer for 10+ years and she is specialized in medical, health, and pharmaceutical writing, regulatory writing & clinical research. All her work is supported by a strong academic and professional experience.