The spicy taste of pecans does not leave anyone indifferent – they either like it very much or are unacceptable, and many people cannot tolerate its taste. However, this nut can help you stay healthy for a long time thanks to the wonderful ingredients in its composition.
The trees on which the pecans grow are very large and strong. They provide their fruits – pecans with many useful properties, including the ability to protect the body from diseases such as atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and diabetes, improving brain health and helping to lose weight.
Despite the claim that a low-fat diet is the best way to pursue a healthy lifestyle, the healthy fats in pecans are very beneficial – they help produce antioxidants in the body, reduce inflammation, and simply provide a great flavoring supplement to almost any meal.
In this article we will consider only reliable facts about how Pecan can really help a person: the benefits and harms of Pecans, nutritional value and calorie content. This will help you decide whether to eat these delicious nuts.
Nutritional Information of Pecans
Pecans grow on lush green trees in the southeastern / southern and central areas of the United States, as well as in Mexico. This North American variety, Carya illinoinensis, has been cultivated for several centuries and, surprisingly, is not technically a nut at all. Pecans, like other nuts in the hickory family, are botanically fruits known as “stone fruits”.
The nutritional value of pecans is impressive – pecans contain 11 essential vitamins and nutrients in one small serving. Pecan is high in fat, but no need to worry – these are healthy fats that help your body in many ways, including maintaining a healthy weight and good heart function.
In addition to good, healthy fats, pecans also have useful minerals in their composition that can cover mineral deficiencies in the body, which is quite common in the modern world. Symptoms of a deficiency in beneficial minerals can range from anemia to the risk of developing brain diseases.
One serving of pecans (about 30 grams) contains:
Calories : 193 kcal
Carbohydrates : 3.9 gr.
Protein : 2.6 gr.
Fat : 20.2 gr.
Fiber : 2.7 gr.
Manganese : 1.3 mg (63% daily)
Copper : 0.3 mg (17%)
Thiamine : 0.2 mg (12%)
Magnesium : 33.9 mg (8%)
Zinc : 1.3 mg (8 %)
Phosphorus : 77.5 mg (8%)
Iron : 0.7 mg (4%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.1 mg (3%)
Potassium : 115 mg (3%)
The benefits of pecans for women and men
We distinguish 8 scientifically proven beneficial properties of pecans for human health.
1. Pecans energize the body and help you lose weight.
As we have already noted, many nutritionists believe that a low-fat diet is very beneficial for losing weight. However, this is not quite true. A person should not completely exclude fats from his diet in order to lose weight. In addition, it is very harmful for women. Since fats directly affect the production of female sex hormones. Therefore, a lack of healthy fats can cause a malfunction in the hormonal system.
Pecans contain only healthy fats, which in moderation will only benefit the body. It is also important to know that healthy fats (such as those found in pecans) affect the production of ghrelin (a hormone of hunger) or lenomerelin, which is a vital part of maintaining weight. A high level of ghrelin in the brain is associated with elevated levels of stress and a constant feeling of desire to eat a lot. Healthy fats help keep this hormone at an optimal level ( 1 ).
In addition to the fact that pecans are a source of healthy fats, they also contain more than half the daily required amount of manganese, which is necessary, including for weight loss. Although scientists still do not quite understand the effect of why manganese, especially in combination with other supporting nutrients, helps to reduce weight in men and women who are obese or overweight.
One of these supporting nutrients is copper, also found in significant quantities in pecans. Copper is needed in more than 50 different metabolic enzymatic reactions necessary to maintain rapid metabolism, as well as in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s energy source.
Copper is not the only essential nutrient for the production of ATP. Your body also needs other nutrients to complete this task, including thiamine, also known as vitamin B1. Thiamine not only helps increase energy levels in ATP production, but also in the red blood cell production process, which your body also uses as energy fuel.
2. Pecans Prevent Oxidative Stress
Pecans, like many other foods rich in healthy fats, have a very high antioxidant load. Since so many problems (ecology and poor nutrition) contribute to oxidative damage to the body, it is important to eat highly antioxidant foods to counteract this harm. Damage caused by oxidative stress is usually combined with high rates of cancer, heart disease, and many other diseases in which cells mutate.
A study at Loma Linda University in California showed that eating pecans dramatically increased antioxidants in the bloodstream 24 hours after consumption ( 2 ). That is, there is a direct proportional dependence on how much you ate antioxidant-rich foods by the amount of antioxidants that fight oxidation in the body. Similarly, the opposite is true – if you do not eat antioxidant products, the number of free radicals in the body increases. Therefore, it can be argued that pecans can be a useful addition to a diet high in antioxidants.
Another study examined the effects of nuts, including pecans, and how it relates to the formation of degenerative diseases. People who ate more nuts a week had noticeably lower cases of some common and often fatal diseases ( 3 ).
When assessing the specific antioxidant loads of different nuts, pecans are particularly distinguished by their phenols, proanthocyanidins, hydrolyzable tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
3. Pecans are good for the heart.
Due in large part to its extensive list of antioxidants, pecans are a key component of a healthy heart diet.
Pecans and other tree nuts are known to reduce systolic blood pressure in patients without diabetes. They are often part of the products of a high-calorie Mediterranean diet, which has long been known for significantly lowering blood pressure throughout the body, as well as reducing mortality from cardiovascular diseases.
Another study by the University of Loma Linda found that diets high in pecans affect the reduction of “serum lipids” or the amount of fat in the bloodstream. This is an indicator of the risk and occurrence of high cholesterol. Scientists conducting this study specifically recommend a high monounsaturated fat diet for those at risk for high cholesterol and other cardiovascular diseases ( 4 ). This is why nuts such as pecans are considered cholesterol lowering foods.
As mentioned above, the constant use of nuts reduces the likelihood of many degenerative diseases, especially heart diseases. In addition, thiamine in pecans helps improve heart function.
4. Pecans have anti-inflammatory effects
Many functions in the body rely on a well-functioning process of inflammation, as it protects the body from cells damaged by the virus or bacteria. However, chronic inflammation, when the body can no longer keep it under control, is at the heart of most diseases, as it leads to cell mutations and excessive stress at various levels of the body’s functional systems.
While the inflammatory process itself and the role of antioxidants in reducing inflammation are still not fully understood, there are certain facts that are proven and verified. For example, it is known that superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that controls the distribution of superoxide radical, plays a large role in inflammation and defense from oxidative stress. The production and function of superoxide dismutase are important to reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as to reduce inflammation in conditions such as arthritis.
One form of superoxide dismutase, or “SOD,” is heavily dependent on the high presence of manganese, which means that pecans can help fulfill the manganese requirement required for this form of SOD.
Pecan copper also contributes to its anti-inflammatory properties, especially for pains characteristic of arthritis. That’s why eating pecans and other nutrients from anti-inflammatory foods is a great addition to the arthritis treatment program.
5. Pecan can prevent bone loss due to osteoporosis in women
The benefits of pecans for the prevention of osteoporosis are due to their content of manganese, copper and zinc. Studies have shown that these nutrients are especially useful in treating women suffering from bone loss, helping to increase bone mass and reduce bone loss ( 5 ).
6. Pecans are good for keeping your mind sharp.
Many minerals found in pecans contribute to the proper functioning of the brain. Thiamine is transmitted to patients with Wernicke-Korsakov syndrome, a brain disorder in alcoholics due to thiamine deficiency, which affects 30% to 80% of people who abuse alcohol ( 6 ).
Copper is another nutrient necessary for good brain function, as it affects brain sources associated with the production of dopamine and galactose. It also helps minimize the damage caused by free radicals in the brain that can cause degenerative damage and cause diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The synaptic processes of the brain also depend on manganese, which is crucial for quick reactions and brain signaling. Manganese deficiency is closely associated with problems of unstable mood, mental disorders, mental illness and, possibly, epilepsy. Given that all of these compounds are provided by pecans, it is not surprising that pecans and other nuts are considered brain products.
7. Pecans are beneficial for women by reducing PMS symptoms.
Having manganese is another benefit of eating pecans if you want to reduce PMS symptoms such as mood swings and cramps. Studies show that manganese, consumed with calcium, has a significant effect on these PMS symptoms ( 7 ).
8. Pecans help treat diabetes
Although research in this area is minimal at the moment, there is some evidence that supplementing your diet with manganese-rich foods, such as pecans, can help treat diabetes symptoms. Higher manganese levels are associated with better insulin secretion and increased glucose tolerance.
Potential hazards of pecans, risks and side effects
As with many varieties of nuts, there is a risk of pecan allergies. The most common symptoms occur during the first hour after eating pecans and can range from redness and swelling to vomiting and loss of consciousness.
If you suspect that you or your child may be allergic to pecans, it is important that you be tested by an allergist before trying them. At any time when you think you may have an allergic reaction to pecans, you should immediately stop eating them and consult your doctor.
All nuts contain antinutrient phytic acid. It interferes with the absorption of important minerals into the blood, especially calcium, zinc and iron. Therefore, before eating nuts must be soaked in water .
So, we examined the issue of the benefits and harms of pecans for women and men. To summarize:
- Pecans have 11 vital nutrients that are useful for many body processes.
- Although pecans are high in fat, they are part of a healthy diet high in healthy fats and high in antioxidants.
- The beneficial properties of pecans are manifested mainly in reducing the risk of heart disease, increasing energy and vitality, improving brain function, as well as many other amazing benefits described in this article.
- Some of the nutrients found in large quantities in pecans are manganese, copper, and zinc, which play an important role in reducing inflammation, maintaining brain health, and even alleviating PMS symptoms.
- If you are not allergic to nuts, then pecans will bring many benefits to your health. If you have or have observed manifestations of allergic reactions, before eating pecans, conduct an allergy test so as not to harm the body.