Monday, January 21, 2013

Article # 228. Pecans Health Benefits

 

Pecans nutrition facts

Pecan is a very large sized; deciduous tree belongs to the member of hickory family, Juglandaceae. The tree is native to central and southern parts of the United States of America. Today, however, it is being cultivated in many regions of the world as an important commercial tree nuts crop. Scientific name: Carya illinoinensis.

Health benefits of Pecans

 

§  Pecan nuts are rich source of energy, provide 690 calories/100 g and contain health benefiting nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for wellness.
§  The nuts are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecan nuts in the diet helps to decrease total as well as LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increases HDL or “good cholesterol” levels in the blood. Research studies suggest that Mediterranean diet, which is rich in dietary-fiber, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants would help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favoring healthy blood lipid profile.
§  Pecan nuts are rich source of many phyto-chemical substances that may contribute to their overall antioxidant activity, including polyphenolic antioxidant ellagic acid, vitamin E, beta-carotene, lutein and zea-xanthin. Research studies have been suggestive of that these compounds help the body remove toxic oxygen-free radicals and thus, protect the body from diseases, cancers, as well as infections.
§  Anti-proliferative properties of ellagic acid are because of its ability to inhibit DNA binding of certain carcinogens such as nitrosamines and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; thus protecting the human body from cancers.
§  Pecans are an excellent source of vitamin-E, especially rich in gamma-tocopherol; provide about 25 g per100 g. Vitamin E is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant, required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane of mucus membranes and skin by protecting it from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
§  The nuts are very rich sources of several important B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates. Together, these vitamins work as co-factors for the enzyme metabolism inside the human body.
§  The nuts are also rich source of minerals like manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
Add hand full of pecan nuts every day in the diet to keep your diet meter complete with sufficient levels of minerals, vitamins and protein.



Culinary use

  • Raw pecans, like walnuts, can be eaten on their own or salted or sweetened.
  • Pecan nuts are buttery in consistency yet pleasantly sweet in taste. High fat content in them makes them wonderful additions to prepare delicious recipes like pecan caramel puddles, pie, fudge, baklava, and muffins.
  • The nuts are often sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes, and bourbon ice creams.
  • They are widely used in confectionery, as an addition to biscuits, sweets, and cakes.
  • The nuts are also used to make pecan nut-butter, which is popular spread over bread, toast, etc.

Heart-Healthy Pecans
Nearly 60 percent of the fats in pecans are monounsaturated and another 30 percent are polyunsaturated, leaving very little saturated fat in pecans. The unsaturated fat in pecans is heart-healthy fat meeting the new Dietary Guidelines that recommend Americans keep intake between 20 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from heart-healthy sources like fish, nuts and vegetable oils. In addition, pecans contain no trans fat.

Nutrient-Dense Pecans

Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. One ounce of pecans provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are also a natural, high-quality source of protein that contain very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol. Pecans are also naturally sodium-free, making them an excellent choice for those on a salt- or sodium-restricted diet.



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