Similar looking Kernel to a walnut, but a different sweet taste
The savory taste of the pecan is worth a lot more than a delicious pie from grandma — this nut may help you stay healthy for a long time thanks to the wonders of pecan nutrition.
Pecan trees grow fiercely large and provide many of these scrumptious treats that have been shown to aid in weight loss, protect the body from diseases like atherosclerosis (hardening and narrowing of the arteries) and diabetes, and even improve brain health.
Although many people claim that a low-fat diet is the best way to live a healthy lifestyle, the healthy fats of pecan nutrition are powerful in the production of antioxidants, reduction of inflammation and simply provide a great-tasting addition to almost any dish.
1. Helps Maintain High Energy and Lose Weight
Contrary to what many popular figures may tell you, eating a diet low in dietary fat is actually not very beneficial to you at all. One reason for this is the way a diet high in fat helps keep you feeling full, but the complex answer is even more encouraging. For example, healthy fats (like those found in pecan nutrition) impact the grehlin hormone, which is a vital part of weight maintenance. High levels of grehlin in the brain are associated with elevated stress levels and a constant feeling of the “munchies,” or the desire to eat a lot. (1)
In addition to its standing as a food high in healthy fats, pecan nutrition contains more than half the daily required amount of manganese, which is useful in a variety of ways, including in weight loss efforts while it’s not completely clear why, manganese, especially combined with other supportive nutrients, helps reduce the weight in obese or overweight men and women.
One such supportive nutrient is copper, also found in significant quantities in pecan nutrition. Copper is essential in more than 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions necessary for maintaining a fast metabolism, and in the creation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s source of energy.
Copper isn’t the only necessary 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 boost energy levels in ATP production, but also in the process of red blood cell production, which your body uses as energy fuel, too.
2. Prevents Oxidative Stress
Pecans, like many other foods rich in healthy fats, boast a very high antioxidant load. Because so many environmental and dietary issues promote oxidative damage within your body, it’s important to eat high antioxidant foods to counteract this damage. Damage due to oxidative stress is commonly paired with high incidence rates of cancers, heart disease and many other diseases in which cells mutate.
A study out of Loma Linda University in California found that eating pecans acutely increased the antioxidants in the bloodstream in the 24 hours after consumption. (2) These effects tend to build on one another, just like the opposite is true of free radicals building in the body, so pecans can be a helpful addition to a diet high in antioxidants.
Another study examined the effect of nut consumption, including that of pecans, and how it related to the formation of degenerative diseases. People who ate more nuts per week had notably lower instances of some common and often fatal diseases. (3)
In an assessment of the specific antioxidant loads of different nuts, pecan nutrition came in especially high in phenols, proanthocyanidins, hydrolysable tannins, flavonoids and phenolic acids. (4)
3. Contributes to a Healthy Heart
Due in large part to its plentiful list of antioxidants, pecan nutrition is a key ingredient in a diet for a healthy heart.
Pecans and other tree nuts have been known to reduce systolic blood pressure in patients without diabetes. They can be considered part of the high-fat Mediterranean diet that has long been known to significantly reduce blood pressure across the board, as well as decrease overall cardiac-related deaths. (5)
Another Loma Linda University study found that diets high in pecans were related to a reduction in “serum lipids,” or the amount of fat in the bloodstream. This is an indicator of risk and occurrence of high cholesterol. The scientists conducting this study specifically recommend a diet high in monounsaturated fat for those who are at risk for high cholesterol and other heart-related conditions. (6) This is why nuts like pecans are considered cholesterol lowering foods.
consistent nut consumption reduces many degenerative diseases, most specifically heart disease. In addition, the thiamine in pecans helps to improve heart function. (7)
4. Reduces Inflammation
Many functions in the body rely on a proper amount of inflammation as the body’s defense against damaged cells. However, chronic Inflammation, when the body is no longer able to keep it under control, is at the root of most diseases as it leads to cell mutation and undue stress on various parts of functional systems.
While inflammation, reducing inflammation, the role of antioxidants and the processes that affect these conditions are extremely complicated, there are many parts of the puzzle that we can affect in small ways. For example, it’s understood that superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that controls the distribution of the superoxide radical, has a large part to play in inflammation and protection from oxidative stress. Superoxide dismutase production and function are important for a lowered risk of heart disease, as well as helping reduce inflammation in conditions like arthritis.
One of the forms of superoxide dismutase, or “SOD,” relies greatly on the high presence of manganese to operate, meaning pecans can help fulfill the manganese requirement necessary for this form of SOD.
The copper in pecans also contributes to its anti-inflammatory properties, especially for pain and stiffness common in arthritis. This is why pecan nutrition and other nutrients from anti-inflamatory foods make great additions to an arthritis diet treatment plan.
5. May Prevent Osteoporosis-Related Bone Loss in Women
In conjunction with other nutrients, manganese, copper and zinc (all found in pecan nutrition) have been used to help treat symptoms of osteoporosis.. Early research has found these nutrients to be particularly helpful when treating women suffering bone loss by helping increase bone mass and decrease bone loss. (8)
6. Helps Improve and Maintain Peak Brain Function
Many of the minerals found in pecans contribute to the proper functioning of the brain. Thiamine is given to patients with Wernicke-Korosakoff syndrome, a brain disorder common in alcoholics due to Thiamine deficiency, which afflicts between 30 percent and 80 percent of people who abuse alcohol. (9)
Copper is another nutrient necessary for good brain function, as it impacts brain pathways involving dopamine and galactose. It also helps stop free radical damage from occurring in the brain that contributes to degenerative damage and diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The brain’s synaptic processes also depend on manganese, which is crucial for quick reactions and brain signaling. Deficiencies in manganese are closely related to mood problems, trouble focusing, learning disabilities, mental illness and possibly epilepsy. (10) Given all these compounds are provided by pecan nutrition, it’s no surprise pecans and other nuts are considered brain foods