If you’re looking for a delicious and nutritious snack, look no further than pecans. This nut is not only full of flavor, but it also offers a host of health benefits. Here are 3 reasons to incorporate pecans into your diet.
Pecans contain heart-healthy nutrients.
The nutrients in pecans help reduce the risk of heart disease. Pecans are rich in:
- Vitamin E : 30g provides 10% of the recommended daily value. This allows vitamin E to perform its function of protecting against damage, including heart disease.
- Zinc: This nutrient helps relax blood vessels and prevent hardening of the arteries.
- Magnesium: This trace mineral is essential for good heart health. Pecans contain 121 mg per 100 g, a significant amount that helps in the prevention of blood pressure and the regulation of heart rhythm.
- Ellagic acid: A polyphenol responsible for reducing the deposition of plaques in the arteries, which helps prevent chronic diseases, including those of the heart.
- Gamma tocopherol: It is a form of vitamin E which, according to a scientific study, has been shown to play a major role in reducing the death rate from heart attack by up to 50% in subjects of different ages.
A recent study supports the role of each nutrient in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
One study looked at three groups of adults between the ages of 30 and 75 who were at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The researchers determined a daily serving of 68 g of pecans for the first group. While the second group maintained their usual diet by replacing the 68 g of pecans, equivalent to 470 calories, with the same amount of calories from their diet. As for the last control group, it made no change in its diet.
After two months of testing, the result indicated similar improvements for the first two groups across fasting blood lipids. In addition, the first group marked a drop in triglycerides after meals. These results suggest that eating pecans may actually be beneficial in fighting cardiovascular disease.
Pecans may help improve cholesterol levels.
A study showed that eating about 1/2 cup of pecans daily for four weeks reduced LDL (bad cholesterol) levels by 7% and increased HDL (good cholesterol) levels by 16% in people with high cholesterol. This result led to the conclusion that it is thanks to the monounsaturated fats present in force in pecans that people suffering from hypercholesterolemia can finally succeed in managing their cholesterol levels.
Another study uncovers the true function of gamma tocopherols in lowering plasma cholesterol. The researchers followed 25 cases having been administered gamma tocopherols and observed a significant drop of up to 15% in bad LDL cholesterol. This explains why this vitamin E compound inhibits an enzyme involved in the production of cholesterol in the liver. Hence the result remains very promising.
Pecans may help lower blood sugar levels.
In a study conducted at Tufts University in Boston, people with type 2 diabetes who ate 30g of pecans daily for eight weeks had better blood sugar control than those who did not eat the nuts.
Researchers have found that eating a handful of pecans a day can help reduce fasting blood sugar by 20%. Additionally, pecans may also help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
This comes down to the fact that pecans are high in fiber. A handful could cover up to 11% of the recommended daily fiber allowance. This delays the absorption of glucose, which may explain the drop in blood sugar peaks.