What Are Pecans?
Pecans are highly nutritious nuts from a big deciduous tree that belongs to the hickory family. Pecans are sugary and highly flavored, owing to their monounsaturated oils. Uncooked pecans make a delicious snack, while pecan nut butter goes well with bread. What exactly are the health benefits of consuming pecans? Let`s see!
14 Health Benefits of Consuming Pecans
Pecans contain copper which is essential for fast metabolism and formation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is a source of energy. Copper is required in over 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions. Regular consumption of pecans improves metabolism.
Nut consumption generally boosts immunity and reduces the occurrence of illnesses. Pecans, like other nuts, possess this characteristic. Regular consumption of pecans wards off illnesses and boosts the body`s immunity to combat them.
Improves Antioxidant Levels
Pecans are one of the high-fat nuts that are highly nutritious. They contain healthy fats which produce antioxidants, reduce irritation, add great flavor to meals, among other benefits.
Enhances Weight Loss
Treats Heart Disease
The fiber content in pecans also boost heart health and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Pecans also contain monounsaturated fats such as phenolic antioxidants and oleic acid that prevent heart disease and stroke. They particularly ward off unwanted oxidation of blood lipids.
Pecans contain loads of minerals that enhance brain functions. Its manganese content particularly enhances the brain`s synaptic processes, hence aids signaling and responses. It also solves concentration issues, learning, and a number of other brain-associated matters. Pecans particularly improve mood.
Improves Hair Growth
Pecans contain L-arginine, an amino acid which enhances hair growth and treats male pattern baldness. L-arginine improves the health of the artery walls by making them more flexible, hence reduces the risk of blood clots that obstruct the flow of blood. This makes blood flow better to the hair roots, and improves the health of the scalp and hair.
Pecans also contain iron, which reduces the risk of anemia, which is characteristic of hair loss.
Pecans contain fiber that improves colon health and bowel movements. It cleans out the gastrointestinal system, hence enables it to function better. It relieves constipation and reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, colon cancer, and colitis. In essence, pecans improve the health of your guts.
Improves Skin Health
Pecans are rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, zinc, folate, and phosphorus, all of which are essential in improving skin health. Pecans also contain fiber, which aids the removal of toxins and waste from the body, thereby giving the skin a more attractive look. What`s more? Its antioxidant content fights free radicals that cause early aging. Consuming pecans regularly helps you eliminate creases, fine lines, pigmentation, and some other skin challenges.
Boosts Energy Levels
Pecans contain thiamine which boosts energy levels during the formation of ATP. Thiamine also enhances the formation of red blood cells that transport oxygen, and perform a number of other functions.
Lowers Oxidative Stress
Pecans are rich in antioxidants which lower oxidative damage, and in the long run, keep the heart healthy and avert other illnesses.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Pecans contain phytochemical substances such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, polyphenolic antioxidant, and ellagic acid, all of which are essential in eliminating toxic oxygen-free radicals. They shield the body from diseases, cancer, and infections. Ellagic acid has anti-proliferative properties which hinder DNA binding of polycyclic hydrocarbons, nitrosamines, and some other carcinogens, all in a bid to prevent cancer.
Reduces Blood Pressure
Pecans contain magnesium, a mineral required for lowering blood pressure. Although pecans don`t cure hypertension, it is rare for people who consume pecans regularly to have high blood pressure.
Improves Bone and Teeth Health
Pecans are rich in phosphorus and calcium which are vital for healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus particularly enhances the growth and repair of cells and tissues. It also prevents muscle pain. Regular consumption of pecans leaves your bones and teeth fortified.
How to Toast Pecans
There are a number of ways you can choose to consume pecans. One of them is by toasting them before eating. Some persons prefer toasting pecans before adding them to their dish because it has a rich flavor. Here`s how to toast pecans:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., and spritz baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Put pecans on a baking sheet, and toast them until they begin to emit some aroma.
- This shouldn`t take more than five minutes.
- You need to be careful as you toast pecans because they get scorched easily.
Pecans and Walnuts — Any Difference?
It is common to find people mistake pecans for walnuts, and vice versa because they look similar. Pecans and walnuts, however, have some differences in their appearance and taste; let`s see the differences between them.
- Walnuts are a bit larger than pecans.
- Walnuts also have a lighter color than pecans.
- Pecans and walnuts have different flavors: walnuts have a slightly bitter taste.
Tips for Buying and Storing Pecans
Here are some tips to help you make the best choice of pecans in the market, and also to help you store them properly for healthy and prolonged use.
- Pecans are harvested during the autumn months and are available all through the year.
- Always purchase pecans that are in smooth, undamaged shells.
- Shelled pecans should be uniform in color, plump, and never dry.
- You can store shelled pecans at room temperature for only two months in an air-tight container to avoid moisture and pests.
- You may store unshelled pecans in a cool and dry place. They can last 12 months.
- Unshelled pecans are best stored in an airtight container, and placed in a refrigerator or a freezer, where they last longer.
Pecans and Allergies
This is a major side effect of pecans. A number of people suffer nut allergies, and pecans are not exempted from the category of allergy-causing nuts. Common pecan allergies are swelling, hives, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. If you experience an allergy after eating pecans, please stop eating them, and see a doctor.
Some Pecan Facts
- Pecan means “a nut that requires a stone to crack”.
- Native Americans have eaten pecans since 1500.
- Since the 17th century, the French have exported pecans to the West Indies.
- Texans are fond of the pecan tree; in 1919, they named it their state tree.
- Pecans have been a common food in the American culture: it is used in a number of recipes such as salads, desserts, and more.
- Pecan trees can be as tall as 16 feet, with a trunk diameter of 6.6 feet.
- Leaves of the pecan tree have about 9 to 17 finely toothed leaflets.
- Pecan nuts have mottled brown shells with varying thickness.
- July 12 is recognized as National Pecan Pie Day.
Now That You Know…
Pecans are quite nutritious, and even more fascinating is the fact that they are versatile. If you consume them without any allergic reaction, great! Just keep enjoying the many health benefits that provide. Your body will thank you for it.