If you’re anything like me, you know pecans are absolutely delicious. They go great with a sundae, and anyone would be crazy to say pecan turtles aren’t a favorite sweet indulgence. Not to mention, pecan pie is one of the best pies in the world, and there’s little anyone could do to convince me otherwise.
Plus, you can put pecans on just about anything. Boring salad: Add pecans. Bland chicken: Garnish with pecans. Caramel and cheese popcorn: Throw in some pecans for texture.
In short, the only thing those of us without a nut allergy have to debate regarding pecans is the pronunciation (Con? Can? Who can say?). But did you know their tasty nature isn’t the only reason to eat pecans by the handful?
Sure, it’s no secret that consuming nuts is a much better option for a snack than cookies or chips, but what’s so special about pecans? The answer: They’re good for everything from your heart to your waistline. Here’s how:
Pecans and Your Ticker
There’s nothing better than eating heart-healthy foods that are also delicious, and pecans are the way to go. To start, these nuts receive a glowing endorsement from the American Heart Association. Now, I’m a sucker for fancy recommendations, but you probably want to know a little more about pecans and heart health.
One key benefit of these nuts is they are high in monounsaturated fats. These fats work well for cutting down bad cholesterol without affecting good cholesterol levels. Simply put, munching on a handful of pecans while watching your favorite movie on a Friday night can help with fighting your risk of coronary heart disease.
“Pecans can help fight your risk of coronary heart disease.”
Go Nuts for Lower Cancer Risk
No explanation of the health benefits of pecans would be complete without an obvious pun, but these nuts’ ability to aid in cancer prevention is no joke. Researchers are still digging into how far the cancer-fighting features of pecans can go, but what is known is the same chemicals that help with lowering bad cholesterol are shown to reduce cancer risk, according to the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry.
In particular, pecans have earned brownie points (see what I did there?) for aiding in the prevention of colorectal and breast cancer. Plus, the effects are even more prevalent among women, as shown by research in the journal Nutrients.
Don’t Worry About Snacking Guilty
We’ve all had those moments when we tell ourselves we’re going to eat only a few chips, one or two cookies, or just a scoop of ice cream. Before we know it, we’re shaking the final few chip crumbs from the bag and directly into our mouths, we’ve eaten several cookies, and the tub of ice cream is no more. If the stomach ache doesn’t clue us in, fitness trackers and weight management apps are sure to let us know exactly how unwise that was.
What if I told you it’s possible to have a fulfilling snack with no guilt? That’s where pecans come in. To start, these nuts are packed with 19 vitamins and minerals. Next, they have the most antioxidants of any tree nut.
Here’s the best part: with a just a handful of pecans, you can get 2.6 grams of protein, 2.7 grams of dietary fibers, and plenty of healthy fats, according to the National Pecan Shellers Association. Just be sure to break out your digital kitchen scale to ensure you get your 1-ounce serving.
Help Yourself to Tasty Fiber
Few people like to discuss their fiber intake. It’s not the most glamorous subject, and few delicious foods come to mind when we think “high in fiber”. For the most part, our brains immediately go to a box of bran flakes cereal.
Luckily, nuts are here to save us all from the humdrum ways of meeting our daily recommended values for fiber. A single serving of pecans offers 10 percent of the suggested amount of fiber we should consume each day. When you factor that benefit in, struggling through a bran muffin each morning just doesn’t seem like the best option anymore.
“Pecans have only about 4 grams of carbs per serving.”
Cut Down on Your Carbs
By now, you should love pecans as much as Texas Gov. James Hogg. Not only did he make the pecan tree the state’s official tree in 1919, but he also requested that his children plant one of these trees at his grave after he died.
OK, maybe Hogg’s level of devotion is a bit much for you and me, but you’ll be halfway there when you read this final health benefit of pecans: these nuts are low in carbs. To be precise, you’re looking at only about 4 grams of carbs per serving. If you’re like me and love to fill up on bread when dining out, indulging with a few pecans is a good way to balance out a love of breadsticks and pasta.
So Seriously, Go Nuts
Show me someone who read all of these interesting facts and still doesn’t worship pecans, and I’ll show you a liar. There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy obsession, especially when that undying loyalty helps your heart and goes well with brownies.