7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Pecans You May Not Have Known
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The crunchy texture and buttery flavour of pecan nuts make them an exciting ingredient to include in a variety of dishes, and they also look pretty on the plate. These expensive nuts are native to America and grow enclosed in a brownish-red oval shell. Whether you call them “pee-can” or “peh-kahn,” they are one of the most popular nuts and can be used in almost anything. Stuff them into peppers with goat cheese or toss them in a salad for the added crunch, they are extremely versatile. Pecans go well with caramel, so sprinkle a handful on top of a caramel cheesecake for a flavour-packed bite every time. Add a splash of bourbon and candied pecans to ice cream in the summer. You can add a crumbly pecan topping to a coffee cake or a batch of double chocolate chip cookies the next time you bake one.

On top of their various uses, pecans are extremely healthy and can aid your body in many ways. Here are the health benefits.

1. Boosts Immunity

Pecans contain phytonutrients, which are plant-based compounds with powerful antioxidant properties. They're also high in zinc, which is necessary for immune-cell development and function. Zinc-rich diets have been linked to a lower risk of many diseases, particularly those associated with age and lifestyle. Furthermore, eating foods high in ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in pecans, has been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers.

2. Important For Heart Health

Pecans are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that has been linked to lower total cholesterol levels. Another advantage of these tasty tree nuts is that they are high in beta carotene and vitamin E, which protect cells from damage by reducing the effects of chronic inflammation.

3. Aids Brain Health

It may not come as a surprise to you that nuts are among the most nutritious foods, but consider this: Vitamin E-rich diets have been linked to a 25% reduction in the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. This is because vitamin E and other antioxidants found in plant-based foods help reduce oxidative stress caused by inflammation, thereby protecting cells and thus tissues of vital organs such as your brain.

However, vitamin E supplements should be avoided. It can have a pro-oxidant effect in high doses, increasing your risk of oxidative stress and potentially chronic disease.

4. Helps In Losing Weight

While nuts do contain a lot of fat, the type found in tree nuts and fruit (for example, olives) can actually help with weight loss and maintenance. This is because nuts are a good source of oleic acid, a healthy fat that makes you feel full while also improving heart health. Eating every three to four hours, limiting added sugars and saturated fats found in processed foods, and eating more plant-based meals is also important for long-term weight loss success. Pecans are a deliciously satisfying snack to keep on hand for a nutritious snack that won't leave you feeling deprived.

5. Rich In Minerals

Pecans are high in manganese and copper, two minerals that improve metabolic health may have anti-inflammatory properties, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease. The added benefit is that these nutrients have shown promise in preventing high blood pressure.

6. Abundant With Flavonoids

Pecans have more flavonoids — a type of antioxidant found mostly in vegetables and fruits — than any other tree nut, according to the USDA. People who consume flavonoids in their diets are less likely to develop chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and cognitive decline. Furthermore, a 2016 study discovered a possible link between flavonoids and weight maintenance. Flavonoid-rich foods to pair with pecans include apples, blueberries, grapes, prunes, and strawberries.

7. Low On Sodium

Unsalted nuts are naturally sodium-free, making them ideal for anyone on a low-sodium diet or avoiding salty foods. High sodium diets have been linked to an increased risk of chronic disease, particularly high blood pressure. Using pecans as a crunchy ingredient in any recipe can help you retain flavour while also providing powerful health benefits.