Pecans and Health Benefits
Pecans are categorized under nuts but they are actually drupe fruits. Pecans are crunchy to the taste-buds. Pecans have smooth outer shells that are light brownish in color. The pecan kernel is beige-colored, oval-shaped and contains the seed which is surrounded by the inner shell. The various sizes of pecans range from large to medium to small. Whole pecans, halved pecans and crushed pecans are available. Pecans are sweet-tasting and butter-flavored making them suitable for cooking when preparing dishes. Shelled and unshelled pecans exist for procuring purposes in stores. The unshelled pecans have to be split to unveil the kernel. Pecans rate high in fat content and the percent of fat in pecans can be in the range of 65-70%. However most of the fat in pecans are healthy fats and hence the daily intake of pecans can be considered a wise choice.
Unshelled plump pecans of uniform size with no signs of discoloration can be purchased. Ensure the absence of cracks or holes when buying pecans. Store the unshelled pecans in a cool corner on the shelf. Shelled pecans in sealed containers under refrigerated provisions can help retain their freshness. Pecans keep fresh for long time durations when preserved under appropriate conditions.
Salted and sweetened pecans can be relished. Pecans can also be devoured without any flavorings. Thinly chopped pecans can be topped on ice-creams and dessert preparations to lend a nutty flavor to the sweets. Also biscuits, cakes and pies contain pecan as an ingredient. Butter prepared with pecans known as pecan nut butter can serve as a spread on sandwiches and toast. Salads containing meats and vegetables can be tossed with pecans and dressed with seasonings such as lemon juice, olive oil, chilly flakes, salt and pepper. Also roasted pecans can serve as great snacks.
The benefits associated with pecan intake is due to the nutrients in pecans. The healthy fats, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals in pecans contribute to the enriched nutritional profile of pecans. The following arguments lay stress on the factors that make pecans nutritious foods.
- Nutritional Value
The vitamins in pecans are Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin and folates. Calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, iron and zinc are the mineral constituents in pecans. Healthy fats, dietary fiber and anti-oxidants also contribute to the nutritional worth of pecans.
Manganese stored in pecans is responsible for the anti-oxidant properties of pecans. The nerve cells are given protection from injury that can be caused by the free radicals. The immune system is enhanced and resistance of the body towards infections is improved. Hence pecans can be included in the diet to reap such benefits.
- Weight Management
Consuming pecans can prove useful in weight management as they are appetite-filling and the intake of foods which can result in addition of calories in the body can be controlled. There is also enhanced metabolism in the body where fat deposited in the body is utilized thereby regulating weight measures.
- Maintaining Bone Health
Calcium and phosphorus contained in pecans promote healthy bones and teeth. Bone density can be maintained and bone loss can be averted due to these nutrients. Here bone health can be restored and bone strength can be developed.
- Other Benefits
Cardio-vascular health can be promoted with healthy fats in pecans namely oleic acid which creates favorable balancing of good and bad cholesterol levels in the body. Heart ailments can be averted here.
Pecans can also have anti-aging benefits and Vitamin K in pecans can play a role in this regard. The health of the skin is restored and skin infections or damage caused by the free radicals is combated.
Magnesium in pecans assists in containing inflammation in the bodily parts.