Pecan: The Healthy Nut

By Victoria Gates

Most people don't realize it but pecans are used in a wide variety of ways. These delicious meaty nuts are mainly eaten whole but can also be used in delectable recipes that tempt the palate. Here are a few of the great benefits, besides the great taste, of making pecans the number one addition to your holiday and every day dishes.

Pecans are probably the least touted of all healthy nuts, simply because they do not grow as widely as most other nuts do. However, it has been scientifically proven that they are as good, if not better, for your health than most other typically touted nuts. Pecans contain a very high level of anti-oxidants, substances that help boost your natural immunity. About a handful (five to ten pecan halves per day), are enough to make your body stronger and healthier. Pecans also contain "good fats", which may help raise good cholesterol and lower the bad cholesterol which could damage your heart.

Pecans are also very rich in oleic acid, which is considered to be one of the best natural substances for defending women against breast cancer. Studies have shown that women who included pecans in their diet were much less prone to having breast cancer than those who did not. Women are not the only ones to benefit; pecans are also considered valuable in aiding men with good prostrate health. What a great excuse for having another slice of that pecan pie this Thanksgiving!

Pecans are also one of the richest sources of protein in the plant-based food world. This makes them an excellent replacement for meat, especially for those who follow or prefer a vegetarian eating style. The newest dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture state that eating 4 to 5 servings of nuts each week (and that includes pecans) will bring you one step closer to putting your diet in line with current healthy eating recommendations and a trimmer waistline.

Although the research proving the pecan's tremendous health benefits may be recent, pecan-producing trees dotted the landscape long before the discovery of the "New World" and enriched the diets of the native tribes living in the central and southern regions of the United States. Today, pecans are available from coast to coast in nearly every supermarket and experts have confirmed the variety of benefits pecans have to offer. So enjoy some pecans at your next holiday gathering, at the office party, or even while you watch the game!

Victoria Gates is a proud supporter of small American businesses such as the 5-Generation family run Pearson Farm. Pearson Farm has met the audit standards established under the Georgia GP Food Safety Program. You can find out more about their operations and location by visiting on the web.

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