Pecans and Health: How The Two Are Related

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It is not a generally understood, nor accepted fact, that nuts are good for your health. Most people see the label and focus on the high fat content and place the nuts back on the shelf. But the truth is that the fat contained in nuts is considered “good fat” and that, in moderation, they are actually quite good for you.

First, the phrase “good fat” needs an explanation to clear up any misconceptions of what is being referred to. Fats are divided into two groups: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fat is the “bad fat” and the one that people will want to stay away from. The fat contained in foods like French fries and cheeseburgers is saturated fat, and is often associated with negative thoughts and feelings. Unsaturated fat, however, is “good fat” that the human body uses for a source of energy. Nuts are high in monounsaturated fats meaning that, in moderation, the human body needs them for fuel.

In addition to the fat that fuels the body, pecans, and nuts in general are high in antioxidants. These nutrients protect the body’s cells from things called “free radicals” which are believed to play a role in things like heart disease and cancer. And because your cells are protected, the immune system gets a boost and is able to ward off things like the common cold and the flu more efficiently.

A research study from Loma Linda University recently found that pecans are rich in a certain kind of vitamin E called gamma-tocopherols. In fact, pecans have the highest antioxidant capacity of all the nuts commonly found in the house. Because of this, the humble pecan is able to lower bad cholesterol by as much as 33%. Given a diet rich in pecans, people are able to lower their cholesterol significantly enough to prevent common cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis and heart disease. As most physicians will tell you, a healthy lifestyle combined with a balanced diet is a recipe for success.

People fight every day to find ways to lower their cholesterol or give their immune system a boost before the cold and flu season. One simple solution is to grab a handful of pecans. Another thing that’s great about pecans is that they’re easy to store and freeze well. In essence, you can eat pecans year round if you wanted. Your body would certainly thank you for it, plus, what a delicious way to take care of your body.