Thanks to their deliciously buttery flavor, pecans are used in a number of tasty dishes, including the world-famous dessert, pecan pie. Although you don’t need us to tell you that pecan pie isn’t healthy, pecans themselves have a different story to tell.
Are Pecans Healthy?
Pecans are extremely nutritious and are rich in a number of important nutrients, including protein, fiber, copper, thiamine, and zinc, but they are also high in fat, which causes a lot of people to question if they are actually healthy after all.
Not All Fats Are Equal
Although pecans may be high in fat, it’s important to remember that not all fat is created equal. The kind of fat found in processed foods is very different from that found in plants, which can actually be good for you. Whereas the saturated fat found in cheese and butter will clog your arteries and may contribute to heart disease, the monounsaturated fatty acids found in plant foods such as pecans can benefit heart health by lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing the level of good HDL cholesterol in the blood. At present, most food labels don’t differentiate between good and bad sources of fat, which can make high-fat plant foods such as pecans appear unhealthier than they are.
But What About Calories?
Because pecans are high in healthy fats, they are also calorically dense and so should always be eaten in moderation - especially by individuals who are trying to watch their weight. At the end of the day, calories are calories, and the body doesn’t discern between the calories from healthy foods and those from junk food. That being said, if you are going to eat calorically dense foods, then it is always best to consume those with some nutritional value to fuel your body. As with all calorically dense foods, the key to eating pecans on a healthy diet is to eat them in moderation. One way to do this and to prevent yourself from overeating by accident is to weigh out your portions in advance.
The Health Benefits Of Eating Pecans
Aside from being a fantastic source of healthy fats, pecans also contain a number of other important nutrients that are beneficial to your health. Here are some of the other health benefits associated with eating pecans regularly.
Pecans Can Help You To Lose Weight
Like most nuts, pecans are a great source of protein and fiber - two nutrients that help to keep you feeling full for longer. This makes a portion of pecans a great weight-loss snack, helping to prevent overeating at mealtimes.
Pecans Can Improve Your Metabolism
A one-ounce serving (28g) of pecan halves contains almost 40% of your recommended daily value of copper, a mineral that is essential for more than 50 metabolic reactions and which is necessary for the creation of ATP.
Pecans Can Increase Your Antioxidant Levels
Pecans are an incredibly rich source of antioxidants - compounds that protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals.
As you can see, pecans have a lot to offer and, when eaten mindfully and in moderation, can be a healthy snack in your diet. Do you like pecans? Or do you prefer pecan pie?