Pecans may be the antioxidant of the nut world. Walnuts are good for omega 3s. Almonds are great for healthy, monounsaturated fats and calcium. What does the nutrition world have to say about pecans? A study from Loma Linda University in California looked into the antioxidant content of pecans and how much of it is absorbed when we eat them. Good news pecan lovers! The study found out that pecans are high in EGCG (the catechin antioxidant prominent in green tea) and gamma-tocopherols (a type of vitamin E-antioxidant). Both of these were absorbed well when eaten either whole or when blended into a drink. The other pecan superpower that was observed was a significant decrease in oxidized LDL, which is important for heart health.
However, we must note that this study was quite small, consisting of only 16 participants. While more research is still needed, pecans can still be a nutritious snack. 20 pieces (typically bought as half a pecan) is about 200 calories of the healthy fats, fiber, as well as some zinc and potassium.
This does NOT give you permission to dig into pecan pie and butter pecan ice cream! To get the most out of the precious pecan, go for raw or roasted (salt-free), and:
- Have 10 halves with a piece of fruit for a snack.
- Add them to your salad. Make sure to include a source of protein and a healthy dressing (on the side of course!).
- Chop them up and sprinkle on top of your morning oatmeal or yogurt (instead of granola).
With all the research coming out, always remember variety. Shake it up! All nuts and seeds… walnuts, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, etc… all have a place on your plate.