The health benefits of various tree nuts have been a popular topic of conversation when it comes to diet and healthy eating. However, one nut that sometimes gets left out of the discussion is pecans. The product of a large deciduous tree, native to North America, the pecan can be enjoyed raw, roasted, or baked, and is essential to dozens of classic recipes. This favorite nut, however, also provides countless health benefits to those who enjoy it.
Here are just a few of the many health benefits of eating pecans that may lead you to incorporate this delicious health food item into your diet regimen.
1. Helps Lower Cholesterol
Eating a handful of pecans every day has been proven to improve one’s health in many ways. One of the greatest benefits of pecans is that they are loaded with plant sterols, which can help to greatly lower cholesterol. In fact, a study in 2000 found that individuals who ate 88 grams of shelled pecans a day lowered their cholesterol by 15 percent over a two-month period. This is a great reason to incorporate pecans into one’s diet, as lowering one’s cholesterol reduces one’s risk of heart disease.
2. Improves Digestive Health
Another health benefit of eating pecans is that they are high in fiber. Fiber is vital to a healthy diet, as it promotes colon health and helps facilitate regular bowel movements. The fiber pecans can add to your diet will also help your colon to work more efficiently, which can help prevent colon cancer and chronic constipation. These digestive benefits, alone, are reason enough to consider consuming more pecans.
3. Reduces Diabetes Risk
The high fiber content of pecans has another surprising health benefit: it can actually help to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating at least five 1-ounce servings of pecans a week can significantly lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes due to the fact that pecans are a low-glycemic food that helps to regulate blood sugar levels. Eating pecans on a regular basis, in conjunction with other low-glycemic foods, can help to maintain healthy blood sugar levels in the body, and it can potentially delay, or even prevent, the onset of type 2 diabetes in many adults.
4. Aids Weight Loss
Recent research has shown that not only do pecans improve digestive health, but they can also promote weight loss. This is due to the fact that pecan consumption has been proven to make people feel full faster, which helps them eat less. Additionally, pecans have been shown to improve one’s metabolism. These factors can attribute to healthier eating habits, and eventual weight-loss. However, it is important to keep in mind that all foods must be eaten in moderation, and you cannot eat as many nuts as you want and still lose weight. Consider consulting a health professional to learn the proper amount of nuts for a healthy diet, as well as for advice on what to eat in order to lose weight.
5. Reduces Blood Pressure
Another way in which pecans can improve your health is that they have been shown to lower one’s blood pressure. While pecans by themselves cannot cure hypertension (high blood pressure), these nuts are high in magnesium. Eating a magnesium-rich diet has been shown to improve blood pressure. Furthermore, weight loss is often key to improving one’s blood pressure, and we have already highlighted the diet benefits that pecans can provide.
6. Lower Your Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
One of the more surprising benefits of eating pecans is that it has the potential to reduce one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. How does this work? Pecans contain a large amount of magnesium per serving, as much as 400 milligrams. Studies have shown that an increase of magnesium in one’s diet has the potential to delay the onset of, or even prevent, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s by increasing the density and plasticity of neurons in the brain.
7. Reduces Stroke Risk
The magnesium pecans add to one’s diet can also greatly reduce your risk of having a stroke. Recent studies have suggested that consuming as little as 100 milligrams of magnesium per day reduces a person’s stroke risk by nearly ten percent.
8. Anti-Cancer Properties
Various studies have suggested that a pecan-rich diet can prevent a variety of cancers, with one of the most promising studies dealing with breast cancer. Pecans contain oleic acid, a fatty acid that has been shown to reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer in the future. It has been suggested that the components in the fatty acid present in pecans inhibits the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, making a solid case for including pecans in one’s diet.
Not only are pecans one of the most popular tree nuts people consume, but studies have revealed that there are a variety of health benefits of eating these nuts. This means that you can enjoy your favorite nut without feeling guilty and while knowing it will improve your overall health. Beyond improving your current health, pecan consumption has also been shown to prevent a variety of future conditions, such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease. This makes a strong case in favor of incorporating more pecans into your diet. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of eating pecans or for more helpful diet tips.