Pecans Aren’t Just about Pie

April 26, 2012

Pecans are a powerful health food – contrary to popular use, in pies, pecans are great at just about any meal

The recent news that The American Heart Association (AHA) added pecans to its list of certified heart-healthy foods, reminded SupermarketGuru that it’s not just about almonds and walnuts! Pecans are not usually thought of by any stretch of the imagination as a health food, especially because of their popularity as a decadent dessert topping, but your impression of pecans is about to change! Pecans are packed with a variety of vitamins, minerals and other compounds beneficial for good health.

Pecans contain vitamins A and E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, potassium, several of the B vitamins, and zinc. They also contain dietary fiber (3 grams/oz) and protein, and are a good source of heart healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. It has been suggested that a well balanced diet with the addition of pecans may help prevent heart disease (due to the vitamin E content, a natural antioxidant), decrease cancer risks, and help in weight control (due to their rich nutrient profile and fiber content).

Pecans may also reduce cholesterol. Research from California's Loma Linda University and New Mexico State University shows levels of LDL cholesterol (the “bad cholesterol”) drop when pecans are part of a daily diet. Pecans get their cholesterol-lowering ability from a type of "good fat" found in the nuts, and the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound. Eating one-and-a-half ounces of pecans a day (27 to 30 pecan halves), as part of a heart-healthy diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease.

In 2004, the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that “pecans rank highest among all nuts and are among the top category of foods to contain the highest antioxidant capacity.” A mere ounce contains 5095 total antioxidant capacity. WOW!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans. A diet low in fat and cholesterol can decrease a person's risk of heart attack and stroke. The Heart-Check mark from the AHA is an easy way for consumers to recognize better choices on supermarket shelves.

To learn more about Georgia pecans and the Heart-Check mark visit