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Health Benefits of Pecan Nuts: Are They Good for You

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on March 25, 2022
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU

Health Benefits

The article will discuss the health benefits and the downsides of a widely used nut: pecan. To see the detailed nutrition profile of pecan nuts. you can visit this page.

Cardiovascular Health

Overall, pecans contain high levels of magnesium and potassium, which help lower blood pressure.

Pecans contain monounsaturated fat, which is a type of healthy fat. According to the study, monounsaturated fatty acids can help lower blood total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly coronary heart disease.

Maintaining a low LDL cholesterol level lowers your chances of stroke or heart attack [1].

Another study showed that people with coronary artery disease who consumed 30 grams of pecans daily for 12 weeks improved the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol in the blood [2].

Linoleic acid has a one-of-a-kind role in promoting heart health. Randomized clinical trials have shown that replacing saturated fat with linoleic acid lowers total and LDL cholesterol. [3].

Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, nuts, particularly those with high fiber content and a low GI, are diabetes superfoods. Pecans contain magnesium fiber, have a low GI, and have little effect on blood glucose [4].

Besides, because pecans have a low glycemic index, they do not cause a spike in blood sugar, even in people with diabetes.

Pecans contain linoleic acid, which helps improve insulin sensitivity and blood pressure.

According to studies eating a serving of pecans a day can improve serum insulin, insulin resistance, and beta-cell function in at-risk adults [3].

Cancer

Flavonoids are secondary metabolites found in various nuts. Pecan nuts are high in flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which means that consumption of these beans may help prevent oxidative stress-related diseases [5].

The most important natural antioxidants found in plant fats are tocopherols. According to research, tocopherols have an antioxidant effect on the body and may help to prevent oxidative stress. Pecans contain 24.4 mg of c-tocopherol but only 1.4 mg of a-tocopherol per 100 g of nut, making them a good source of c-tocopherol but a poor source of a-tocopherol. These antioxidants have been linked to various biological activities such as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-cancer properties [6].

Anti-inflammatory effects

Pecans are high in several plant antioxidants, as mentioned above. These compounds, besides anti-cancer effects, also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. In particular, polyphenols and Vitamin E are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. According to research, these compounds fight against inflammation and play a role in disease initiation and progression, such as neurodegenerative diseases and cancer [7].

Another compound found in pecans, linoleic acid, a type of omega-6 fatty acid, may help reduce inflammation as well [3].

Improve Brain Function

Pecans are high in the Vitamin B family, essential for proper neurological development and function.

The monounsaturated fatty acids found in pecan, according to the study, may aid in the prevention of mental decline and inflammation. Besides, pecans are high in potassium, promoting nervous system health by increasing blood flow to the brain.

The Vitamin E content of pecans acts as an antioxidant, protecting brain tissues from being covered with pecan plaques, which cause Alzheimer's disease [8].

According to the study, higher consumption of nuts was associated with improved long-term cognition in 15.000 women over 40 years [9].

Skin Health

Pecans are well-known acne-fighting nutrients. These nuts are high in selenium, which acts as an antioxidant when combined with Vitamin E, keeping skin hydrated and reducing inflammation. Zinc boosts immune function and cell growth, renewing and replenishing acne-prone areas.

Pecans contain various vitamins and antioxidants, including ellagic acid, Vitamin A, and Vitamin E. These specific vitamins and antioxidants combat free radicals, which are the leading cause of skin aging. As a result, pecans aid in preventing fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discoloration. Moreover, as pecans are high in antioxidants, they also can help improve the complexion of one’s skin while promoting a clear complexion. In addition to anti-aging properties, pecans are high in zinc, a mineral that helps skin maintain a clear complexion and fights acne breakouts. Even the fiber in pecans can help your skin rid itself of toxins, ultimately improving its appearance [10].

Prevents Hair Loss

Pecans are high in amino acids, which help to promote healthy hair growth. Hair roots can grow and thrive within the scalp by promoting healthy blood flow. Furthermore, the nutrients in pecans can aid in preventing hair loss. Pecans are high in iron, and iron fights anemia, the leading cause of hair loss. Blood iron levels will rise with healthy iron levels, combating hair loss [11].

Other Health Benefits

Zinc-rich foods, such as pecans are frequently used as natural immune boosters. Zinc reduces the risk of catching a cold when taken for at least five months, and taking supplements when you're sick can hasten the healing process [12].

Eating nuts during the first trimester of pregnancy can help a child's neuropsychological development. According to research, eating nuts during pregnancy has long-term benefits for a child's cognitive development. Children whose mothers consume 2–3 ounces of nuts per week during the first trimester of pregnancy have higher IQ, memory, and attention [13].

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Although pecan nuts have potential health benefits, they also have some downsides to consider.
Patients who have tree nuts allergy also can be allergic to pecans. Symptoms are usually expected and include itching, swelling, and burning in the mouth and throat.

In some cases, nuts allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. People who have this allergy should avoid all nuts and nut products [14].

Aflatoxin poisoning

Aflatoxin can occasionally be found in pecans.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring byproduct of the mold Aspergillus. Aflatoxin poisoning is characterized by loss of appetite and yellowing of the eyes, both of which are symptoms of liver disease. The risk of aflatoxin contamination is frequently determined by how pecans are stored [15].

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11533266/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31856379/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5827884/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26561616/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5012104/
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0271531706001278
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31692959/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098039/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105147/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18494484/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18296370/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748737/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19562864/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811165/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14132094/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: March 25, 2022
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.