Pecans add undeniable zest and flavor to any meal, as well as nutritional benefits. Pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals – including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. Pecans are a source of protein as well as plant sterols known for their cholesterol-lowering ability.
Over half the fat (about 60 percent) found in pecans is monounsaturated fat and approximately another 30 percent is polyunsaturated fat. This means that almost 90 percent of the fats (oils) in pecans are heart-healthy! To increase fiber intake, just add pecans to the diet. One ounce of pecans has about the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple, and provides 10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Pecans are cholesterol-free and naturally sodium-free, making them an excellent choice for those on a salt- or sodium-restricted diet.
Two recently published studies on pecans (one at Loma Linda University and the other at New Mexico State University) have shown that blood cholesterol levels are dramatically lowered when pecans are incorporated into the diet. Consumers who find that a low-fat diet may not be for them might be interested in new research from Texas A & M University. Researchers recently discovered that a heart-healthy diet containing pecans can help control cholesterol levels and other biomarkers of heart disease risk as effectively as the American Heart Association's (AHA) Step I diet.