Health Benefits of Pecans

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Pecans are a type of tree nut that grows in the Southern parts of the United States and in Mexico.  Pecans first came on the food scene in Native American history around the year 1500, its name originating from the Algonquins. The word "pecan" actually means "a nut that requires a stone to crack".  Of the over 1500 varieties of pecans many are now called "paper shell" pecans and were grafted to make them easier to get into--some can even be cracked in the hand!

In addition to supplying plenty of heart-healthy fats, pecans also offer several vitamins and minerals that can protect against nutritional deficiencies and optimize overall health.
A one-ounce serving of pecans (about 19 halves) contains about:
  • 195 calories
  • 4 grams carbohydrates
  • 2.5 grams protein
  • 20 grams fat
  • 2.7 grams fiber
  • 1.3 milligrams manganese (64 percent DV)
  • 0.3 milligrams copper (17 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligram thiamine (12 percent DV)
  • 34.2 milligrams magnesium (9 percent DV)
  • 1.3 milligrams zinc (9 percent DV)
  • 78.2 milligrams phosphorus (8 percent DV)
  • 0.7 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligrams vitamin B6 (3 percent DV)
  • 116 milligrams potassium (3 percent DV)
Pecans also contain a small amount of riboflavin, calcium, niacin, pantothenic acid and selenium.  Pecans are a holiday staple often featured in sweet treats like pecan pie and cookies. However, apart from their delicious flavor these tasty nuts bring so much more to the table in terms of nutrition.  Pecans are high in healthy fats, protein and fiber, but pecans are also brimming with key nutrients like manganese, copper and thiamine. Pecans have been tied to a number of impressive health benefits, from improved heart health to better brain function.
Eating 3/4 cup of pecans a day may lower "bad" LDL cholesterol.  Nuts contain monounsaturated fat, which may help prevent heart disease. Pecans are rich in antioxidants which protect against cell damage and may help fight Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and heart disease.
Try these tips when planning your meal!
-Sprinkle pecans on your favorite salad, cereal or yogurt to add a delicious crunch.
-Use pecan meal as a coating for fish, chicken or pork.
-Instead of chocolate chips, use pecans in your muffin and baked bread recipes, waffle and pancake mix, etc.
-Mix pecans with "light" popcorn for a healthy and enjoyable snack.
-Toast pecans for a refreshing snack. For a twist, sprinkle with red pepper for a "Cajun spice" version.
-In place of meat (such as chicken or pork) in casserole dishes, use pecans.
-Nuts offer many of the same nutrients as meat, but are a great alternative for those choosing a plant-based diet.


  1. Pecan are high in fat, but they are full of healthy fats that can actually be beneficial for providing long-lasting energy and promoting weight loss.
  2. The heart-healthy fats in pecans can help slow the emptying of the stomach to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Most of the carbs in pecans are made up of fiber, which moves through the intestinal tract undigested and reduces hunger and appetite. 
  3. According to a review found in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, some studies have found that eating nuts as part of a healthy diet could be linked to a lower body weight. Another 2018 study out of France also reported that a higher intake of nuts was tied to reduced weight gain and a decreased risk of becoming overweight or obese over a five-year period.
  4. Pecans are loaded with antioxidants, which may play a central role in overall health and could aid in the prevention of chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 
  5. Studies show pecan consumption may reduce several markers used to measure the risk of heart disease and blood pressure levels.
  6. Filling up on antioxidants can be an effective strategy to help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage. The copper found in pecans can also help decrease inflammation, especially for pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. This is why pecans and other anti-inflammatory foods can make a great addition to an arthritis diet treatment plan
  7. In conjunction with other nutrients, manganese, copper and zinc (all found in pecans) have been used to help treat symptoms of osteoporosis which is a condition characterized by weak brittle bones.
A daily serving (about 1 oz. or 19 halves) of pecans may help:
Maintain high energy and lose weight
Prevent oxidative stress
Contribute to a healthy heart
Reduce inflammation
Possibly prevent osteoporosis-related bone loss in women
Improve and maintain peak brain function
Possibly reduce symptoms of PMS
In treatment of diabetes