The health benefits of pecans

Native to America, pecans are part of the walnut family of nuts and go perfectly with a range of dishes.

Their unique appearance, buttery flavour, and crunchy texture makes these little brown seeds of goodness a great side dish, and they look great as a centrepiece for the table too. But just how good for you are pecans? The good news is that pecans are pretty healthy.

Here, we explore the different health benefits of eating pecans, taking a deeper look into their nutritional profile and sharing our favourite ways to eat them. Bon appetite!

Pecans nutritional profile

Here are just some of the nutrients found in pecans:1

  • Protein: an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood, protein is used by the body to build and repair tissues2

  • Vitamin A: supports bone health and promotes healthy growth and reproduction. It also helps protect your eyes from night blindness and age-related decline3

  • Vitamin E: may help prevent coronary heart disease. It also supports the immune system, helps prevent inflammation, and promotes good eye health4

  • Fibre: helps normalise bowel movements and promotes good digestive health5

  • Folic acid: helps the body produce and maintain new cells. It can also help prevent any DNA changes that could lead to cancer6

  • Calcium: needed by the body to support overall bone health. Also, the heart, muscles, and nerves all need calcium to function properly7

The health benefits of pecans

They’re good for your heart

Due to their high levels of oleic acid and antioxidants, pecans are great for heart health. According to the National Pecan Sellers Association, regularly eating pecan nuts helps decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, which can help prevent strokes and coronary artery disease.8

They can help with weight loss

Due to their high-calorie content, eating nuts can help you feel fuller for longer, thus minimising the temptation to snack on ‘bad fats’. There have been several studies that show regularly eating nuts, including pecans, is not linked to weight gain. One study shows that people who regularly eat nuts had a 31% lower risk of weight gain than those who rarely ate them.9,10

They have anti-inflammatory benefits

Rich in magnesium, pecans are known for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Increased magnesium intake reduces chronic inflammation in the body, which in turn reduces the inflammation of arterial walls, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease.

Who shouldn’t eat pecans?

It almost goes without saying that, if you have any type of nut allergy, you shouldn’t eat pecans. Instead, try seeds or legumes to help satisfy your snack cravings.

Pecan portion sizes

The recommended serving size for one person is 15 pecans.11

Last updated: 10 June 2020

FoodFood & DrinkNutrition