Do You Know the Nutritional Value of Pecan Snacks?
Pecan snacks may become your new favorite between-meal and late-night food when you know how good they are for you. You’re probably used to eating pecans in sweet desserts like pecan pie or as a topping on cinnamon rolls. However, there are many savory ways to enjoy them too. Savory pecans are seasoned with additional flavors but they aren’t coated with sugar or loaded with salt.
The nutritional value of savory roasted pecan halves might surprise you. When you eat a handful of savory pecan halves, you do more than enjoy a tasty food. You also consume:
Antioxidants – believed to fight cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s Disease, the antioxidants in pecans come from Vitamin A and Vitamin E.
Fiber – crucial to your well-being, fiber stabilizes your blood sugar, supports healthy gut bacteria and flushes away toxins.
Omega-3s – these essential “fatty acids” are used to fight inflammation and are not produced by your body.
Sterols – known to lower the “bad” cholesterol that may be in your body. Too much LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the body can increase your risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular disease.
Calcium – needed to transmit nerve impulses, contract muscles, and clot blood.
Iron – essential for making hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells and used to carry oxygen throughout your body. Iron is also important for your immune system.
Magnesium – Low magnesium leads to osteoporosis, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, diabetes and stroke.
Phosphorus – an essential mineral for bone health, plays a key role in the formation of the genetic building blocks of the body, helps convert calories and oxygen to energy, maintains good heart rhythm, and, like calcium, plays a major role in muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve signals.
Zinc – essential for your immune system and, like potassium and Omega-3s, it is not produced by your body.
Lots of Vitamins Too
Vitamin A – this nutrient is best known for its role in protecting your eye health and vision, and it also is used by your body for cell division, reproduction and immunity.
Vitamin B1 – also known as thiamin or thiamine, this vitamin is not produced by the body and is used to breakdown carbohydrates in other foods you eat. It also helps regulate your mood and improves basic brain functions like learning and memory.
Vitamin E – used by your body to make your immune system work, it may also reduce pelvic pain and menstrual cramping, particularly in women with endometriosis. It may also improve skin health and cognitive function.
Easy Ways to Eat More Pecans
Of course you can eat pecans by the handful as a snack. One moderate handful, about 19 pecan halves, is about one ounce. You can also incorporate pecans into other foods, such as blending them into yogurt or oatmeal. Pecans seasoned with savory flavors such as rosemary or bacon are a tasty addition to a vegetable side dish such as baked squash or pan-grilled Brussels sprouts. Give old favorites like mac and cheese a zing with a spicy choice like Buffalo Stampede, or give dressing a grown-up taste with Rosemary Black Pepper.
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