The American Heart Association has declared pecans as heart healthy because of its ability to lower cholesterol, provide nutrients and its antioxidant properties. Pecans have thus been given the heart healthy checkmark, which makes the Pecan Growers Association very happy.
I have always wondered why this has not happened until now because walnuts, pistachios, and almonds are already amongst the nuts that are in the “heart healthy” group and they have similar high nutrient status. It makes you wonder why such super-nuts as macadamias are not included but certain processed food items are included.
The skinny on this tasty nut (eaten shelled and raw gives you the most benefit) is that one ounce (about a quarter cup chopped) has 193 calories, 20 g fat (mostly monounsaturated), 4 g carbohydrate (mostly fiber) and 3 g protein. It has a zero glycemic load, meaning it doesn’t raise your blood sugar when eaten. It has an abundance of minerals including good sized doses of manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and iron. It also has good doses of vitamin E, A, and several of the B vitamins.
Aside from the great fats, fiber and micronutrients, it also has phytosterols, mostly beta-sitosterol, which has been shown in studies to lower bad cholesterol. In fact, some supplements and margarines are using this plant sterol as a cholesterol lowering agent. Instead of artificial food, such as margarine, eating natural pecans is certainly a tasty alternative.
You can be creative in your use of nuts: such as add them to sauces, chilis, salads, soups, on vegetables, eat with dried fruit, etc., or just eat them plain as a snack.
Pecans Declared Heart Healthy:
Pecans are now designated as heart-healthy when enjoyed as part of a healthy eating pattern by the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check Certification Program (www.heartcheckmark.org), according to the National Pecan Shellers Association (NPSA)
This is the follow-up to a series of scholarly articles on pecans such as the study by the Loma Linda University demonstrating how pecans favorably altered the lipid profile of healthy men and women.
Helping people make heart healthy choices using the AHA heart check symbol is a great idea. While pecans are now declared as heart healthy, by helping people lower cholesterol and decreasing oxidation, don’t skip on other super healthy nutritious foods either. Variety helps keeps our palates from getting too bored, which is always a good thing.
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