Why do I love the holiday season? Because so many dishes have pecans- they are fabulous!!
There is no better memory that picking pecans out of my Great Grandpa’s yard and then shelling them in a giant bowl. I knew my Great Grandma was going to make a delicious dish and had a part in this. Today, we call this farm to table. This is the true meaning of this phrase. No pesticides or toxic chemical. Straight from the tree to our table.
Where does this yummy nut come from? Pecans are the only nuts that are native to North America. The name pecan is actually an Algonquin word “pakan” or “paccan”, which means “a fruit that can be enjoyed after breaking the shell with a stone”. Pecans are actually in the hickory family. Hickory nuts are round in shape, while pecans are a longer oval shape. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both loved pecans and grew them on their plantations. Pecan trees can grow as high as 100 and can live for many years. Pecans are only second in popularity after peanuts. The United States grows 80% of all pecan nuts in the world. Wow! Who new?
Why should we eat this delicious nut?
Pecans are also one of the best sources of B complex vitamins like niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic, folate, vitamin B6, and thiamin.
Pecans provide essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and manganese to the body.
Breast Cancer Risk – Like olive oil, pecans contain oleic acid, a fatty acid with some promising benefits. One of oleic acid’s prime benefits revolves around the reduced risk of breast cancer, where the substance has been shown to induce migration and proliferation in breast cancer cells, and promote an increase in breast cancer cell invasiveness.
Anti-Inflammatory – Pecans are rich in magnesium – a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. One study found that ”inflammatory indicators in the body such as CRP (C-reactive protein), TNF (tumor necrosis factor alpha), and IL6 (interleukin 6) were all reduced when magnesium intake was increased.” Further, inflammation in the arterial walls was also reduced with magnesium intake. Based the findings of this study, magnesium can effectively reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other inflammation-related health ailments.
Boosting Heart Health – Fiber is also known to boost heart health. Pecans also contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fats like oleic acid along with phenolic antioxidants. Both of these substances help to prevent coronary artery disease and strokes. Additionally, one study (of many studies coming to similar conclusions) published in the August 2006 issue of Nutrition Research found that pecans may help prevent coronary heart disease by inhibiting unwanted oxidation of blood lipids.
This is just a few great reasons to add pecans to your diet everyday!
Happy Healthy Eating! Dana