Pecan Health Facts

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Q
I heard that pecans can help some people with diabetes, is 
that true?
A
Pecans are not only high in unsaturated (polyunsaturated and 
monounsaturated) fat, but also other nutrients that may 
improve glucose and insulin stability, according to a study 
conducted over a 16-year period. The study found that eating 
nuts might help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in women. 

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Q
How many calories and how much fat are in one cup of 
pecans?
A
Here's what one cup of pecans contains so take the numbers 
and cut in half, but don't look at just the calories and fat, it's 
what kind of calories and fat your getting so please read on 
after the bare facts. Total Carbohydrate 8.2 g Dietary Fiber 
5.7 g Calories 411.1 Total Fat 42.8 g Saturated Fat 3.7 g 
Polyunsaturated Fat 12.9 g Monounsaturated Fat 24.3 g 
Cholesterol 0.0 mg Sodium 0.0 mg Potassium 244.0 mg Total 
Carbohydrate 8.2 g Dietary Fiber 5.7 g Sugars 2.4 g Protein 
5.5 g Over 90% of the fat in pecans is unsaturated, heart-
healthy fat. Numerous studies suggest that nuts protect the 
heart from disease. One of the reasons nuts, including 
pecans, are getting notice is their excellent protein structure. 
They make ideal heart-healthy substitutes for high-fat meats. 
In 2003, the Food and Drug Administration released one of 
the first qualified health claims about nuts and heart disease; ?
scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 
1.5 ounces per day of most nuts as part of a diet low in 
saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart 
disease.? The key to better overall diet is calorie and portion 
control, according to the updated Guidelines. To manage 
weight and increase physical fitness, consumers can make 
the most of their calories by picking nutrient-dense foods. 
Although nuts are high in calories, they are also rich in 
vitamins and minerals packing a lot of nutrition into a 
relatively small bundle. Just a handful (or about 20 pecan 
halves) offers vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, 
zinc, fiber, and more antioxidants than any other nut. And 
because nuts are so rich in heart-healthy fat, it doesn?t take 
many to feel full. So the bottom line is that pecans are very 
good for you and they taste great plain or tosted.

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Q
Aren't pecans high in cholesterol?
A
Pecans contain no cholesterol and are a good source of 
protein, iron, calcium, manganese and zinc

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Q
Sure pecans taste great but aren't they bad for your heart?
A
Until recently the conventional wisdom among health-
conscious Americans was to avoid nuts because of their 
extremely high fat content. But within the past several years, 
nutritionists and health researchers have taken another look 
at nuts. The Harvard Heart Letter reported that much of the 
momentum for giving nuts a second chance comes from a 
long-term study of diet and heart disease in more than 
26,000 Seventh Day Adventists in California that began in the 
mid 1970s. One of the results, reported in 1992, aroused the 
curiosity of health researchers  a strong association 
between higher nut consumption and a lower risk of heart 
disease. People who consumed tree nuts (pecans, almonds, 
walnuts, etc.) frequently (at least 5 times a week) had 
roughly half the risk of a heart attack or a coronary death as 
those who rarely ate them. People who ate a portion of nuts 
even once a week had about a 25% lower risk of heart 
disease than those who avoided nuts. 

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Q
Are pecans really a health food?
A
Recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allowed 
new health claims for pecans and other nuts particularly with 
respect to helping reduce the incidence of heart disease. That 
means a heart-healthy diet can and probably should, include 
good-tasting foods such as pecans. The FDA's decision allows 
this wording in promotional material for pecans and other 
nuts. "Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that 
eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pecans, as 
part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce 
the risk of heart disease." There have been numerous studies 
that have demonstrated that some nut varieties can actually 
reduce the risk of heart disease. Included in these recent 
studies were several indicating that pecans in particular are 
very good at lowering cholesterol levels, especially LDL 
cholesterol, also known as the bad cholesterol. So what does 
this mean to the consumer? Well, it means that pecans are 
not only a great tasting addition to your diet; pecans are also 
a healthful addition too!

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Q
Can I eat pecans on a low-carb diet?
A
Pecans are a naturally low carbohydrate food that you can 
easily include in your low carbohydrate diet. Whether you eat 
a handful as a snack, or include pecans as a part of your 
meal, pecans will add flavor and zest to a low-carb diet. 
Pecans are naturally low in carbohydrates. About an ounce of 
pecans contains only 4 grams of carbohydrates. That means 
that nutrient-dense pecans can add flavor, nutrition and 
disease-fighting properties to any diet that limits 
carbohydrates

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Q
Aren't pecans kind of "fatty"?
A
Pecans contain approximately 60 percent monounsaturated 
fat and 30 percent polyunsaturated fat. This means that 
almost 90 percent of the fats (oils) in pecans are heart-
healthy! These good kind of fats are essential to good 
nutrition and they have the added benefit of helping to curb 
your appetite, and they can help protect your heart

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Q
Will pecans keep me looking younger?
A
Well we would all like to find the fountain of youth and if we 
could promise that, then there probably wouldn't be a pecan 
left on the planet. What we do know is that antioxidants do 
seem to help slow down the aging process in some people. 
Pecans contain both the alpha and gamma tocopherol forms 
of vitamin E, and vitamin E is the primary antioxidant we use. 
Antioxidants are important in slowing the process of cell 
stress, which can lead to cellular dysfunction. Much of this 
cellular dysfunction shows up in the aging process. 

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Q
Can pecans really help lower my cholesterol levels?
A
Pecans contain an abundance of unsaturated fats, and studies 
have shown that pecans can help lower cholesterol levels. 
Pecans also contain plant components with antioxidant 
properties, which can slow the oxidation or "rusting" of LDL 
(bad) cholesterol. And, a recent study has confirmed that 
pecans also contain plant sterols, which have been in the 
news recently for their cholesterol-lowering ability.

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Q
Just what do pecans contain that is so good for me?
A
Pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals - including 
vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, 
phosphorus, potassium, several B vitamins and zinc. Just one 
ounce of pecans (a handful or about 20 halves) has more zinc 
than a 3.5-ounce piece of skinless chicken. Most good sources 
of zinc are foods of animal origin, but pecans offer an 
excellent plant-based source. Pecans provide a healthful 
source of needed protein, which is essential for proper body 
function

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Q
Do pecans contain any amount of fiber?
A
Pecans are high in fiber. One ounce of pecans has about the 
same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple, and provides 
10 percent of the recommended Daily Value for fiber. Fiber 
keeps you fuller longer and will keep your blood sugar on an 
even keel.

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Q
Are pecans good for my diet?
A
Yes! Pecans can help dieters and those looking to control their 
weight because the dieter will feel fuller for a longer period of 
time after eating pecans. Studies have also shown that 
consumers who eat nuts regularly are leaner than those who 
don't eat nuts regularly, and suggest that nuts may increase 
the rate at which the body burns calories.

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