‘Tis the season for all the delicious home cooked food and tasty goodies you can eat. For me, nuts are a particularly wintery snack and there’s nothing more traditional than sitting around a fire, cracking nuts and scarfing down those delicious innards. As a Georgia girl, I’m partial to the pecan. Only I didn’t eat them for quite a while believing that since they were high in fat, they were bad for me. But as I became more health conscious, I learned that I was very wrong about my beloved pecan. As it turns out, pecans, while high in fat, are quite good for you and help promote a slew of positive health benefits.
High fat foods have gotten a bad rap in the past few years because of the ‘non-fat’ health craze. To lose fat it makes sense to avoid fat and marketers have capitalized on this. But what they forgot to mention is that there are two kinds of fats; saturated, which is bad fat, and unsaturated, which is good fat. Saturated fat is linked to all of those terrible things that happen to the body including high cholesterol, heart disease, artery clogs and so forth. But good fat can help reduce those risks. Pecans are a great source of monounsaturated fat meaning that not only are they not bad for you in moderation, but are good for you.
Pecans are high in protein. Do you ever feel like you need a little pick-me-up in the middle of day? A great way to combat that blood sugar dip is to grab a handful of pecans. The protein and unsaturated fat will satiate your appetite and provide a healthy dose of fuel for the body. The combination of fat and protein in a pecan will fill you up and will allow you to feel full for a longer period of time than something that’s high in carbohydrates and sugar, like a cookie. Pecans are a much more body-satisfying snack than things that are sugar-based.
Pecans are good for your brain. Have you ever heard the term ‘brain food’? Pecans are rich in a nutrient called Omega 6 fatty acids, which the body needs but cannot produce on its own. A healthy balance between Omega 6s and Omega 3s can help reduce the risk of heart disease, aid in brain function, and promote healthy metabolism and development.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25 grams. Have you ever tried to ingest 25 grams of fiber on purpose? It’s a lot and many of the foods offered at grocery stores ignore it all together. A great way to fill in your fiber gap is by eating pecans. Obviously fiber is important and can lead to health problems if it’s deficient. A tasty and easy way to combat those potential risks is with either a handful of pecans or some sprinkled on, say, a salad.
I could go on and on about the health benefits of the pecan but I think you get the picture. At the end of the day, the pecan is not only a great source of nutrition by packing in lots of antioxidants like the Omega 6 fatty acid and cholesterol fighting healthy fat, but it tastes great too. It doesn’t get any better than healthy AND tasty. So don’t be fooled by the labels on the pecan container stating that it’s high in fat and calories. It’s good fat and as long as you snack in moderation, the pecan is a great addition to your everyday healthy diet.
This article was written exclusively for Pick-A-Pepper by Pearson Farm, a fifth-generation family-ownedbusiness dedicated to growing Georgia Peaches and Georgia Pecans. You can also see Pearson Farm’s listingon Pick-A-Pepper.com.
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