Nuts come into play in a big way over the holidays–odds are good you have a package or two in your pantry already. But did you know that pecans, in particular, can be good for your health?
In fact, a survey being touted by the National Pecan Shellers Association says that most Americans (54%) don’t realize that eating pecans in moderation may reduce the risk of heart disease. The survey, conducted by Blue Chip Marketing, verifies that most Americans eat pecans in a baked good or dessert–perhaps not realizing that pecans fit into the latest USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Those guidelines recommend a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meat, eggs, beans and nuts.
Think of it this way: Adding about one ounce of pecans into your daily diet is a healthy alternative, instead of other snack foods, according to Beth Hubrich, R.D., a registered dietitian with the National Pecan Shellers Association. “Pecans are a power food that stay with you longer than high carbohydrate snacks that your body burns through quickly,” Hubrich says.
Dr. Dennis Lucero, a physician and pharmacist at the Lovelace Medical Center in Albuquerque, NM, agrees. “Heart disease is the #1 killer of all Americans,” Lucero said. “Eating pecans fills you up with lots of heart healthy ingredients to help reduce that risk.”
Looking for ways to incorporate pecans into your diet this season? Here are two ideas from the National Pecan Shellers Association:
- Instead of salty snacks, bring about 20 pecan halves to work to snack on throughout the day. Pecans are naturally sodium-free.
- Sprinkle pecans on top of your yogurt, cereal or salad and you’ll get more zinc–an important nutrient for proper growth and strong immunity.
You can also check out some of their recipes using pecans at the related links below, or at the ilovepecans.com website.
So, go ahead with your plans for pecan pie this year–the nuts, at least, are good for you–but don’t stop there. Grab a handful for a snack or add them to healthy salads for a nutrient boost.
(And, if you have a second slice of pie, we promise not to tell.)