6 Amazing Benefits And Uses Of Pecans

Uses Of Pecans

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A high calorie, tasty nut that can help you with weight loss! Sounds odd, right? Research shows that pecan can aid weight loss along with providing a plethora of health benefits for your body.

 

Pecan is a delicious and buttery nut belonging to the Juglandaceae family. The Pecan tree is native to Central and North America, and is cultivated across the world as an important commercial crop. There are more than 1000 varieties of pecan; most of them are named after the Native American tribes. The most commonly available pecans are Cape fear, Moreland and Elliot. The large-sized pecan tree is also known as the Texas state tree. The nut features a brown kernel with a beige flesh, enclosed in a smooth, thin, brown colored shell.

Pecans Health Benefits:

Besides being a tasty and versatile nut, pecan also offers a plethora of benefits. Enlisted are the amazing pecans health benefits you should know!

1. Improves Heart Health:

Pecans are called “heart-healthy nuts”. It primarily contains unsaturated fats that are shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein in the blood. The high levels of pyridoxine content in pecan help to regenerate the cells in diseased hearts. Regular consumption prevents coronary artery diseases and strokes by encouraging a healthy lipid profile. The Vitamin E content in pecans protects the blood lipids from being oxidized.

2. Helps in Weight Loss:

Despite the high calorie count, pecan nuts are often prescribed in weight loss diets by nutritionists. Several researches have confirmed that pecan nuts can help with weight loss. These nuts increase the metabolic rate and satiety in the body, preventing weight gain.

3. Antioxidants:

Pecan nuts are loaded with natural antioxidant molecules. It includes antioxidants like Vitamin E, beta carotene, ellagic acid, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help the body to scavenge the free radicals, protecting it from diseases and cancers.

4. Prevents Cancer:

The anti-proliferative properties of ellagic acid inhibit the DNA binding of carcinogens, protecting the body from cancer. The oleic acid in pecan nuts suppresses the activity of a substance that triggers breast cancer. The substance induces migration and proliferation in breast cancer cells, promoting an increase in cancer cell invasiveness.

5. Improves Prostate Health:

The enzymes found in pecan are very effective for treating the symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia, a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. It also contains gala-tocopherol, a type of Vitamin E that kills the prostate cancer cells, without harming the healthy cells.

6. Promotes Bone Health:

In addition to all these benefits of pecans, calcium present in pecan nuts promotes the health of the bones and teeth. It is also required for the growth and repair of the cells and tissues. The high concentration of phosphorus also prevents muscle pain following a hard-core workout.

Selection And Storage:

Pecans are available all year round in grocery stores and supermarkets. It comes in shelled, unshelled, sweetened and salted forms. Unshelled pecans are healthier compared to the processed ones. Pecans are available in bulk bins and airtight containers. Avoid purchasing in bulk. Stick to those that come packed in airtight containers with expiry dates. Purchase healthy-looking, off-white pecans. The nuts should be free from cracks, molds and rancid smell.

The high fat content in pecans can make them go rancid quickly; proper storage is essential. The unshelled pecans can be stored in a cool and dry place while shelled pecans should be stored in a refrigerator to prevent them from getting rancid. If properly stored, pecans can last for more than 4 months.

Culinary Use:

Pecan nuts are subjected to dehydration, which is essential to remove the moisture and improve their quality.

  • Pecan nuts have a creamy consistency and a sweet taste. They lend a buttery and rich flavor to savory dishes. Pecans are wonderful additions to rich and creamy desserts like pie, fudge, muffins and caramel puddings.
  • Pecans can be eaten straight from the bag by sprinkling some sugar or salt on it. Roasting the pecan nuts will bring out their aroma and crunchiness. To roast the pecans, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 5 minutes or until the nuts turn light brown in color.
  • Chopped pecans are sprinkled over desserts, cakes, yoghurt, sweets and sundaes. Ground pecan seeds are added to breads, cakes, cookies and other baked goods.
  • Pecan is also ground to make butter. Pecan butter is mostly used as a spread over bread, toast and crackers.
  • Pecan nuts are also processed into oil. The oil is used for cooking and salad dressings.
  • The two most popular pecan dishes are pecan praline and pecan pie. Pecan praline is a favorite sweet dish among the people of South America. It tastes amazing and is very easy to prepare.

Recipe:

1. Pecan Praline:

Preparation time– 15 minutes

Cooking time– 15 minutes

Makes 25 medium sized pralines.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of granulated sugar
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups of chopped pecan
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or extract

Preparation:

Apply butter to a large sheet of parchment paper and leave it aside. In a large pan, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar and milk. Keep stirring constantly until the temperature reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the butter and vanilla extract; stir till the butter melts and the mixture thickens. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour in the parchment paper. Let it cool, cut into pieces and serve.

Nutritional value:

Listed are the pecans nutrition facts:

  • Calories: 190
  • Total Fat: 12.0g 18%
  • Saturated Fat: 1.4g 7%
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 4.0g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 6.4g
  • Cholesterol: 1mg 0%
  • Sodium: 77mg 3%
  • Potassium: 52mg 1%
  • Carbohydrates: 19.0g 6%
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.0g 4%
  • Sugars: 17.0g
  • Protein: 1.5g

Safety Profile:

Pecan nuts are generally considered safe for consumption, yet some people may suffer allergic reactions from it. Some common side effects include hives, swelling of the throat, shortness of breath, dizziness and stomach ache. The side effects are caused due to the release of a chemical called histamine in the body.

Try this delicious nut today and let us know if it pleased your taste buds!

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