Pecans are called the "AntioxiNUT" because they are so high in antioxidants and essential nutrients for the body. They rank among the top 15 foods with the highest levels of antioxidants. Among these antioxidants is Vitamin E (specifically gamma tocopherol) and selenium which supports heart and respiratory health, prevents heart diseases, and helps with blood circulation by protecting blood lipids from unnecessary and harmful oxidation.
Pecans contain over 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, calcium, potassium, folic acid, phosphorus, zinc, and magnesium. They also contain B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates (which together play an important role in enzyme metabolism within the body) and are actually one of the very few sodium-free and fiber-rich nuts in the world.
Pecans are high in protein, so they make a great replacement for meat and other animal products for those that choose to avoid these foods. If fact, they even make a much healthier alternative to meat, being cholesterol-free and so high in healthful fats. As a general rule, a 1/2 oz of pecans (about 10 pecans) can take the place of 1 oz of meat.
Pecans can also help manage cholesterol levels as well, as the plant sterols in pecans have cholesterol-lowering attributes. Pecans contain zero cholesterol and helps decrease total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol levels. They're even packed with heart-healthy fats. In fact, 60% of the fats in pecans are monounsaturated (like oleic acid) and 30% is polyunsaturated. The other 10% are saturated fats (which is very low), and they contain zero trans fats.
Eating pecans regularly can also help boost your metabolism, encourage weight loss, and help shed calories. Some people naturally think that all nuts in general are "fattening", but studies have shown that increased nut consumption actually resulted in a decrease in body fat and overall weight. They are also fairly low in carbs, making them a great snack for people following low-carb weight loss plans.
Cinnamon has been shown to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, prevent cancer, relieve arthritis, anti bacterial, and boost brain function and memory.
Add these delicious gems to a trail mix, use them at toppings on your favorite yogurt or ice cream, or simply eat them by themselves.