The Health Nut
By Chelsea Fisher
Pecans are quite the nutritional powerhouse, providing healthy, cholesterol-lowering fats as well as a number of vitamins and minerals including protein, iron, copper, and a good dose of manganese. Manganese is important in a number of bodily functions including the formation of connective tissue, blood clotting, and bones, and plays an important role in cholesterol and carbohydrate metabolism.
If that’s not enough to peak your pecan craving, according to the American Cancer Society, they are also a good source of ellagic acid, which has been found in lab studies to slow the growth of tumors caused by certain carcinogens. But, like all nuts, pecans are high calorie. It’s best to use them to replace unhealthy snacks in your diet, rather than simply adding them to it.
If you have the time and energy, buying unshelled nuts can save money, and pecans happen to be one of the easiest nuts to crack open. When buying unshelled nuts, make sure the shell is not cracked and that the pecans do not rattle inside, a sign they could be old. If you prefer to buy shelled pecans, to ensure freshness, always buy them from a store with high foot traffic. When you get them home, store them in the fridge, as they will quickly turn rancid if stored at room temperature.
Pecans are a great snack, but they are also an important component of many of some of our favorite recipes. They are also a great alternative for those who are allergic to walnuts. Pecans can of course be used as a topping for any salad, but they’re perfect toasted and atop our Warm Beet and Greens Salad. We also use them to make a nutritionally packed pie crust. And of course, how can you resist the Cherry Pecan Dark Chocolate Brownies? And of course they’re great atop oatmeal or quinoa in the morning for a protein-rich breakfast.