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Nutritional Info

Pecans vary in size and nutritional content depending on the type of pecan (native, improved (paper shell));   There are over three hundred different varieties of pecans each with its unique taste and nutrition.   Below is a general guideline for pecans.






Pecans Offer Good Nutrition

  • 90% of the fats in pecans are unsaturated (about 60% monounsaturated/30% polyunsaturated)
  • A serving of pecans (30g) provides about 25 percent more oleic acid than a serving of olive oil (one tablespoon)
  • Pecans are cholesterol free
  • Pecans are sodium free
  • Pecans are fiber-rich
  • Pecans are a valuable plant protein source
  • Pecans have more than 19 vitamins & minerals
  • They are an excellent source of gamma tocopherol, an important type of vitamin E
  • They contain concentrated amounts of natural plant sterols, touted for their cholesterol-lowering ability
  • Pecans contain a variety of phytochemicals
  • Nuts are recommended by the American Heart Association and U.S. Dietary Guidelines as a desirable source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat.

Pecans can double the cholesterol-lowering effectiveness of a traditional heart-healthy diet, according to a study published in The Journal of Nutrition, September 2001. An eight-week study at Loma Linda University found that a 'pecan' diet (which consisted of replacing 20 percent of the calories from the American Heart Association's Step I diet foods with pecans) lowered total cholesterol by 11.5%. The Step I diet lowered total cholesterol by 5.2%. In addition, the pecan diet increased the HDL "good" cholesterol whereas the Step I diet decreased HDL unfavorably. Triglycerides also were significantly lower with the pecan diet. Although the pecan diet contained more fat (39.6%) than the Step I diet (28.3%), participants did not gain weight.

Here is the link to the Loma Linda pecan health study:



Pecans raise Vitamin E levels and may support prostate and intestinal health. Further analysis of the participants in the above study revealed that a pecan-enriched diet significantly raised blood levels of gamma tocopherol compared to the Step I diet. This is due to the high amounts of naturally occurring gamma tocopherol (a unique form of vitamin E) in the pecans. Gamma tocopherol is an important antioxidant nutrient and studies have shown that it may benefit intestinal health and have a protective effect against prostate cancer. This research was presented at the April 2001 Experimental Biology meeting and published in the FASEB Journal.



Adding pecans to your diet can lower "bad" cholesterol. A study at New Mexico State University (NMSU) has found that pecans offer something even more important than great taste and versatility - a positive impact on health. The research, conducted by NMSU's Wanda Morgan, Ph.D., shows that adding pecans to a self-selected diet lowers LDL or "bad" cholesterol levels by six percent; total cholesterol levels were lower as well. This encouraging news about the positive impact of pecans on heart health was published in the March 2000 issue of Journal of the American Dietetic Association (http://www.eatright.org/journal/). In this study, nineteen men and women with normal blood lipid levels were divided into two groups, one of which served as the "control" group, and ate its regular diet for eight weeks. Subjects in the "test" (pecan-eaters) group, however, supplemented their diets with three-fourths of a cup of pecans every day. Even though the test group ate more total fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat each day than those who did not eat pecans, test subjects lowered their levels of bad and total cholesterol - and did not gain weight. "The research shows that we don't have to be afraid of the fat in pecans," says Dr. Morgan. "Pecans can be a part of a balanced and varied diet."

More information on "Pecans and Good Health" and a review of pecan and nut health research is available at the National Pecan Shellers web page:


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