Also known as: She has one name, but the pronunciation of her name can be the subject of heated debate
Likes: Temperate climates, bidding wars over her
Dislikes: Cold Yankee weather…. she prefers to stay in the warmth of the South
Hobbies: Brightening views with her grand, green-leaved tree branches and buttering up your taste buds with a rich nutty flavor
Find her: In her traditional signature pie, adorning salads, adding flavor and crunch to baked and frozen treats
We’d like to introduce you to Pecan, one of the members of the oh-so-loved Nut family (more specifically the Walnut branch of the family). While there’s no debate over her taste and nutrition, many an argument has started over how to pronounce her name. However you pronounce her name, this Southern belle is sure to charm you with her smooth and buttery flavor and powerful health benefits.
These days, Pecan is mostly found in the warm and temperate south. You can often find her basking in the sun of a Georgia orchard or blowing in the dry Texas breeze on her towering trees. She is a true North American native, originally enjoyed and named by Native Americans and discovered to be the delicacy that she is by such noteworthy names as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. She has found herself in gardens and the occasional grove across the continent, but her heart is in the Southern United States, where most of the world’s Pecan crop is grown.
Like the rest of the Nut family, Pecan just looks like a demure little ingredient. In reality, she’s not just a pretty shell and rich flavor; Pecan is also packing a punch of nutrition! Here are three of her powerful health benefits:
- Beautiful skin, healthy cells – Pecan is loaded with vitamin E, which can help to protect skin and cells from damage, thanks to the much studied and praised antioxidants. In fact, the Pecan has more antioxidants than any other tree nut.
- Lower cholesterol – Pecan is a pretty little package of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are just big, long and fancy words for healthy fats. If you’re trying to prevent high cholesterol or working on lowering already high cholesterol, these healthy fats—in conjunction with a low saturated fat and cholesterol diet —can help. Studies have shown that Pecan and other foods with these unsaturated fats may help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Lose weight – This newest benefit may just have you hooked! In recent studies, researchers have found possible links between including nuts like Pecan in your diet and weight loss and weight management. While much more research is needed in this area, we certainly aren’t opposed to a few Pecans in our next meal. All those vitamins, minerals, protein and healthy fats can be a very good thing when enjoyed in moderation.