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Not just for pie: Pecans are delicious and nutritious

Given that pecans are delicious and nutritious, it is time to take them out of the pie and let them work there tastiness on other foods.
Given that pecans are delicious and nutritious, it is time to take them out of the pie and let them work there tastiness on other foods. American Pecan Council

My freshman 15-pound weight gain had a name — pecan pie.

This Miami girl had never encountered anything as delicious and I indulged every time it was offered. As I was at University of Florida, that was every day. What I didn’t know was that the pecans are not the calorie culprit in this pie and in fact they are the nutrition boosters.

Sheah Rarback.jpg
Sheah Rarback

Only 20 percent of the calories come from pecans yet they provide half the protein and calcium and 85 percent of the fiber.

Given that pecans are delicious and nutritious, it is time to take them out of the pie and let them work there tastiness on other foods. An ounce serving of pecans is about 19 halves. In one ounce, there are 36 milligrams of cholesterol-lowering plant sterols, 60 percent of the daily amount of manganese, 40 percent of copper and, of course, numerous phytonutrients and vitamins. Pecans also have 2.6 grams of fiber in the ounce serving.

Studies too numerous to list have demonstrated the health benefits of including nuts into a typical food intake. The most recent one from March 2018 in Nutrients showed that eating a handful of pecans a day significantly improved insulin sensitivity and had a significant beneficial effect on markers of cardiometabolic disease.

Pecans are the only major tree nut indigenous to America. Native Americans ate them and named them pecanes. They also made the first pecan nut milk, powcohicora. Our current nut milk obsession has very old roots.

I suggest adding pecans to your nut rotation. If you love them in pies just think what they will add to salads, vegetables and main courses. My favorite granola from Ellie Krieger, which I give to friends during the holidays, contains pecans, as well as almonds and walnuts. https://hrld.us/2PLXiQt

For more delicious pecan recipes and a deeper dive into the health benefits, take a look at americanpecan.com.

Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.
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