Facebook Pixel

Heart Healthy Nuts: Pecans

By Blogger
Rate This
Heart Disease related image Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to a heart healthy diet, one of the tastier recommended snacks is nuts. For the nut lovers among us who like a little extra crunch in our diet, this is good news. Nuts are considered a heart healthy snack and The American Heart Association recommends consuming nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, or sunflower seeds) at least four times a week.

Nuts are filled with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These two fats are “good” fats and it’s believed that they assist in lowering your low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol levels. High LDL cholesterol is a known risk factor for the development of heart disease. Consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats helps to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower your risk of stroke and heart disease. Some nuts, such as walnuts, are also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants, such as vitamin E and vitamin C, reduce free radical damage. Adding antioxidants to your diet may reduce the damaged caused by high levels of LDL cholesterol.

When I think “heart healthy nuts,” I automatically think almonds and walnuts. Perhaps that is because of education. It’s more likely, however, to simply be the result of the label on the Planters Heart Healthy Nuts container! While almonds and walnuts are certainly great contenders, there just may be a new heart healthy nut on the table - the pecan.

According to researchers from Loma Linda University, pecans are rich in antioxidants. Pecans contain several forms of vitamin E (an antioxidant), including gamma-tocopherols. As a part of the study, participants were fed meals of either whole pecans, pecans blended with water, or a “control” meal. The Step I diet promoted by the American Heart Association was used as the control diet.

Blood and urine samples were tested before meals and at intervals over a 24-hour period afterward to track the levels of the antioxidant vitamin E gamma-tocopherol levels. Two hours after the pecan meals, antioxidant levels increased between 10-12 percent and 50 percent after eight hours.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I LOVE pecans and think they are a great healthy snack. I also like walnuts - check out other healthy snack ideas on Snack Girl.

March 2, 2011 - 8:27am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Heart Disease

Get Email Updates

Heart Disease Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.


Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!