According to the Georgia Pecan Commission, pecans have so many health benefits that they are referred to as “nutrition in a nutshell.” Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphofous, potassium and zinc. Pecans have little saturated fat, and no trans-fat. They are heart healthy. Pecans are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants. Regular addition of pecans in the diet may help decrease “bad cholesterol” and increase “good cholesterol” levels.
Research suggests that antioxidants like those in pecans help the body remove toxic oxygen-free radicals and thus protect the body from diseases, cancer, and infections.
Pecans are gluten free and an excellent source of protein, with very few carbohydrates and no cholesterol.
If all of this sounds good to you, try the recipe below to get a taste.
Georgia Pecan Cherry Trail Mix
Yields 2 Cups (8 1/4-Cup Servings)
WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup Georgia pecan halves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (such as canola oil)
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/4 teaspoon salt (preferably coarse kosher salt)
1/3 cup dried pitted cherries
1/3 cup roasted and salted pepitas
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pecans in a small bowl. Heat the oil in a heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add the chili powder and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Pour over the pecans. Mix in the sugar, orange zest, and salt. Transfer the mixture to a small baking pan. Roast until the nuts are toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. In a medium bowl, combine the toasted pecans, cherries, pepitas, and cranberries and mix to combine. Serve as a snack.
Nutrition Profile: 210 calories, 16 g total fat, 2 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 13 g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, 5g protein.