Pecans: health benefits and contraindications
The seeds and kernels of nuts are useful for the body due to the high content of quality vegetable oils and proteins that help maintain the immune system, nervous system health, as well as proper heart function. Pecans are an exotic nut still virtually unknown in our lands. Let's study in more detail in the article its composition, useful properties and recommendations for use.
- Where does the pecan grow and what does it look like?
- What is the difference between a pecan and a walnut?
- Which is healthier: a pecan or a walnut
- How many pecans can be eaten per day
- Composition and calories
- Useful properties of pecans
- General health benefits
- For women
- For Men
- In pregnancy
- For breastfeeding
- For children
- Pecan oil use
- Pecan nut in medicine
- Pecan nut application in cosmetology
- Harm and contraindications
- How to choose and store pecans
- How to peel a pecan nut properly
- Interesting facts about pecan
Where does pecan grow and what does it look like?
The unusual nut is native to North America, where many centuries ago it was harvested by Indian tribes. Over time, the culture began to be grown purposefully. Today 95% of pecans are produced in the United States and Mexico. Mostly deciduous trees grow in warm river valleys and bear fruit for 2-3 centuries, growing massively in height and spreading their branches widely.
The nut has a characteristic cerebral shape; the nucleus consists of two lobules with elongated grooves. The shell is thin and smooth. The structure of the kernel reminds us of the familiar walnuts, but the pecan is more elongated and elongated, its sinuosities are not as bubbly.
The pecans ripen by the fall, after which they are stored in dry conditions for up to six months without losing their valuable properties.
How the pecan differs from the walnut
Although the pecan is similar to the walnut, there are quite a few differences between them. In addition to their appearance, their taste differs as well. The pecan has a rich, soft buttery flavor with a touch of creamy cookie, without the bitterness and tartness that are present in walnuts because of the increased iodine content.
The third difference is the composition and caloric content. Of course, all nuts are rich in minerals and valuable fatty compounds, but the pecan differs with its strong antioxidant effect, absence of sodium and the presence of other useful substances and properties, which will be discussed below.
Which is healthier: pecans or walnuts
It would not be quite right to compare two related species of nuts, it is more correct to say that the different varieties are mutually complementary to the diet and contribute to the recovery. Therefore, they should definitely be alternated. In this case, each species will have its own distinct advantages over its brethren.
For example, the walnut has the highest content of iodine, which is necessary to maintain hormonal balance and the proper functioning of the endocrine system. Pecans are high in antioxidants and effectively fight aging by protecting the body from free radicals.
Most buyers note that, in addition to its useful properties, pecans have a more delicate, pleasant taste with a delicate sweetness. It is fattier and more caloric, but at the same time it cannot be poisoned. Pecans rarely cause allergic reactions, and its moderate consumption brings the body only benefits.
How many pecans can be eaten per day
Considering that the caloric value of a pecan per 100 grams is from 670 kilocalories depending on the variety, it is considered one of the most fatty and nutritious products. Therefore, the rate of its consumption should be treated with extreme caution.
The excessive consumption of this heavy product can overload the liver, heart and gastrointestinal tract, as well as harm the figure. That is why pecans are added to the diet with caution. While it is recommended to eat 30-40 grams of other nuts per day, for pecans this figure is 20-25. The nut is light, so the above portion is equal to a small handful without a slide or 5-6 slices of the product.
More pecans can be eaten during increased physical activity, strength training, hard work, in the cold, to recover from illnesses (with doctor's permission), but it should be divided into 2 portions. It is not recommended to eat heavy fatty product at night.
Composition and calories
The pecan nut is considered a valuable product due to its high content of natural antioxidants and minerals. It contains calcium and magnesium, zinc, selenium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, with no sodium, which is important for balancing the nervous system and blood pressure.
The nut's vitamin complex includes a high content of components A, C, E, K and B group. In addition, the product has poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, necessary for the formation of a strong immune system, the health of the nervous and cardiovascular system, skin and overall metabolism.
The nut contains valuable proteins that promote cellular metabolism, oleic acid which regulates cholesterol levels, antioxidant substances such as ellagic acid and zeaxanthin, lutein and polyphenols. The nut is rich in anti-inflammatory and nutritional properties, strengthens the body's defense and fights aging.
Another plus in the composition of pecans is the absence of cholesterol and the ability to fight the increase in its level in the blood, so that the blood vessels are cleared. The product has more than 70% of useful fat, 9 g of proteins and 14 g of carbohydrates per 100 g.
From the valuable raw material is obtained oil, convenient for use not only in cooking, but also in cosmetics and medicine. Nuts can be given to children from the age of 3 and used during pregnancy, without fearing for the health of the baby, because the useful product, on the contrary, will support the condition of the woman in the position and the development of the child.
Useful properties of the pecan
The main benefits of pecans are to the nervous system and skin, affecting also the digestive, cardiovascular, sexual sphere, musculoskeletal system and immunity.
The main properties of the pecan are considered to be its antioxidant and nutritional effects. The nut fights the destructive power of free radicals, inhibits oxidative reactions, promotes renewal and rejuvenation, prevention of cancer.
Among walnut's valuable properties are:
- Saturation of the body with calcium, strengthening bones and muscles.
- Increasing the elasticity of the skin, muscles and joints, maintaining a slender, fresh and taut appearance, flexibility.
- Cleansing the blood of toxins and cholesterol, normalizing blood pressure, stimulating the production of red blood cells, controlling blood clotting.
- Increased nerve conduction, which improves brain function, stabilizes mood and reduces the risk of depression.
- Anti-inflammatory effect, which protects external and internal tissues, keeping them healthy.
- An enveloping effect that helps to eliminate gastritis and colitis, prevent constipation and hemorrhoids.
In addition, the nut is useful in its own way for the young, mature body and with different lifestyles.
- The beautiful sex will first of all appreciate the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect of the nut. It significantly improves skin condition, maintains nervous stability, which is important during menopause, during the critical days and under severe stress.
- Care of hair and nails with pecan oil makes them healthy, shiny, strong and thick. Pecan helps to fight aging and delays the appearance of deep wrinkles.
- In the intimate sphere pecan will increase sensitivity, return muscle elasticity, increase libido, prevent inflammation, maintain normal microflora.
- The stronger sex can especially benefit from the properties of the pecan to relieve muscle pain after strength training and exertion, stimulate muscle growth, promote heart health during cardio-loading.
- Stimulation of healthy nervous activity will help manage stress and increase resilience.
- L-arginine, zinc and vitamin A in the product will help maintain healthy hair and thick hair, get rid of dandruff.
- Peanut stimulates potency and protects the prostate and genitals from diseases, strengthens tissues and increases blood flow, thus increasing sexual stamina. Also, the components of walnut stimulate the production of healthy germ cells and normalize hormonal levels.
Pregnant women benefit from consuming pecans to form a good immune system for the fetus. At the same time, it is important to monitor their condition and control the appearance of rejection or allergic reactions.
During pregnancy planning, small doses of pecans in the diet will saturate the body with useful B vitamins (especially folic acid), which prepare the female body to carry the baby.
The increased content of fats and vegetable protein will allow the body during pregnancy not to be depleted, generously nourish the fetus and make its own reserves. The consumption of nuts will help to get rid of mood swings, drowsiness, hypertension. Therefore, the nut can be introduced into the food while waiting for the baby, the main thing is to observe reasonable dosages and to be attentive to the reactions of the body.
During lactation, it is important to maintain the quality of milk so that it is full of healthy fats, protein, minerals and vitamins. Nuts are excellent for enriching its composition. Therefore, if a woman in the period of body restructuring after childbirth did not have symptoms of allergy to nut crops - you can supplement your diet with them and watch to ensure that the rejection did not manifest itself in the baby.
Pecan in lactation will not only help to feed the baby a nutritious product, but also not to lose their own strength, more quickly restore the beauty of the figure after childbirth and a fresh look. The nut can help to quickly restore normal metabolism, remove excess hormones and residual substances from the body, improve the skin and avoid postpartum depression.
Calcium and phosphorus in the peanut are good for the child's body. They will stimulate healthy growth and development of the baby. Also, pecans will relieve mental stress and stimulate cognitive functions in school-age children, help maintain healthy skin and tissues of teenagers, contribute to normal hematopoiesis and timely development of the heart muscle.
Nuts are allowed to be introduced into children's diet after 2-3 years of age. Cases with hypersensitivity or immune deficiency in a child are considered separately. In all circumstances, it is advisable to discuss the non-standard diet of babies with the pediatrician.
Children are given peanuts in 2-3 half slices, and at school age - an adult portion, because the growing body qualitatively consumes all the useful components it receives.
Nutritionists sometimes recommend replacing meat and cheese in a child's diet. And at the same time, it is better not to offer these products, so as not to overload the small body.
When losing weight
In diets for getting rid of extra pounds, nuts are always a controversial component. On the one hand, they are necessary to maintain proper functioning of the nervous system, heart and vascular health and joints. On the other hand, it is a caloric product, the excessive consumption of which can hinder weight loss.
Pecan is rich in antioxidants, helps to normalize metabolism and maintain the comfort of the gastrointestinal tract, so it can be added in moderation to a diet diet replacing fatty meats and cheeses and alternating with dietary animal products.
Consume in this case nut in the morning or at lunch, as a snack, as a thickener in lean porridges and salads, smoothies for weight loss, protein shakes during fitness training. If during weight loss actively engaged in physical exercise, perform cardio programs, pecans will be a very useful addition to the diet.
The benefits of pecan oil
Pecan oil is obtained through cold pressing of the nut kernels. In this way, its useful properties are preserved and a minimum of oil cake is produced. Pecans are one of the fattest nuts along with walnuts, cashews and pistachios, so they produce a lot of high quality oil.
Pressing is not only used for culinary purposes. It is in this form that pecans are used in cosmetology, medicine and other industries. On the basis of the pecan is obtained an excellent massage oil, which is easily absorbed, moisturizes and tightens the skin, revitalizing it from the inside.
In the kitchen, this extract is used in cold form, and there are several reasons for that:
- Nut oils are "afraid" of oxidation, do not like contact with metal surfaces and heat treatment - so lose their antioxidant and other useful properties.
- They also stink a lot when heated, so frying in walnut oil is not the best idea.
When fresh, pecan butter has a subtle flavor with a creamy undertone and perfectly complements salads, desserts, and baked goods.
The product is stored for quite a long time in cool, dark glass containers. When choosing an oil, it is important to pay attention to the producer. Pecans are grown on plantations in Mexico, America, Cyprus and other hot countries, and the product is usually processed immediately without transportation, so quality oil is obtained in the places where it grows.
Pecan butter can also refer to table paste like peanut, hazelnut, pistachio, and sesame oil. A fatty pecan without other ingredients produces a viscous mass that can be spread on bread, fruits and vegetables, and used as a sauce. It is usually flavored with salt or sugar, honey, and spices. Such a product can easily be prepared on its own in a blender. The only disadvantage is the high cost of nuts in our country.
Pecan in medicine
For medicinal purposes, pecans are introduced into the diet to restore a healthy metabolism, in the treatment of stress and depression, nervous and physical exhaustion, healing the mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract. The remedy gently lubricates the walls of the stomach, promotes cleansing of the intestines and in small doses does not put much strain on the liver and pancreas.
Pecan cleanses the blood, so it is recommended to consume a little at a time for hypertension and atherosclerosis, poor blood flow, varicose veins, alopecia, anemia and other diseases.
Pecans are suitable for dietary diets as a source of valuable cholesterol-free fats to provide the body with the necessary compounds. In vegan and raw food diets, pecans are an important source of protein and plant fats.
In diets for weight loss it is used as a nutritious snack, which establishes metabolic processes in the body. If you don't overeat the caloric kernels, it will serve as a useful supplement to effectively cleanse the body.
Pecans are also valuable for gaining weight after exhaustion. It is such products as nuts, cheeses, sweet fruits and porridges that can gently restore the body without hitting the internal organs.
Pecans are not recommended only in the elderly, because the tired digestive system may not be able to cope with fatty loads. In such cases, it is possible to eat 2 nuts at a time and refuse to use the product in case of indigestion.
Use the fruit in the treatment of heart disease, strengthening the muscles and walls of blood vessels, providing the prevention of heart attacks, heart attacks and other ailments. Also rich in antioxidants, the product is introduced into the diet for recovery from cancer treatment. Clinical studies have confirmed the positive effects of the product on the body and anti-tumor effects.
Pecan applications in cosmetology
The useful pecan helps to strengthen hair and nails, cleanses and nourishes the skin. It has a rejuvenating effect:
- reduces the effect of free radicals;
- heals irritations;
- stimulates the production of collagen and cell renewal;
- It saturates the skin with moisture and firms it;
- removes traces of stress and restores a healthy complexion;
- Prevents deep wrinkles and dehydration of the skin;
- protects from the negative effects of UV light;
- eliminates peeling and dandruff.
Pecan nut action for skin is notable for its intensity. That is why it is added to pre-made cosmetics and used at home as an alternative to other organic oils with antioxidants.
Most often pure pecan oil is used in cosmetology as a base for creams, serums, lotions and masks. But sometimes ground walnut pulp is used for wraps and masks. Thanks to the freshness of the product, you can get a pronounced effect after just a couple of treatments.
Pecan oil in its pure form can be applied to nails and hair roots to stimulate their growth, to treat the intimate area when it feels dry and uncomfortable, to massage rough elbows and other areas with flaky or dried out skin. This will provide softening and regeneration.
Pecan extracts can be used as a base for baby creams or lubricants by adding extracts of aloe, chamomile or other antibacterial and soothing herbs.
Predominantly pecans are added to American cosmetics, so you should look for products with these valuable kernels in Western brand lines. A drop of pecan oil can be added to your finished eyelash and eyebrow balm, hair rinse, day cream or sunscreen lotion.
Hazards and contraindications
The main danger when eating pecans lies in the high caloric content of the product. Overeating a fatty product can cause indigestion, heavy feelings and provoke weight gain.
At the same time pecans almost never cause allergies or rejection. Small amounts of the product can be consumed by everyone without exception, but caution should be exercised by people
- with gastrointestinal diseases;
- liver and pancreatic diseases;
- metabolic disorders;
- As well as children and the elderly.
Peanut is not recommended to add to food every day. In a regular diet, it is enough to recall the pecan 2 times a week. And if you decide to indulge yourself with the delicacy only periodically, once every 2 months will be enough.
In rare cases, complex nut proteins cause allergies, which are manifested by itching, swelling, fever, skin rashes, lacrimation, enlarged lymph nodes and general malaise. That is why the heavy product is not given to children with not yet fully formed immunity and digestive system.
How to choose and store pecans
To keep nuts fresh and useful for a long time, store them in a dry place and whole shell. Then a constant microclimate is preserved inside their shell, and the kernels do not lose their valuable properties. It is important to store peeled kernels without access to air and direct sunlight so that their oils do not oxidize.
Peeled kernels stored in glass jars with lids on closed shelves. You can leave the nuts in the refrigerator in the vegetable department so that they retain all their useful properties longer. Nuts in their shells should be kept in cloth bags, but not in polythene bags, as these are potential breeding grounds for mold.
Periodically it is necessary to review the fruits, you can also pour over the contents of the bags with lavender or cloves so that the nuts do not become infested with moths.
It is better not to store chopped nuts more than 2 weeks - they will lose their nutritional value.
Choosing nuts in the store, pay attention to their uniformity, absence of splits, defects on the shell, as well as to dryness. The nuts should not have a musty smell, dark traces, or a suspicious buildup. A good pecan has a smooth, slightly shiny shell.
When buying peeled pecans, sniff - a good fresh product exudes a characteristic subtle smell. There should not be any dust on it and its surface should not be dried out. The product should be thoroughly rinsed with warm water before use.
How to peel a pecan correctly
Peel pecans with a pecan picker in the usual way. If there is no need to preserve the integrity of the nuts, you can load them in a bag and beat them with a kitchen hammer, then carefully review, freeing the kernels from fragments of shell.
Cleaning a small number of kernels is not time-consuming, so the nuts can be released one at a time by placing the seam on a table or cutting board and gently hitting with a hammer. With accurate targeting, the nut splits and the kernels do not crumble.
Drying nuts in the oven to achieve cracking of the shell is not recommended. This kind of nuts is not processed thermally, otherwise all the antioxidant properties will disappear. Drying only young raw fruits at low temperatures (40-60 ° C).
For extreme situations, the household "door" method is suitable. It is important to exercise caution. Before beating the nuts, it is advisable to place them in a baggie or wrap them in a kitchen towel to keep the splinters from flying around.
Interesting facts about pecans
- There is a popular pecan pie recipe in America. Usually the kernels are added not only to baking dough, but also sprinkled with ground crumbs in various desserts and make a paste for toppings.
- Because of its creamy flavor, walnuts are an excellent substitute for dairy products in the diet of vegans.
- Hazelnuts can be safely frozen, so you can extend their shelf life. It is possible to freeze both whole nuts in the shell and peeled kernels.
- In the early 20th century the pecan became a symbol and official tree of Texas. Symbolic celebrations were held there in honor of the delicious fruit.
- Other well-known names for the pecan are North American, Milk, and Karia.
To saturate your body with a variety of valuable compounds and treat yourself and your loved ones to a new savory taste, you should try this unfamiliar creamy nut and add it to your holiday diet.
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