Still keeping your New Year’s health resolutions? If slimming down and getting healthy are still top of mind, consider adding more nuts, like Georgia Pecans, to your diet. Below are three great reasons to include Georgia Pecans in your diet plan:
Crunchy and delicious, pecans also pack a nutritional punch. Dubbed the “AntioxiNUT”, Georgia Pecans have the highest level of antioxidants among all tree nuts, and are one of the top 20 power foods for antioxidant capacity, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The antioxidant compounds found naturally in pecans – including vitamin E, ellagic acid and flavonoids, – are believed to help prevent disease-causing oxidation in cells which has been linked to developing heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, among others.
2. Weight Loss Stabilizer
Georgia Pecans are also a smart option when it comes to weight loss. Clinical research from Harvard University School of Public Health also suggests that as nut consumption increases, body fat and overall weight actually decreases. In the Harvard study, people following a weight-loss diet that contained 35 percent of calories from fat, including pecans, were able to keep weight off longer than people following a traditionally recommended lower fat diet.
Nuts are a part of most universally accepted balanced diets, such as the “Mediterranean Diet,” which includes fish, poultry, vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, grains, olives and olive oil.
“Let’s face it, nuts can get a bad rap for being ‘fattening’,” says Georgia Pecan spokesperson and registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil. “In reality, Georgia Pecans are good for your health and your waistline. They’re not only high in protein, but also in oleic acid, the same type of healthy fat found in olive oil. Enjoying a few as a nutritious snack can help keep hunger at bay so you don’t over eat at meals. So enjoy a handful – not a ‘can-ful’ – of Georgia Pecans as a smart choice.”
3. Heart Health Helper
Being over-weight is one key factor in developing heart disease. Georgia Pecans (halves and pieces) have received the American Heart Association’s Heart Check-mark signifying heart healthy status.
Pecans may also reduce cholesterol. Research from California’s Loma Linda University and New Mexico State University shows levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL) drop when pecans are part of a daily diet. Pecans get this cholesterol-lowering ability, in part, from the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound. Eating one-and-a-half ounces of pecans a day (27 to 30 pecan halves), as part of a heart-healthy diet, may even reduce the risk of heart disease.
Pecans make a great addition to every meal. Add them to your morning oatmeal or yogurt, substitute pecans for croutons in lunchtime salads for a flavorful crunch (see recipe below), or use ground pecans with the seasoning of your choice as delicious breading for meat or fish supper dishes. Any way you chop them, Georgia Pecans are a tasty addition to just about every recipe!
For more information about Georgia Pecans and recipes, log on to www.georgiapecans.org
Avocado, Grapefruit Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette and Toasted Georgia Pecans
Created for Georgia Pecan Commission by Carolyn O’Neil, R.D.
This is no boring salad – it’s appealing to all the senses, beautiful to look at, delicious to taste with the refreshing aromas of citrus and a satisfying crunch from heart healthy, antioxidant rich Georgia Pecans. Avocados sub for the cheese, toasted Georgia Pecans sub for the crunch of croutons and flavor hit of bacon (You could even use smoked pecans).
|For the salad:|
|1-2 heads bibb lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces|
|1 bunch arugula, torn into bite-sized pieces|
|2 Haas avocados, ripe but firm, peeled and cubed|
|2 ruby red or pink grapefruits, peeled and segmented, reserve excess juice|
|½ cup toasted Georgia pecan halves (toasted in a sauté pan)|
|¼ cup minced fresh parsley.|
|For the dressing:|
|2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil|
|1/3 cup red wine vinegar|
|Juice from segmented grapefruit (approx 3 tablespoons)|
|Fresh ground salt and black pepper to taste.|
|On large platter arrange the lettuce and arugula.|
|On the bed of greens arrange the avocado and grapefruit segments.|
|Combine the ingredients for the dressing and drizzle over the entire salad.|
|Garnish with toasted Georgia Pecans.|
|Add final garnish of minced parsley.|