It was during the Stone Age, around 7,000 BC where the first documented proof of pecan consumption occurred. It’s the only major nut tree that grows naturally in North America. Pecan, an Algonquin word meaning “tough nut to crack”, originated in eastern North America and the river valleys of Mexico.
Pecans are large deciduous tree. Its scientific name is Carya illinoinensis and is a member of hickory family called juglandaceae. It can grow to a height of 100 feet and there are some that reached 150 feet! There are those whose trunks are more than 3 feet in diameter and they are 150 years old. They are also prized timber. They make a durable and beautiful furniture, wall paneling, baseball bats and firewood. Many of these varieties, about 1,000, are named under Native American Indian tribes. The fruit comes in a grayish- brown nuts protected by a thin shell, they are oblong in shape, and about 1-3 inches long with a buttery and rich flavor. Pecans are usually harvested from October through December.
Did you know that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are avid fans of pecan that they even grew them? And do you know which part of the U.S. is reputed as the pecan capital of the world?...Read on!
A very nutritious superfood that stores 19 vitamins that includes vitamin A, B complex, and vitamin E, vital minerals such phosphorous, magnesium, calcium zinc and potassium. It is also a heavy source of many phytochemical substances, which includes polyphenolic antioxidants. Pecan for the most part is a made of fat, yes, but these are healthier types, 87% unsaturated fats. That is 62% monounsaturated and 25% polyunsaturated.
Pecan helps you keep a healthy digestive system because of its huge amount fiber. An effective way to clean out your gastrointestinal system, thus reducing your risk of colon cancer, hemorrhoids and colitis. It gives out an abundant supply of a chemical compound called gamma tocopherol that is anti-inflammatory, with an anticancer activity and is cardioprotective. This compound also has the ability to protect against nitrogen-based free radicals. This super nut is zero in trans-fat and filled with unsaturated fat, making it heart – healthy. It has a naturally occurring plant sterol that blocks cholesterol absorption in the intestine, thus helping reduce cholesterol level. And to top it all, pecan has zero cholesterol, sodium free, and with less carbohydrates.
Pecan is safe for most individuals. Although same may experience allergic reaction to this nut, causing symptoms like vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath and swelling of the throat.
Now, about the pecan trivia… If your answer is Albany, Georgia, you are right! With 600,000 pecan trees! Their stores have them unshelled, shelled, sweetened, salted and in different sizes. I prefer the unshelled, they’re healthier.
Stay fit. Eat right. Enjoy life.
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