Eating pecan nuts can lower the risk of developing heart disease or cancer, say researchers.
A study showed their naturally occurring antioxidants help reduce inflammation in the arteries. The nuts are particularly rich in one form of the antioxidant vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol, and the study showed that its levels in the body doubled eight hours after eating pecans.
The researchers analysed 16 men and women who ate a sequence of three diets, one of whole pecans, one of pecans blended with water, and a neutral ‘control’ meal. Even after three hours, unhealthy oxidation of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the blood – which can cause heart problems – fell by up to a third.
‘Previous research has shown that pecans contain antioxidant factors. Our study shows these antioxidants are indeed absorbed in the body and provide a protective effect against diseases,’ said Ella Haddad, of California’s Loma Linda University, whose findings were published in The Journal of Nutrition.