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PECANS- Do you know about these healthy nuts?

Everything that I learned about Pecans

Last week, New Mexican Department of Agriculture (NDMA) conducted a technical & educational seminar on American Pecans in New Delhi and I had an opportunity to attend it. It was quite an engaging event where I gained an understanding around pecans and how they are being acclaimed as a powerhouse of potential. With their nutrient dense properties and robust nutritional package, they qualify as a super nut. After hearing Dr. Richard Heerema from New Mexico State University and Ms Serena Schaffner, Managing Director – Global Marketing and Regulatory Affairs & American Pecan Council Promotion Board (APPB), I found many good reasons to believe in the benefits of pecans and other tree nuts’ impacts on health. A well-known nutritionist Ms Ritika Samaddar from Delhi, also shared some insights on the existing literature underscoring the health benefits of these nuts. Inarguably, pecans seem like an untapped source of health benefits and delectable treats.

Personally, I enjoyed the talk by Dr. Richard Heerema when he explained how pecans are grown and harvested. It was interesting to learn that pecans are the only major tree nut indeginous to North America. The trees take time to bear fruit (maybe 6 to 8 years) but once they commence, they do so for hundred years and more. The process of planting, pruning, watering and protection are some of the key factors in the growth of pecan orchards. The pecan industry is almost entirely run by multi-generational family businesses.

Pecans are native nuts of North America
Technical Seminar Featuring U.S. Pecans

Some interesting facts that were discussed during the seminar are that Pecans are a native nut to 15 U.S. states. The Americans have a long history with pecans as they have been using the wild pecans not only for the nut meat but also the bark and the leaves. There are evidences which suggest that the French settlers in early 1700’s had fallen in love with the delicious kernels of goodness. “The natives have three kinds of walnut trees….but the best ones are scarcely larger than the thumb and are called pecanes.”

Also, I was amused as well as curious to know more when one of the speakers shared that almost all (except one) pecan varieties are named after the tribes of that region. This piece of knowledge is interesting, indeed.

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Varieties of Pecans
Do you know about the varieties of Pecans?

Health benefits of Pecans

As consumers, we are often on a look out for food items that can be used for munching, for adding to our breakfast table, or for replacing our unhealthy snacking habits that peak in the evenings. Pecans seemed like a good replacement when consumed in moderation. The naturally sweet taste called for indulgence. A fistful of Pecans can be a very healthy addition to our lifestyle as per doctors in the seminar. And the best part is we must continue to eat our favorite dry fruits and nuts. This isn’t a replacement for Indian nuts. Our walnuts are good but pecans can also make for a healthy add-on. Personally, I like pecans and they make for delicious snacking bites during road trips.

The session was well attended by leading chefs, and well-known nutritionist from New Delhi, who gave useful health tips on Pecans and its usage. Some of the significant properties that were brought to light for the Indian audience during the seminar are below.

  • Pecans are among the lowest nut in carbs and a good source of fiber.
  • They are primarily unsaturated fats and are among the highest in monosaturated fats.
  • They have the highest levels in gammatocopherols (a form of Vitamin E antioxidant) compared to other nuts.
  • They also make a great source of copper and manganese- a mineral essential for metabolism and bone health.
  • They are a good source of fiber, thiamin and zinc.
  • They are considered helpful in managing skin health, heart health, weight, gut heath and immunity.
  • They make for a savoury source of protein and nutrients for salads, yogurt or any other meal.

It was during this event that I also found out about a body called Nuts and Dry Fruits Council of India (NDFC) which represents all stakeholders of Nuts and Dry Fruits Industry of India. This body will not only pormote nuts produced in India but also enable the promotion and marketing of nuts from around the world. Did you know about NDFC?

Do you like Pecans? Do share your views!

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