Every April, pecan enthusiasts unite to celebrate National Pecan month and this year we decided to join them. After all, what better way to refuel from a hard bike ride then a handful of power packed nuts!
But what exactly makes nuts like pecans so good for you?
These bite-sized superheroes are filled with essential fats, protein, vitamins and minerals that keep your mind, body, and heart happy, healthy, and strong. In fact, according to Mayo Clinic, “People who eat nuts as part of a heart-healthy diet can lower the low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol level in their blood.” LDL is one of the main causes for developing heart disease, so less LDL is a very good thing! Furthermore, nuts improve the lining of your arteries, reducing blood clots, which in turn reduces the possibility of heart attack due to those clots.
Nuts are also made up of about 80% fat and while you may think that is a bad thing, the truth is that the fat in nuts is, mostly, healthy, unsaturated fat and Omega 3 fatty acids. Both of these fats add to heart health. However, nuts still tend to have a lot of calories, which is why you should eat the correct portion, 1.5 ounces, of nuts and always eat them in moderation. Nuts also contain fiber, which helps you to feel full, so that single serving really will be enough![i]
Pecans are also packed with plant sterols that block the absorption of cholesterol without effecting levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol), and according to the USDA, they are also the most antioxidant-rich nut. Antioxidants help protect cells from free radicals and keep cells healthy. Pecans also keep your arteries from building up and forming plaque and contain vitamin B3 which keeps your energy up so you can battle those moments of mid-afternoon fatigue.[ii]
This month and through September we are partnering with Georgia Pecans to encourage people to try to add these, heart healthy, power packed nuts into their diet! Each month there will be giveaways of Schwinn bicycles, helmets, locks and Georgia Pecans. You can enter the Georgia Pecans/Schwinn Sweepstakes by visiting www.georgiapecan.org beginning April 1, 2015 through September 30, 2015.
[i] “Heart Disease.” Nuts and Your Heart: Eating Nuts for Heart Health. Web. 14 Apr. 2015. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/nuts/art-20046635?pg=2>.
[ii] USDA Says Pecans Top Antioxidant Nut (USDA Says Pecans Top Antioxidant Nut)