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New published study shows another health benefit of pecans

Pecan-rich diet significantly improved insulin sensitivity in adults who are overweight or obese.

Even though pecans have so many health benefits, it is important to remember that moderation is still key. Remember it's a healthy handful, or 19 halves!

A new study published in Nutrients shows that eating just 1.5 ounces of pecans – one small handful – every day may protect adults at risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Conducted by researchers at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, this study found that incorporating pecans into a typical American diet significantly improved insulin sensitivity and had a significant effect on markers of cardiometabolic disease in otherwise healthy overweight and obese adults with excess belly fat.

“Pecans are naturally high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, so replacing a portion of the saturated fat in the diet with these healthier fats can explain some of the cardio-protective effects we observed,” said lead researcher, Diane McKay, Ph.D. “But pecans also contain a number of bioactive plant compounds as well as vitamins and essential minerals that all likely contributed to this benefit. What’s really interesting is that just one small change – eating a handful of pecans daily – may have a large impact on the health of these at-risk adults.”

The study entitled “A Pecan-Rich Diet Improves Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial” is available online and will be presented at the American Society for Nutrition Annual Conference, Nutrition 2018 held in Boston this June. The study was funded by the National Pecan Shellers Association.

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The National Pecan Shellers Association (NPSA), a non-profit trade association, is committed to educating culinary and health professionals, food technologists and the general public about the nutritional benefits, the variety of uses and all around great taste of pecans.