As you know, being a quality vitamin site, we can’t say enough about the positive attributes connected with antioxidants (which are prevalent in pecans), but this new finding is awesome.
A recent research study from Loma Linda University (LLU) reveals that the organically occurring antioxidants in pecans indeed help contribute to heart health and aid disease prevention. These new and exciting findings were published in the January 2011 addition of The Journal of Nutrition. Pecans actually contain different forms of the antioxidant vitamin E (known as tocopherols) as well as several phenolic substances that portray antioxidant likeness. Pecans are very rich in one form of vitamin E known as gamma-tocopherols. The new study shows that after pecans are consumed, these same gamma-tocopherol levels in the body doubled and unhealthy oxidation of LDL (the bad) cholesterol in the blood lessened by as much as one third. Oxidized LDLs may also contribute to swelling in the arteries and put people at a higher risk of cardiovascular issues and disease.
Tests show (in this study) that ingesting pecans will amplify the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body. This protective effect is central in helping to put off expansion of a variety of diseases such as cancer and heart disease. We all know that heart disease and cancer are extremely prevalent and both are devastating diseases.
The study findings are from a research project intended to further look into the health benefits of pecans. The study investigated biomarkers in blood and urine samples from sixteen women and men that were aged between 23-44 years old. Each participant in the study consumed a sequence of 3 different diets (consisting of whole pecans, pecans mixed with water, or a control meal of the same nutrient value). These pecan meals included approximately 3 ounces of pecans each. Study samples were taken before these meals and at intervals up to 1 day after consumption of the meals.
Following the test meals made of whole pecans and water mixed pecans, researchers established that amounts of gamma-tocopherols (vitamin E) in the body doubled within 8 hours after both meals were consumed. That is remarkable. Among other helpful findings, researchers were able to note that following the “whole pecan” meal, oxidized LDL cholesterol reduced by 30% after only 2 hours, peaked at 33% after 3 hours, and 26% after the same 8 hours period.
This study is another reason to love pecans for more than making a great pie or chocolate covered delicacies. Pecans are healthy food. Research showing pecan contain anti-oxidants is nothing new. But this study is notable in the fact that it shows these anti-oxidants are actually absorbed in the body and support a protective outcome against some very high profile diseases.
Eat your pecans people!
Research from LLU previously published in the same well known nutrition journal showed that a pecan-fortified diet decreased levels of LDL cholesterol by nearly 17%. This is over twice the American Heart Association’s Step I diet (this is the diet used as the control diet in that research study). Also, the pecan-fortified diet decreased total cholesterol levels by more than 11% (still twice as much as the Step I diet).