The pecan is native to North America. It grows on a tall (to 40 m) deciduous trees nut family, genus Carya or Hickory (Indian name). Scientific name: Carya illinoinensis.
Pecans have long been prized by North American Indians who considered it a sacred plant: care, cared, strongly guarded and never parted with the fruit of that tree. If the Indians had transfer to another place, they always took a seed and planted in a new place, what contributed to the expansion of the growing area of sweet pecan.
A close relative of the pecan – walnut, which, though it belongs to another genus nut family, however visually they most resemble each other. The fruit of the pecan is more elongated than walnut: cylindrical or oblong-ovate, pointed at the top. Fruit surface smooth, without bugristoe and acting like a walnut side seam. The color is nut – brown in various shades.
The internal structure of pecans has almost no walls, the base and the seam is totally closed, without a soft layer, which is available in walnut.
Due to this particular fruit of the pecan, is a dangerous pest for walnut moth cannot penetrate, so wormy pecan almost never happens. Another advantage in this structure of the shell – and – long shelf life and doesn’t go rancid.
Pecans are harvested, usually from October to December. The collected nuts are subjected to dehydration (drying) it is of great value for subsequent storage.
Most walnut varieties have a bitter taste. Ripe pecan nut does not have this disadvantage and has a pleasant sweet taste.
Almost half of the collection of walnut are the two us States of Texas and Oklahoma. Wood pecan has even become a symbol of the state of Texas, and the branch with pecans adorns its coat of arms.
In other continents, the spread of plantations of pecan trees is not widespread because of the irregularity of fruiting, which happens at intervals of 1-3 years.
If you strictly follow the criteria of botany, the fruit of the pecan is a false drupe.
The composition of the Pecan
Almost three quarters of the nut (72%) is fat, which allocates pecans from a number of other nuts by a high content of valuable omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. For their content the pecan is second only to walnut.
A lot of protein and fiber, moderate amounts of carbohydrates.
Pecans contain vitamins: A, E, b (Niacin, Riboflavin, thiamine, etc.), Lutein, Zeaxanthin. It should be noted that isomers of tocopherol (vitamin E), which is rich in pecans effectively save the arteries from inflammation.
Pecans are a rich source of micro and macro elements such as manganese, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus.
Useful properties of pecan
High calorie nuts – 400 g is sufficient to fully cover the energy consumption of an adult imposes constraints on the rate of daily consumption of this delicacy, it is equal to 30-40 Gy. (about a handful), and a high protein content improves performance.
Pecans are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid and polyunsaturated (omega-3 and omega-6). Regular intake of pecan nuts in the diet helps reduce total and “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and increases the “good cholesterol” (HDL) levels, decrease total cholesterol and contribute to plant sterols, fiber.
According to research a diet that is rich in dietary fiber, monounsaturated fatty acids and antioxidant helps to prevent disease of the cardiovascular system, improves blood lipid profile.
Pecans are an excellent source of phenolic antioxidants (ellagic acid), which in combination with other antioxidants (vitamin E, beta-carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin), allow the body to neutralize toxic free radicals, thus protecting the body from various infections, including cancer.
B vitamins contribute to normal functioning of the nervous system (the nerve impulse). Regular consumption of pecans delays age-related degeneration of nervous tissue, which is a natural process, thus the influence of walnut on neurological health.
Clinical studies have shown that 35 g of pecan nuts a day reduces the risk of formation of gall stones in women.
Due to the content of manganese, pecans enhances the action of insulin, which is very necessary for patients with diabetes.
The trace element zinc improves sexual function, it is necessary for sperm motility.
Potassium and magnesium regulate the balance of electrolytes in the body, thereby preventing the occurrence of heart rhythm disturbances.