Pecan nutritional properties

(Carya illinoinensis)

What are pecans?

Pecans are the fruits of pecan, which is also known as pecan hickory (Carya illionensis).

It is a deciduous tree native to the southern United States, which was already used by ancient American Indians. Such is its importance in the region, that, since 1919, it is the official state tree of Texas.

properties of pecans.

Pecans are oily nuts, because they have a hard shell and an almond-like inside which is rich in fat.

The shell is wood colored and ovoid: It has 4 ribs and pointed ends. The fruits can measure 4cm. in diameter, and some varieties have such a thin shell, that can be broken easily.

They have a pleasant taste and their nutritional value is very high, mainly because of their fats Omega 9, as those containing olive oil.

What flavor are pecans and how to cook them?

Pecan is considered a select fruit because of its sensory quality. It tastes nice and crispy, much like walnut nut, but they have a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Savory recipes

They can be prepared with pesto sauce, stir fried, with vegetables in wok, add to meat stews or rice with curry. It provides a crisp and tasty touch to the dishes makes them an exquisite flavor.

They are also prepared simply toasted in the pan with a little salt. Set aside in a glass jar to take during the week as salty snack. (This last preparation is not recommended for people with heart disease.)

Sweet recipes

It can be offered with other nuts like in musician desserts, in other recipes they appear candied, caramelized, coated with chocolate, or added to the elaborations of pastries, breads, cookies, chocolates, candies, crackers, ice cream, etc.

* See some pecans recipes:

Nuts cocktail

Candied pecans

Roasted pecans

Nutritional value of pecans

Nutritional composition of pecans per 100g.



Calories (kcal.)


Carbohydrates (g.)


Proteins (g.)


Fats (g.)


Fiber (g.)


Calcium (mg.)


Magnesium (mg.)


Phosphorus (mg.)


Sodium (mg.)


Potassium (mg.)


Iron (mg.)


Zinc (mg.)


Copper (mg.)


Manganese (mg.)


Selenium (mcg.)


Vitamin E (mg. ATE*)



Water (g.)


Pecans are rich in healthy fats, energy food and also give us a lesser extent, good quality protein, fiber, vitamin E, minerals and trace elements.

They are very rich in fat (70% of its composition), mainly contains oleic acid (Omega 9) and, to a lesser extent linoleic acid (Omega 6).

Omega 9 has numerous health benefits when combined with a balanced diet: it is anti-inflammatory, helps reduce cholesterol and hypertension, prevent Alzheimer’s, dementia and help to improve memory.

– The high fat content of the fruit is balanced with healthy fiber content, which is close to 10%. It is insoluble fiber, with properties to satisfy the appetite and slightly laxative.

– Pecans give us also arginine, an essential amino acid that has beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system as a vasodilator and to treat heart disease.

– Like other nuts, pecans composition is rich in minerals and trace elements. These foods should be taken quite often, since they are a good supply of minerals.

In particular, pecans is rich in zinc and selenium, two minerals with powerful antioxidant properties. Zinc is a mineral that is often deficient in modern diets, but has a very important role for the body as an essential element for fertility and for the immune system.

Who is recommended to take pecans?

Pecans are recommended to the whole population in general, in portions of 20 – 35g. daily. They are an energizing, healthy and nutritious food, which can be taken in all stages of life.

Diseases of cardiovascular system and fluid retention

Because of its very low sodium content, its contribution in potassium and trace elements, in addition to the already mentioned nutrients, they are recommended for people with high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, fluid retention, edema, low-sodium diets or problems of blood circulation.

Reinforcement of minerals and trace elements

Minerals and trace elements it contains are interesting especially in the following situations:

– During stages of growth, for children breakfast or snack, as well as minerals for bone growth, since they provide energy and quality proteins.

Diet for athletes: is a supplement of minerals such as magnesium, which helps prevent muscle cramps and improves muscle recovery after sport. Also interesting because of the content of trace elements to replenish electrolytes, which help restore minerals lost through sweat.

Stress: Pecans can help treat stress because it contains healthy fats, antioxidant minerals that fight free radicals generated by stress. B vitamins provide with energizing functions, which help keep pace with busy life.

properties of pecans.

Summary of the properties of pecans.

Pecans: an extra of antioxidants in the diet

Pecans are rich in pro-vitamin E, selenium and zinc; all of them, antioxidant components. These help to improve the appearance of the skin, and are necessary especially if there are oxidizing factors such as smoking and stress.


Moderate consumption of pecans is recommended for people with overweight or obese, because of its healthy nutritional value.

Despite its high energy value, pecans are not contraindicated in obesity diet. Scientific studies have shown the benefits of moderate consumption of pecans to reduce cholesterol levels.

It has also been shown that vegetable oils and nuts are most suitable to reduce appetite.

To achieve all their positive effects, moderate consumption of pecans must be balanced with heart-healthy foods.

Products with pecans

Whole pecans: They are whole seeds, that can be eaten as dried fruit or in different dishes, as discussed above. They are among the richest nuts in fat, so their energy value is considerable. With these fruits we can prepare sweets, ice cream, cakes, cookies, candied nuts, caramel or chocolate.

Pecan flour

Pecan flour

Pecan flour: It is the product resulting from the milling of pecans. It is recommended to work out at home, with the help of turmix, just before use. If purchased, the aromas are lost with storage time.

In the shops you will find them under the name of pecan flour, or pecan meal. This flour is used to make cakes without cereal flour, especially focused on low-carb diets such as the Dukan diet.

Where to buy pecans?

– Pecans can be purchased in local markets, supermarkets, specialty food shops, nuts stores, in stores that sell bulk products, etc. If we do not find them in these places, we can consult on trusted online stores.

– Try to choose nuts of a rather thick or fat variety, choosing larg fruits. There are some smaller varieties of pecans. They all have different taste.

– Whole (shelled) pecans are conserved between 3 and 6 months in a cool, dry place. It is recommended to store them in a sealed glass jar.

More information on pecans.

This article was endorsed by Elisenda Carballido - Dietitian nutritionist. Postgraduate in Phytotherapy and master in Nutrition and Metabolism.
Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

20 October, 2021

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