All About Pecans - From History To Health

Like most other nuts, Pecans contain an abundance of nutrients – minerals, vitamins, healthy fats, fiber, antioxidants, protein, and various plant compounds that offer the eater numerous health benefits! Pecans (Carya Illinoinensis) a species of Hickory are the edible seeds from the sizeable deciduous Pecan tree. Cultivated for their nuts originally in the southern parts of North America and Mexico, producing almost half of the world's pecans. Our Pecans are grown right here in southeast Queensland, Australia.

Around the year 1500 pecans came onto the food scene in native America, its name originating from the Algonquins (an indigenous tribe) meaning “a nut that requires a stone to crack”. (1)

In a little town called San Saba stands what Texan's believed to be the "Mother Tree" and considered to be the source of the state's production. Alabama, Arkansas, and California also adopted the Pecan as their state tree, but it was Texas that was named “Pecan capital of the world”.

Pecans are a sweet, rich and buttery nut. They are slightly bitter but with notes of caramel. Historically a desert nut and most famous for the delicious dish pecan pie, (which originated from Oklahoma). Pecans make an ideal snack, condiment, or ingredient in many sweet and savory dishes. 

Pecans have a fat content of over 70%, which is the highest among all the nuts. Pecans are an excellent source of B vitamins, most specifically B1 they also contain plenty of antioxidants — also, a high mineral profile, specifically Manganese, Magnesium, Zinc, and Copper.

Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), Pecans have a very low glycaemic load, are low in cholesterol and sodium and have a macronutrient ratio of 87% Fat, 5% protein and 8% carbohydrate (the majority of this being in the form of fiber). They are an excellent source of the mineral Manganese

The critical nutrient values below serving of 1 small handful (around 28g). (2) (3)

Calories: 193 kcal

Protein: 2.6 grams

Fat: 20.0 grams

·      Saturated Fat   1.7g

·      Monounsaturated Fat  11.4g

·      Polyunsaturated Fat     6.1g

·      Omega-3         276mg

·      Omega-6         5777mg

Carbs: 3.9 grams (of which 2.7g is from Fibre)

Manganese: 1.3mg (63% of the RDI)

Copper: 0.3mg (17%)

Zinc: 1.3mg (8%)

Phosphorus: 77.5mg (8%)

Magnesium: 33.9mg (8%)

Iron: 0.7mg (4%)

Vitamin B1: 0.2 mg (12%)

Vitamin B6: 0.1mg (3%)

Vitamin E: 0.4mg (2%)

What does Manganese do for you?

Just one handful of pecans contain 63% of your daily recommended intake!

It is an essential mineral that is symbiotic with Iron. Manganese is a crucial player in many of your body's chemical processes, including the synthesis of nutrients like cholesterol, carbohydrates, and protein. Manganese (as well as copper) are two minerals that boost your overall metabolic health. Manganese has anti-inflammatory benefits and has been shown to help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.  Manganese is involved in the formation of bone mass and helps to balance hormones which influence nearly every aspect of your health and wellbeing. Manganese is an essential trace mineral needed for many vital functions, including nutrient absorption, production of digestive enzymes, bone development, and immune system defenses. (4)

The high amounts of Manganese (as well as Copper, Zinc, and some other nutrients) have been used to treat the symptoms of Osteoporosis related bone loss in women. (5)


Flavonoids are a group of antioxidant phytonutrients that, are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables. (6)

According to the USDA - Pecans contain the highest amount of Flavonoids than any other nut! These potent plant-based compounds display an impressive antioxidant effect and have been shown to decrease the risk of chronic illness and disease.

Maintaining high energy and a healthy weight

A diet high in quality fats can help you feel full for longer. Pecans high monounsaturated fat content, as well as certain vitamins and minerals, impacts the Grehlin hormone, which influences weight maintenance. When Grehlin levels are high in the brain, there is an increase in stress hormones as well as the desire to eat a lot. An active metabolism and overall robust system are necessary for healthy weight loss.

Copper is responsible for over 50 different metabolic enzyme reactions. It is necessary for maintaining a fast metabolism, and in the creation of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the body’s source of energy. Thiamine (B1) is necessary for a healthy metabolism and in boosting energy in ATP production and in the production of red blood cells, which your body also uses as an energy fuel source. (7) (8)


Pecans Contain Zinc, which is crucial for the function and development of the immune system. 

Brain and heart

Pecans contain an impressive amount of monounsaturated healthy fats. Also, other beneficial fats and antioxidants, which are vital for protecting against atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular imbalances, diabetes and are beneficial for your brain. They assist in the reduction of inflammation, LDL “bad “cholesterol, and due to the levels of Thiamine (B1), can improve the overall functioning of your heart and brain. (9) (10)

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace the one on one support of a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

By Linda Ross ICNT
Integrative Nutritionist
Body, Mind and Eating Coach
Wholefood Chef 




Linda is currently teaching and consulting Globally. Specializing in identifying the underlying factors of chronic stress and related conditions, using clinical and holistic techniques. Blending ancient wisdom that is backed up by the modern science of nutrition to nourish the body and support people of all ages in understanding and transforming their health and wellbeing.

Links to connect with Linda:
Instagram: @nourishing_ways