- Pecan, Carya illinoinensis a member of plant family Juglandaceae is native to North America. It is the state tree of Texas and Native Americans are found to have used it for its medicinal value. Pecan tree may grow up to a height of 44 m with flowering happening in the spring season. .
- Though it used to grow wildly; in the recent years it has been included in the list of the major fruits that are domesticated.
- Pecan trees can last up to 300 years of which it continues to bear fruits annually.
- Apart from Northen America it is now cultivated in some countries of Africa, southern America, Asia and also in Australia.
- This is an important forest tree of the United States and has economical advantage.
- The nut is edible and the charcoal and fuelwoods are used as fuels.
- The wood of the tree is also useful.
- Culinary use of pecan: It is edible both in raw state and can also be used in making other meals such as desserts. It is also commonly used by some people in preparation of savory meals. The famous pecan pie which is a common delicacy in the Southern United States derives its name from pecans which forms part of its key ingredients. New Orleans is another state that has a common candy that contains pecans; Praline candy.
- Health benefits of pecans include reduced risk of high cholesterol levels, hypertension, diabetes, gallstone disease and cancer.
- It has antioxidant properties and helps in weight management.
- It also protects vital organs from toxic effects of Cyclophosphamide.
- Being in the class of fruits pecans are known to have nutrients which are required by the body for good health. Pecans contain protein, energy, fiber, amino acids, fats, starch and sugars. Other nutrients contained in this fruit include thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, Beta-carotene, folate, folic acid and vitamins A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K. Amongst minerals it is rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Consuming a handful of pecans translates to ingestion of different types of nutrients into the body that would have been impossible even on taking the laboratory prepared supplements.
- Low cholesterol levels
- Healthy heart
- Abundant antioxidants
- Weight control
- Anti-toxicity properties