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Clean Snacking: 5 Solid Pecan Benefits – Boost Immune System and Curb Cravings

Happy Sunday. I hope everyone’s having a great weekend and is doing alright despite everything going on around us.

I know it’s been a while since I’ve written on the blog, but as you know that’s because I’ve been learning my way around YouTube – if you haven’t subscribed over there already, go ahead and do it now.

With this whole virus thing going on right now I figured I’d give you guys a clean snacking post about something that has immune system boosting qualities – among a plethora of other benefits – pecans.

Usually used around Christmas time, this powerful little snack packs more punch than for just pecan pies.

I know – these aren’t cheap like peanuts, but I can give you about 5 solid reasons why you should start adding them into your grocery list and snack rotation.

If you’ve already read the last Grill Memoirs post, great – if you haven’t or need a recap, go ahead and check that one out now.

Let’s get started.

Clean Snacking: 5 Solid Pecan Benefits – Boost Immune System and Curb Cravings

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Considering the current climate around us, boosting your immune system by ensuring you’re getting the right nutrition is the way to go; and while supplementation has its time and place, nothing can beat whole food nutrition and immune system boosting foods.

What’s great about pecans in particular is, like many of the portable foods mentioned in SUPP UP. No Bull, Whole Food Military Nutrition On The Go it’s packed with nutrients and easily curbs cravings, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.

Still not convinced? Let’s do a quick rundown of those 5 solid reasons I mentioned earlier.

1. Pecans Can Prevent Oxidative Stress and Boost Your Immune System

Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post (and in both nutrition guides), pecans are high in antioxidants meaning they help you have a fighting chance against oxidative stress and inflammation. This means they’re a great post-workout snack too, considering you break your immune system down a little or a lot depending on how heavy you go each time you workout.

I always believe in eating my fats after my proteins, and because pecans release antioxidants into the blood stream pretty quickly (Hudthagosol et al, 2011), they’re perfect after a post-workout shake; plus, eating a handful or two as part of your snack rotation can be a contributing factor when wanting to boost your immune system (Kim et al, 2019).

When I talk about antioxidants, I think it’s important to mention that oxidative stress and antioxidants have a push-pull dynamic – as in, they’re both necessary when it comes to your body – if you read either of my SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides, you’ll know this from the Antioxidants chapter – if you haven’t, well…you know what to do – buy your copy now.

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2. They Can Maintain Normal Brain Function.

In addition to being antioxidant rich, pecans are pretty damn nutrient dense with things like copper, manganese and thiamine.

Copper affects your brain’s pathways involving galactose and dopamine and can help prevent free radical damage so you’re protected against neurodegenerative conditions like that of Alzheimer’s.

Manganese helps your brain’s synaptic processes (where your neurons talk to each other in your CNS – your central nervous system). Because manganese helps with the normal function of your CNS, a manganese deficiency can negatively add to decreased focus, moodiness, disabilities in learning and mental illnesses (Takeda, 2003). This does NOT mean more manganese is better, as too much of it is toxic to the CNS (Sidoryk-Wegrzynowicz & Aschner, 2013).

Thiamine (vitamin B1) is crucial to the maintenance of your CNS and brain’s function. A deficiency of it can cause brain damage like that found in alcoholics, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome (Butterworth, 2003). It helps with the development of the myelin sheath, a protective cover made up of fats and proteins that wraps around and insulates your nerve cells and neurons (in respective order) which helps send electrical signals faster and more efficiently.

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3. They Can Reduce Symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS).

You didn’t think I’d go there? Surprise – and yeah – this one’s for the ladies. As I mentioned earlier, pecans are packed with manganese, which can help reduce PMS symptoms like cramps and mood swings.

Combine manganese from pecans with calcium and they can greatly reduce symptoms; but when it comes to calcium supplements, I’d say opt for whole food sources instead as calcium supplements can contribute to calcification in the body long term (Li et al, 2018; West et al, 2010). A comprehensive list of whole food calcium sources can be found in either SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides.

4. They’re High in Protein.

This is kind of a no-brainer. Nuts in general are another great source of protein, and if you learned anything from the SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides, you know that you have your fair share of tree and ground nuts that are a good source of protein.

While not as protein packed as almonds, peanuts, or walnuts, pecans make up for it by being incredibly nutrient dense, antioxidant rich, and full of healthy fats, which brings me to my next point…

5. They’re packed with GOOD fats.

And I do mean packed – to the tune of 72 grams of fat (6 of which is saturated) per 100 grams of pecans.

Like I mentioned in the “Fats” chapters of both SUPP UP. Nutrition Guides, intake of fats has been vilified – but it shouldn’t be, because it all depends on what type of fats you’re taking in. You’ll also remember from that same chapter that there are plenty of GOOD fats that help with a host of bodily functions, but most importantly feed the heart (can you remember what percentage of the heart’s energy comes from fat? Now would be a good time to revise if you don’t).

Nuts are backed by plenty of research as being healthy, but pecans in particular with their fat content really let this quality shine through.

Consumption of nuts can contribute to decreasing the chance of cardiovascular disease because of their fatty acid profile, along with other beneficial effects on curbing your cravings for junk (appetite suppression) and glucose control (Weschenfelder, 2020) like I mentioned earlier at the beginning of this post.

Overall, pecans are proof that great things can come in small packages.

Interpret that however you want – I’m just talking about food here.

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If you really like this post and want more in-depth information like this, but don’t have the SUPP UP. books yet, buy either SUPP UP. On The Go or SUPP UP. At Home E-BOOKS now – they cost less than the shirt on your back but unlike that shirt, the knowledge gained lasts a lifetime.

If you’ve already bought the guides (hey, thanks), and like the free knowledge gained on the SUPP UP. blog – then go ahead and check out the other gear in my shop.

Pick up some whey protein for your next workout, new threads for that sleeve splitting arms day, or something else that’ll help you remember that when it comes to fueling and training your body, once you learn how to, where you are matters less.

It’s a good way to keep the blog running healthy and strong. Every item, the material, colors, style, ingredients, and quality, were all hand picked by me.

You’ve already bought all the gear and guides? Well damn – thanks. Not looking for anything in particular in return? Then go ahead and donate whatever you like.

One more thing – if you go ahead and get the books, you’ll discover what’s unique to each book recipes are available under the “Snacks” chapters (preview of chapters available in shop), and how to eliminate worries or concerns about getting the nutrition you need to stay fighting fit for when you’re deployed or at home.

Both books have recipes that provide nutritional breakdown so it makes things dead easy.

Drop by next week for yet another great post to add to your workout and nutrition arsenal.

Stop doing guesswork, start making the necessities of your life easier.

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If You Know How To Fuel and Train Your Body, Where You Are Matters Less.™

– SUPP UP.

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References

Butterworth R. F. 2003. Thiamin deficiency and brain disorders. Nutrition research reviews. [Online]. 16(2), 277–284. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1079/NRR200367

Hudthagosol, C., Haddad, E. H., McCarthy, K., Wang, P., Oda, K., & Sabaté, J. 2011. Pecans acutely increase plasma postprandial antioxidant capacity and catechins and decrease LDL oxidation in humans. The Journal of Nutrition. [Online] 141(1), 56–62. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.110.121269

Kim, Y., Keogh, J. B., & Clifton, P. M. 2019. Does Nut Consumption Reduce Mortality and/or Risk of Cardiometabolic Disease? An Updated Review Based on Meta-Analyses. International journal of environmental research and public health. [Online]. 16(24), 4957. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244957

Li, K., Wang, X. F., Li, D. Y., Chen, Y. C., Zhao, L. J., Liu, X. G., Guo, Y. F., Shen, J., Lin, X., Deng, J., Zhou, R., & Deng, H. W. 2018. The good, the bad, and the ugly of calcium supplementation: a review of calcium intake on human health. Clinical interventions in aging. [Online]. 13, 2443–2452. Available from: https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S157523

Sidoryk-Wegrzynowicz, M., Aschner, M. 2013. Manganese toxicity in the central nervous system: the glutamine/glutamate‐γ‐aminobutyric acid cycle. Journal of Internal Medicine. [Online]. 273, 466-477. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/joim.12040

Takeda, A. 2003. Manganese action in brain function. Brain research. Brain research reviews. [Online]. 41(1), 79–87. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/s0165-0173(02)00234-5

Weschenfelder, C., Schaan de Quadros, A., Lorenzon Dos Santos, J., Bueno Garofallo, S., & Marcadenti, A. 2020. Adipokines and Adipose Tissue-Related Metabolites, Nuts and Cardiovascular Disease. Metabolites. [Online]. 10(1), 32. Available from: https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo10010032

West, S. L., Swan, V. J., & Jamal, S. A. 2010. Effects of calcium on cardiovascular events in patients with kidney disease and in a healthy population. Clinical journal of the American Society of Nephrology. [Online]. CJASN, 5 Suppl 1, S41–S47. Available from: https://doi.org/10.2215/CJN.05860809

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Feature Image: Maksim Shutov
Photo 1: Jo Morales
Photo 2: Nanxi Wei
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