Research shows that antioxidants which are naturally found in pecan nuts could contribute to a healthy heart and prevention of disease. Pecan nuts have different kinds of the vitamin E antioxidant called tocopherols, as well as a number of phenolic substances, a lot of them having antioxidant abilities. Pecans are particularly abundant with gamma-tocopherols, a form of vitamin E. The results show that after pecan nut consumption, levels of gamma-tocopherol in the body increased by twice the amount and unhealthy oxidation of blood cholesterol decreased as much as 33%. Oxidized LDLs could also contribute to artery inflammation and put individuals at a higher risk of cardiovascular issues.
Biomarkers in urine and blood samples were analyzed from a total of 16 women and men aged 23 – 44 who consumed a sequence of 3 diets made up of pecans blended with water, whole pecans, or a control meal of similar nutritional make up. The pecan meals were comprised of about 3 ounces of pecan nuts. Samples were obtained before meals and at intervals about 24 hours after eating.
Gamma-tocopherol volumes in the body doubled 8 hours after the test meals made up of blended pecans and whole pecans, and also an increase of a scientific method used to measure antioxidant potency in the blood known as oxygen radical absorbance capabilities 2 hours after the meals. After the whole-pecan meal, there was also a decrease by 30% after 2 hours of oxidized LDL cholesterol, a 33% decrease after 3 hours, and a 26% decrease after 8 hours.
Prior research revealed that a pecan nut rich diet reduced LDL cholesterol levels by 16.5%, more than double the AHA’s Step I diet, the diet which was used as the study control. The total cholesterol levels were also reduced by 11.3% with the pecan nut rich diet, also double the Step I diet.