Densie Webb, Ph.D., R.D. co-author of “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous!” answers questions about diets, health and pecans.
Q. How can eating nuts, like Georgia Pecans, improve the nutrient profile of my diet?
A. Let me count the ways. A recently published analysis of national dietary survey data among Americans (from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey NHANES 1999-2004) found that eating tree nuts, including pecans, was associated with improved nutrient intake and diet quality. Specifically, consumers of pecans and all tree nuts, had higher intakes of several important nutrients, including fiber, vitamins A, C and E, calcium, magnesium and potassium, all nutrients that were identified by the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee as those that fell short of recommended intakes in the diets of most adults.
On average, those who ate tree nuts consumed 5 grams more fiber a day, 3.7 mg more alpha tocopherol (vitamin E), 73 mg more calcium, 95 mg more magnesium and 260 mg more potassium than those who didn’t eat tree nuts at all. In addition, sodium intake was significantly lower in tree nut consumers compared to nonconsumers. Overall, diet quality was significantly better among those who ate tree nuts, including pecans. The authors of the analysis suggested that specific dietary recommendations for nut consumption should be provided for consumers to improve their diets.