Eating a small handful of pecans every day could help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to a study conducted at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston.
This small crossover study involved 26 men and women, with an average age of 59. The researchers carefully planned the participants’ food intake, providing all meals in either a controlled diet or the same diet with pecans substituted for 15 percent of total calories, for four weeks at a time. Each diet was low in fruits and vegetables and in fiber, and contained the same number of calories and the same amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
For people in the study who were overweight or obese but otherwise healthy, and those with excess belly fat, incorporating pecans into the diet significantly improved insulin sensitivity and reduced markers of heart disease. Results of this study were published in Nutrients.