The first day of November marks the start of Georgia Pecan Month.
Georgia leads the nation in producing this crunchy, buttery nut, with an average of 88 million pounds harvested each season, which reaches its peak in November. For the second year in a row and due to favorable weather conditions, the Georgia Pecan Commission expects a substantial crop estimated to yield approximately 100 million pounds.
Eating a handful (18-20 raw halves) of pecans a day as part of a heart-healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) has added Georgia Pecans to its list of certified heart-healthy foods. After an extensive certification process, packages of Georgia Pecan halves and Georgia Pecan pieces now display the Heart-Check mark signifying its heart-healthy status.
“Georgia Pecans are heart-healthy and taste delicious,” said Duke Lane Jr., chairman of the Georgia Pecan Commission. “We’re pleased that the American Heart Association has recognized the health benefits of Georgia-grown pecans.”
Georgia Pecans are also an excellent source of antioxidants. With the highest amount of antioxidants of any other tree nut, Georgia Pecans have earned the title, The AntioxiNUT.
In addition to being heart-healthy, pecans also may reduce cholesterol levels. Research from California’s Loma Linda University and New Mexico State University shows levels of LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) drop when pecans are incorporated into a daily diet. Pecans get their cholesterol-lowering ability from a type of “good fat” found in the nuts, and the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound.
Georgia Pecans also are naturally gluten-free.