The pecan (Carya illinoinensis) tree is native to the southern United States and Mexico. The fruit of the pecan tree is a nut with an oblong husk that’s also known as a pecan. Like most tree nuts, pecans are a nutritious food that's high in unsaturated fats, fiber and protein. They’re also high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can reduce the risk of heart disease, and in healthy plant compounds called phytonutrients.
Pecans are used in food in a variety of ways and are an especially common ingredient in snack foods and desserts. They may also be eaten by themselves as a snack. Pecans are also traditionally used in Southern sweet desserts and can be roasted, with or without added salt or sugar, and added to any meal.
A serving of pecans contains a total of 196 calories. Fat accounts for 171 calories, carbohydrates contribute 15 calories, and proteins provide the remaining 10 calories. A serving of pecans provides 9.8 percent of the daily value (DV) for calories, assuming a diet of 2,000 calories per day. These nuts are relatively calorie-dense and you should consider their calorie content when planning your daily meals.
A serving of pecans contains a total of 20.4 grams of fat, which is 31 percent of the DV for fat. This total includes 1.8 grams of saturated fat, which is 9 percent of the DV for saturated fat. Like all plant-based foods, pecans don’t have any cholesterol. Consuming nuts such as pecans can help lower your risk of coronary artery disease and other circulatory problems, according to a review paper published in the July 2010 issue of "Nutrients."
Carbohydrates and Protein
A serving of pecans contains a total of 3.9 grams of carbohydrates, including 1.2 grams of complex carbohydrates, 2.7 grams of dietary fiber and 1.1 grams of simple sugar. This provides about 1 percent of the DV for total carbohydrates and 11 percent of the DV for dietary fiber. A serving of pecans also contains 2.6 grams of protein, which is 5 percent of the DV for protein.
A serving of pecans has 116.2 milligrams of potassium, which is about 3 percent of the DV for potassium. An equal amount of pecans also contains 17 percent of the DV for copper, 12 percent of the DV for thiamin, 9 percent of the DV for magnesium, 9 percent of the DV for zinc and 8 percent of the DV for phosphorus, making it a rich food source of these vitamins.