Year after year, losing weight and getting healthy are two of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. But just 8% of people actually make good on their goal.

While slimming down isn’t easy, making a few simple substitutions can make all the difference for your waistline and your health. For instance, instead of grabbing a handful of potato chips, try substituting Georgia Pecans. Below are four surprising ways that Georgia Pecans can boost your health: 

1. Life Extender

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital University found that people who ate one ounce of nuts, including pecans, seven days a week had

  • A 20% lower chance of dying from a variety of causes such as heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness and cancer.
  • People who consumed a modest amount of nuts regularly were leaner, ate a healthier diet, exercised more often and were less likely to smoke.

2. The AntioxiNUT

Crunchy and delicious, pecans also pack a nutritional punch. Dubbed the “AntioxiNUT” Georgia Pecans have

  • The highest level of antioxidants among all tree nuts
  • Are one of the USDA’s top 20 foods for antioxidant capacity

The antioxidant compounds found naturally in pecans - including vitamin E, ellagic acid and flavonoids, - are believed to help prevent disease-causing oxidation in cells which has been linked to developing heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, among others.

3. Heart Health Helper

The American Heart Association has certified Georgia Pecans (halves and pieces) as a Heart Check-mark food for its contribution to an overall heart-healthy diet.*

Research from California’s Loma Linda University and New Mexico State University suggests pecans may help lower levels of so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL) when included as part of a daily diet. Pecans get this cholesterol-lowering ability, in part, from the presence of beta-sitosterol, a natural cholesterol-lowering compound. Eating one-and-a-half ounces of pecans a day (27 to 30 pecan halves), as part of a heart-healthy diet, may even reduce the risk of heart disease.

3. Weight Loss Stabilizer

When it comes to weight loss, enjoying Georgia Pecans are a smart option.

  • Clinical research from Harvard suggests that as nut consumption increases, body fat and overall weight actually decreases.
  • People following a weight-loss diet containing 35 percent of calories from fat, including pecans, were able to keep weight off longer than people following a traditionally recommended lower fat diet.

Nuts are a part of most universally accepted balanced diets, such as the "Mediterranean Diet," which includes fish, poultry, vegetables, fresh and dried fruit, nuts, grains, olives and olive oil. And pecans are naturally gluten-free.

“Let’s face it, nuts can get a bad rap for being 'fattening',” says registered dietitian Carolyn O’Neil, a Georgia Pecan spokesperson and author of Slim Down South: Eating Well and Living Healthy in the Land of Biscuits and Bacon. “In reality, Georgia Pecans are good for your health and your waistline. They're not only high in protein, but also in oleic acid, the same type of healthy fat found in olive oil.

“Enjoying a few Georgia Pecans as a nutritious snack can also help keep hunger at bay so you don't over eat at meals. A handful - not a ‘can-ful’  - of Georgia Pecans is a smart choice.”

O’Neil explains that a small portion of pecans make a great addition to every meal. She adds them to oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, substitutes pecans for croutons in lunchtime salads for a flavorful crunch, or at dinnertime, uses ground pecans with a variety of seasonings as a delicious breading for meat or fish.

Any way you chop them, Georgia Pecans are a tasty addition to just about every recipe.

* Please note that the Heart-Check Food Certification does not apply to recipes, scientific research by an organization other than the AHA, and links to other information unless expressly stated.  For more information, see the AHA nutrition guidelines at: heartcheckmark.org/guidelines

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