Ask the NUTritionist
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: I have high blood pressure and I'm trying to avoid high-sodium foods. Is it okay to eat pecans?
A: Not only is it okay, health experts say nuts, like Georgia pecans, should be a regular part your blood pressure-lowering diet.
Contrary to what you might have heard, pecans are naturally sodium-free; only when salt is added during processing do they become a high-salt food to be avoided.
Pecans and other nuts are an important part of the diet most often recommended for high blood pressure--the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. It was developed by the National Institutes of Health and has the seal of approval of health experts because it's been proven in several studies as a way to lower blood pressure without medication.
The diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and a recommendation to eat 4 to 5 servings (1 1/2 ounces each) of nuts or seeds a week. Pecans are a natural part of that dietary recommendation, though macadamias and cashews are not because they are higher in saturated fat.