Monday, February 18, 2013

Don’t be too dismayed if you think you can’t enjoy chocolate-covered pecans due to watching your weight---chocolate-covered pecans are available as sugar-free! They are delicious and surprisingly good for you!

Benefits Of Chocolate And Pecans:

Pecans contain plant sterols which help battle heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Research from New Mexico State University indicates that a cup of pecans a day can dramatically lower LDL cholesterol levels, helping to clear arteries. Additionally, pecans boast of being nutritionally beneficial; they contain zinc which bolsters the immune system, vitamin E serves as a cancer fighter and vitamin A helps keep skin healthy.

Chocolate-covered pecans are available in white-chocolate form, milk chocolate and dark chocolate varieties. For what it’s worth, one ounce of milk chocolate has only a bit more caffeine than any residual caffeine you would find in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. White chocolate has no caffeine at all.  Flavorings, such as Amaretto, Caramel, Butterscotch and Toffee can be added to the chocolate to suit the tastes of just about everyone:

The health benefits of dark chocolate might surprise you. Dark chocolate, especially, contains potent amounts of antioxidants. It has measurably more antioxidants than red wine, which is considered a very good source of antioxidants, on its own. Antioxidants are molecules which are scientifically proven to effectively combat infections and diseases, including cancer.

So, when you combine the health benefits of pecans and dark chocolate, you create a perfect combination of flavor, nutrition and wellness!

A Brief History:

Pecans have been providing a nourishing component of the world’s diet for thousands of years.  Ancient Native Americans and the Aztecs and Mayans savored the pecan. Aztecs and Mayans were ritualistic with preparing liquefied chocolate for their sacred ceremonies. In fact, the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, drank 50 golden goblets of liquid chocolate every day---flavored with chili peppers!

With the advent of the Spanish discovering native South American tribes in the 1500’s, the introduction of drinking melted chocolate eventually became known throughout Europe; and was considered very fashionable as a drink among the Europeans during the 1600,s.

It wasn’t until the 19th century that it became common to dip pretzels, fruits, pecans and other nuts into liquid chocolate.

Appreciation for chocolate-covered pecans hasn’t diminished if one considers the United States pays homage to luscious chocolate and delightful nuts by observing National Chocolate-Covered Nuts Day every February 25th.

Little-Known Pecan Facts:

The pecan tree is the state tree of Texas. One Texas pecan farmer has over 6,000 acres of pecan trees; and the harvested pecans are used towards the creation of--you guessed it--chocolate-covered pecans.

The state of Georgia, however, ranks as the Pecan Capital of the world.  Over 600,000 pecan trees call Georgia their home. The U.S. produces over 80% of the world’s pecan crop; and some pecan companies sell over 150,000 pounds of pecans each day!

There are over 1,000 varieties of pecans and many are named after Native American tribes. Pecans vary in size ranging from mammoth, to extra-large, large, medium, small and midget.

Did you know that if the human body doesn’t receive adequate amounts of zinc, that particular deficiency can negatively affect the body’s ability to produce testosterone? Pecans have an abundance of zinc content and provide 10% of the daily allowance of this mineral.  Hmm….

The chocolate and pecan ‘marriage’ is a perfect blend! They are both delicious and their combined health benefits are remarkable.  Enjoy this non-decadent indulgence that only tastes sinful!

About The Author:

Karen is a part-time writer who is a recently retired school teacher. She writes on food-related topics including chocolate pecans

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