Manyof us probably remember our first encounter with pecans, whether it was during Thanksgiving dinner in the form of pecan pie or in our banana pecan pancakes the next morning for breakfast. The common Thanksgiving delicacy may wreak havoc on our waistline, but pecan nuts alone contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals, and the highest levels of antioxidants of all tree nuts. A handful of pecans contain nutrients that could protect us from serious illness, such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Pecans contain more fat than just about any other nut, but the unsaturated fat in pecans is heart-healthy, making them a healthy option you can enjoy fresh, roasted, or incorporated into various recipes. These nuts are a good source of protein, magnesium, and vitamin E, with almost all minerals containing a low-carbohydrate content. Eating about a handful of pecans each day may play a role in protecting our mind and body.

Click “View Slideshow” to see the six healing powers of pecans.