According to the Georgia Pecan Commission, pecans are an excellent source of oleic acid, a fatty acid found in abundance in olive oil and other monounsaturated fats. These fats have a protective effect on the blood, lowering total blood cholesterol and preserving the good HDLs that help combat heart disease.
In addition to improving cardiovascular health, pecans contain hytochemicals and are believed to be helpful in fighting some cancers, including colon and stomach cancers, according to Frank Sacks, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The nuts have also been proven to be effective for diabetics, especially those placed on low-fat diets. The fiber in pecans is mostly insoluble, which has been linked to reduced cholesterol levels and shown to be helpful in warding off colon cancer. The pecans also contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber (see nutrient values chart). Comparing fat and calories with other nuts, pecans fall right in the middle with 189 calories per ounce. However, only 1.5 grams of the pecan's fat is saturated.