Cisneros-Zevallos’s work provides scientific evidence supporting the traditional knowledge in the Americas that pecans are highly nutritious, said Amit Dhingra, Ph.D., head of the Department of Horticultural Sciences.
“Thanks to Dr Cisneros-Zevallos’ work, we now know what potential mechanisms underlie that nutritional benefit,” he said. “Our department is focused on the areas of sustainability, wellness and food security,
and this research illustrates the relevance of horticultural crops for human health.”
The study was conducted by an interdisciplinary collaborative team including Claudia Delgadillo Puga, Ph.D., and Ivan Torre-Villalvazo, Ph.D., at the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran, Mexico.
Cisneros-Zevallos said researchers applied pecans and high fat diets to mice models and found that pecans increased energy expenditure and reduced dysbiosis and inflammation. The study confirmed that pecans modulate adipose tissue lipolysis and mitochondrial oxidative metabolism in liver and skeletal muscle.
Anti-inflammatory properties of pecans
He also noted the anti-inflammatory properties of pecans observed in the study reduced lowgrade inflammation that leads to chronic inflammation and the development of a range of prevalent diseases. He added that this also shows pecans maintain body weight and prevent diabetes despite consumption of a high-fat diet.
Superfood, functional food, dietary supplement
The new functionality can make pecans a superfood, which can be consumed directly or utilized in the growing markets of functional foods and dietary supplements.
“This observation is key when designing strategies for studies, the more we know of unique functionalities of pecans, the more possibilities to create healthier products,” Cisneros-Zevallos said.