Healthy pecan nut, layers of the earth, and fighting cancer with dry beans


Health benefits of pecan nuts: Tree nuts, including pecan nuts, have for long been misrepresented as favouring weight gain due to their high fat contents, but it has now been scientifically shown that they are high in unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 6 (93.1%, compared to an average ratio of 86% in other nuts) that actually improve weight management. Pecan nuts are associated with health benefits such as reducing the risk of coronary heart disease (being rich in polyphenols and phyto sterols), hypertension, type II diabetes and obesity. They are high in energy, plant derived protein, dietary fibre, antioxidants (linked to brain health, which may delay a decline in cognitive function and the progression of age related neurodegeneration), vitamins E and K, tocopherols, and folate. In addittion, they are high in minerals such as magnesium, copper, selenium and potassium, important in a number of metabolic pathways in living cells. These minerals also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are regarded as the main contributors to the health benefits of tree nuts such as pecans. (Dr Ronette Lategan-Potgieter & Dr Gert Marais, SA Pecan, Summer 2016/2017).

The layers of the earth: This may sound like primary school knowledge, but the functioning of the earth’s interior remains fascinating. With the help of seismic surveys, scientists have calculated the distance from the earth’s surface to its centre to be 6 371km. The world’s deepest mine, AngloGold Ashanti’s TauTona mine near Carltonville, is only about 3,9km deep. Seismologists and geologists are of the opinion that the inner centre of the earth is a solid iron ball with a radius of about 1 200km. The outer centre consists of liquid iron and nickel presumed to be about 2 200km wide. The rotation and heat of these centres generate enormous energy, thereby creating the earth’s magnetic field. According to scientists, the layer around the centres, the mantle, consists of magma and silicate (half molten rock) and is about 2 900km wide. The increase in heat and cooling of the silicate cause the earth’s tectonite plates (sections of the earth’s crust) to move, which results in volcanic eruptions, eartquakes and tsunamis. The earth’s crust, which contains more than 5 000 well known minerals, is about 60km deep.

Fighting cancer with dry beans: Dry beans are a major protein staple food with good nutritional properties. They contain essential minerals and vitamins and very little salt. They are also free of cholesterol, control blood sugar, and possess anti-cancer potential. They are versatile and delicious and have a good shelf life. Recent research results showed that the presence of cancer was related to the level of dry beans in the diet, with the highest reduction at 60% dry bean content. At this level, cancer incidence was reduced by 41%, tumour number by 53% and tumour size by 64%. An unexpected result was that, contrary to expectations of better protection form higher antioxidants in coloured beans, one white dry bean cultivar caused more reduction than red beans. Compounds in this bean are being isolated to identify the beneficial one. (Source: CSA News, August 2014). Also visit www.beans.co.za for more information.