Are Pecans Paleo?


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again, the first step to living a Paleo lifestyle is to consume plants, animals, nuts, and seeds. In that order. Pecans can therefore be included as part of a healthy Paleo lifestyle, but there is a catch.

The Good News

Pecans are an extremely rich source of manganese, a vital nutrient for development, maintaining a healthy metabolism, and a strong immune system. Pecans are also an excellent source of zinc, potassium, phosphorous, and magnesium. As far as vitamins, pecans are one of the richest sources of B vitamins available to us (most notably thiamine) as well as containing a significant amount of vitamin E.

Pecans are fairly high in carbohydrates, but also rich in fiber, putting them in a fairly low spot on the glycemic index. They are also rich in protein and fat, most of which is Paleo-friendly mono-unsaturated fat.

The Bad News

Although high in nutrients, pecans also contain an anti-nutrient known as phytic acid (a.k.a. “phytates”) which binds to minerals and prevents our bodies from being able to absorb nutrients. This can lead to mineral deficiencies and digestive issues when consumed in excess, so pecans should always be eaten in moderation.

Chris Kresser has an excellent post on the phytic acid content of pecans in relation to other foods here.