Great snack for healthy diet. For tasteful ice creams, cakes and pies. 1. A research study conducted at Loma Linda University and published in the September 2001 issue of the Journal of Nutrition has confirmed what many pecan lovers have known all along. Pecans not only taste good, but they are good for you - especially when it comes to lowering cholesterol levels. They found that adding just a handful of pecans to a traditional low-fat, cholesterol-lowering diet can have a dramatic impact on the diet's effectiveness. When the Loma Linda study participants were on the pecan-enriched diet, they lowered their total and LDL ("bad") cholesterol twice as much as they did when they ate the American Heart Association (AHA) Step I diet. Just as importantly, the pecan-enriched diet lowered blood triglyceride levels and helped maintain desirable levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol compared to the Step I diet, which often unfavorably raises triglycerides and usually lowers HDL levels. 2. Pecans can't mend your broken heart, but they can help protect it. The plant sterols in pecans help battle heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels, and according to research performed at New Mexico State University, a ? cup portion of pecans daily can significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels in the blood, helping to clear the arteries. The nutrients in pecans ain't so bad for you either -- zinc helps guard against infections, vitamin E protects against cancer, and vitamin A helps keep your complexion clear.