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'Georgia Pecans Fit!': New Campaign Highlights Health Benefits, Recipes, Web Site

Nutrition Expert Kathleen M. Zelman To Serve as Spokesperson

ATLANTA, Sept. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- The Georgia Pecan Commission has launched "Georgia Pecans Fit!" -- a new campaign that emphasizes healthy eating habits and a balanced lifestyle -- and it is being promoted through a new Web site, recipes and information about the benefits of eating pecans.

The newly redesigned Web site -- -- debuts Sept. 26, and is a focal point of the program. Its content emphasizes the health and versatility of pecans from Georgia. The new site features scientific findings naming pecans as one of the leading foods as a source of antioxidants. This scientific research illustrates how pecans rank as the leading tree nut among the top food sources boasting significant levels of antioxidant compounds. Disease-fighting antioxidants are considered helpful in the fight against cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and other chronic diseases.

At the forefront of the health-focused portion of the fall campaign is Georgia Pecan Commission spokesperson Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. Zelman is a leading expert on dietary and nutritional topics. Zelman was a former spokesperson for The American Dietetic Association for twelve years.

In keeping with the theme, "Georgia Pecans Fit! All Seasons. All Reasons." -- recipes featuring the tasty, crunchy, naturally delicious nut will be provided on the Web site for year-round meal, snack, salad and dessert ideas.

"With the valuable information from the USDA research, combined with findings by Loma Linda University that underscore the heart-healthy benefits of pecans, we wanted to share the news with consumers to encourage healthier eating habits and lifestyles," said Jimmy Champion, Georgia Pecan Commission chairman. "Kathleen Zelman adds further credibility with her extensive credentials and well established reputation as a national expert in her field."

Bursting with beneficial antioxidants, pecans were the sole nut cited in the list of "Top 20 Fruits, Vegetables and Nuts" that were named as the Best Sources of Food Antioxidants, by a 2004 USDA study. The study reportedly is the largest, most comprehensive and most complete analysis of the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods conducted to date.

In addition, this marked the first data on nuts, as well as spices, compiled by USDA researchers. While findings determined the antioxidant capacity of the foods, further research is needed to better understand how the body absorbs and utilizes these compounds to combat cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's, officials noted.

Research released by Loma Linda University in 2006 revealed how adding a mere handful of pecans to a healthy diet could help control "bad cholesterol" that can build up and lead to clogged arteries.

Those findings are "consistent with the Food and Drug Administration's qualified health claim that states, 'Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces of most nuts, such as pecans, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease.'"

"Pecans are a natural way to get more protein, fiber, healthy fats and vitamin E into your diet and if you control the portion size, they can help satisfy hunger and manage weight. Adding a handful of pecans into your meal plans is a great way to add taste, texture and good nutrition to dishes from sweet to savory," suggests Zelman.

According to the Georgia Pecan Commission, Georgia historically produces more pecans than any other state in the nation. With the peak of the fall harvest in November, it is no wonder that the state's governors have traditionally proclaimed this month as "Georgia Pecan Month." The pecan harvest -- from mid-October into December -- will yield, on average, 88 million pounds of the sweet-tasting nut. The 2007 harvest is projected to yield 100 million pounds of Georgia pecans.

SOURCE Georgia Pecan Commission
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