Are Walnuts Healthier Than Almonds?


Are walnuts healthier than almonds? A trick question! We both love them as snacks and as an ingredient in recipes. But, when I first heard of this question, I was also intrigued and asked myself the same question. So I immediately researched about them and was amazed at the results. I can’t wait to share them with you, so let’s get crunching!

Both the tree nuts are healthy, in general. Yet in some ways, it seems like the walnuts are healthier than the almonds. It is also more preferred to be eaten than almonds due to their nutritional content. On the other hand, almonds also make an excellent nutritional choice. So which nut is really healthier?

Well, I encourage you to keep on reading so that we can compare these two nuts so that we determine which one is healthier. Let’s also see why almonds can’t keep up with our top nut, the walnut.

Are Walnuts Healthier Than Almonds?

Walnuts and almonds are nearly a perfect match since they have almost similar nutritional profiles. All kinds of nuts are beneficial for blood sugar management, heart health, brain boost, and healthy weight loss. Yet in some studies, one may favor the other.

Nutritional Value Comparison

Since they are almost similar in terms of nutritional value, let’s take a look at which nut has unique mineral content which can benefit us all. Below is a nutritional comparison of one serving (1-ounce) of each, about 7 walnuts and 23 almonds, respectively.

30 gramsWalnutsAlmonds
Calories185170
Fat18.5 grams15 grams
Protein4.3 grams6 grams
Carbohydrates4 grams6 grams
Fiber2 grams3 grams
Vitamin E1.3% of the Daily Value (DV)45% of the DV
Phosphorus8% of the DV11% of the DV
Magnesium11% of the DV19% of the DV

Taking a closer look at the almonds section, it seems like it won the race in terms of having a higher mineral and macronutrient content. However, one nutrient not included in the table is the alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3.

ALA helps decrease the risk of heart disease by maintaining normal heart rhythm and pumping and helps in reducing blood clots. It is found mainly in walnuts, making it the only tree nut that is a great source of ALA and the ‘most’ antioxidant-rich nut on the planet. One ounce serving of walnut gives 2.5 grams of ALA.

Flaxseed, soybean oil, and canola oil are the other plant products rich in ALA. However, walnuts still have the greatest omega-3 content of all.

Which Has Higher Health Benefits: Walnuts Or Almonds?

According to an article published in 2011 from BBC News, US scientists say that walnuts are the healthiest of all nuts and should be eaten more as part of a healthy diet. A study says that the antioxidants in walnuts are two to fifteen times more powerful as vitamin E, which helps protect the body against natural chemicals that can cause disease.

Walnuts also provide an excellent source of calcium, iron, potassium, vitamin K, zinc, and folate, while almonds can supply us with high amounts of manganese, zinc, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B2. Let’s scroll down further and compare these two.

Better For Brain Health: Walnuts Or Almonds?

Best pick for this criteria? Walnuts. They can improve interneuronal signaling, increase neuron production, and enhance sequestration of insoluble toxic protein aggregates in the brain.  

Walnuts specifically have a neuroprotective function by reducing oxidative stress, thus it may be beneficial in improving memory performance. It can also produce faster reaction times, and help in reducing inflammation- and oxidative stress-induced damage to the brain. Aside from better cognition, it can also improve motor performance in rat studies.

While walnuts have been extensively used in cognitive decline studies in humans, almonds are hardly been used in human studies, since they do not show a bright future ahead, though with the exception of a few research. 

A study claimed that it can reduce the risk of oxidative stress-induced memory loss and delay the onset of age-related impairment of the memory. It also lessens the brain inflammation that can eventually lead to dementia in later life.

Most almonds worked only as memory enhancers in animal studies and showed no improvement in human mental processing.

Better For Sugar Control: Walnuts Or Almonds?

For sugar control, it seems like almonds take the lead. 

They can aid in curbing down blood sugar spikes after meals, a key for diabetic people. When incorporated into a low-carb diet, almonds have a promising effect on improving fasting and postprandial blood glucose, ameliorating inflammation, and reducing oxidative stress in patients with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).

It also appears that consuming almonds favorably improved both the short-term and long-term markers of glucose control in individuals diagnosed with uncomplicated T2DM. emerging evidence also showed that eating almonds beneficially influences chronic degenerative disease risk beyond cholesterol reduction, particularly in people with metabolic syndrome and T2DM.

On the contrary, there are very few studies about walnuts being a good blood-sugar reducer. There is one study though that concluded that their walnut-fed group has greater fasting insulin level reduction compared to their control group. Also, most of the studies showed that incorporating walnut during meals didn’t lead to significant changes in fasting blood sugar levels. 

Better For Weight Loss: Walnuts Or Almonds?

Overall, nuts are often avoided when trying to lose weight due to their high-fat content. Although they are ‘fatty’, studies suggested that almonds can reduce body weight, particularly belly fat since they have high fat, protein, and fiber content, making the person feel full, which eventually leads to reduced hunger. 

Moreover, almonds have been associated with incomplete nutrient absorption in the gut, as their cell walls could prevent lipid release from intact cells. The cell walls were not affected by the gut digestion in this study.

Walnuts, on one hand, have limited studies on weight loss. There is one significant study that has shown that it can produce weight loss but on the contrary, another study claimed that it can promote weight gain.

Better For Heart: Walnuts Or Almonds?

Both nuts are beneficial for healthy cardiovascular health. Quoting from the words of Dr. Emilio Ros, the director of the Lipid Clinic at the Endocrinology and Nutrition Service of the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona in Spain, he said that, “Prior studies have shown that nuts in general, and walnuts in particular, are associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke”.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, commonly known as the ‘bad cholesterol’ is often associated with atherosclerosis, the build-up of plaques of fatty deposits in the arteries. Further, according to Dr. Ros’ study published in the American Heart Association, eating about ½ cup of walnuts everyday for two years modestly lowered the levels of this bad cholesterol. Walnuts also help in reducing the blood pressure, reducing inflammation of blood vessels, and favorably modified the lipoprotein profile in normal men.

Almonds, on the other hand, are rich in antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids, which can help in reducing triglyceride levels, total cholesterol, and bad cholesterol, thereby reducing effectively the coronary heart disease risk factors. 

Additionally, one research showed that oxidation of plasma and LDL lipids in healthy men decreased after an almond diet compared with a low-fat diet. It is also associated with a considerable antiinflammatory response if included during meals.

Final Thoughts

There we go, we have collated all the necessary facts for you for our beloved walnuts and almonds. The bottom line here is that both nuts are so beneficial in many ways, so there is no way to say which nut is healthier. It depends on your preference, nutrition needs, and wellness goals. 

References

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