Walnuts (Juglans regia) and almonds (Prunus dulcis) are two very common healthy nuts.
While they can be used interchangeably in multiple recipes, you may wonder if one nut is better for you than the other.
This article compares walnuts and almonds to decide which one is better, including their nutritional values and similarities.
Comparing Almonds with Walnuts
Nutritional values of walnuts and almonds are relatively similar.
While the content of their fat, carb, and protein varies slightly, almonds have more minerals.
In the case of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), walnuts take the lead. They are in reality the nut with the highest ALA content.
ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means you have to get it from foods so your body is able to build it. Recent studies have linked dietary ALA to decreased inflammation and improved heart and brain health, though further research is needed.
In addition, both nuts are strong sources of calcium and potassium, also known as non-sodium minerals, as they help to counteract the effects of high intake of sodium hence decrease blood pressure.
Weight Loss and Nuts
Generally, when it comes to weight loss, nuts are often consumed in small amounts due to their high fat content and calorie density. Recent study, however, suggests they can help reduce body weight, especially when it comes to almonds.
Studies show that when almonds are used in diets for weight loss, people appear to lose more weight, especially around the waistline. An effect associated with visceral fat loss. This type of condition will increase the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers believe that since almonds are high in fat, protein, and fiber can increase feelings of fullness, leading to reduced hunger.
Nuts and Keto Diets
The keto diet is a very low carb diet that typically restricts the consumption of carb to 25–50 grams per day and offers about 65–90 percent and 10–35 percent of fat and protein calories, respectively
While nuts are a keto-friendly food that makes an excellent snack, you should also be aware of their carb content and preferably choose those with higher fiber content.
That said, while a 1-ounce (30-gram) almond serving has a higher fiber content than an equivalent portion of walnuts, the net carb count of walnuts is still lower than that of almonds
Nevertheless, that is just a small disparity. Therefore, both nuts can be eaten on the keto diet, as long as you ensure that they do not cause you to surpass your daily allowance of carb.
A Healthy Heart
All walnuts and almonds can help to reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease and when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle.
On one side, walnuts produce large concentrations of ALA, polyphenols (namely ellagitannins), and phytosterols, all of which play different roles in lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, as well as blood pressure.
These are also rich in unsaturated fats with high fat oxidation levels that precisely reduce visceral fat.
Eventually, almonds were also related to incomplete energy absorption, because their cell walls inhibit the release of fats. As such, the body would not be able to absorb all the calories.
As for walnuts, one study in 293 people reported greater weight loss as compared with the control group, including 1 ounce (30 grams) of walnuts as part of a weight loss diet.
ALA, for example, has a vasodilatory effect that helps to widen the blood vessels, resulting in decreased blood pressure. As for ellagitannins, inflammation of the blood vessels and LDL ( bad) cholesterol are apparently decreased.
In addition, phytosterols, which are plant sterols chemically associated with cholesterol, interfere with the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine and aid lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterols
On the other hand, almonds are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids and vitamin E, as well as unsaturated fatty acids which contribute to lower triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL ( bad) cholesterol levels.
The walnuts are your best choice when it comes to mental health.
Once again, the ALA and antioxidant content of walnuts helps to minimize inflammation- and oxidative-stress-induced brain damage which would eventually contribute to age-related decline in brain function.
As for almonds, while animal studies indicate they may help improve memory consolidation, human research has shown no change in mental function.
Nuts and Regulating Blood Sugar Levels
It is necessary for people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels and in this case, almonds take the lead.
Studies indicate that the fat, protein, and fiber content of almonds can help boost blood sugar levels by reducing the emptying rate of the stomach and decreasing the glycemic index of a meal — the rate at which blood sugar levels may rise A flavonoid content can also help to regulate blood sugar levels by inhibiting amylase, an enzyme that increases the conversion rate of starches into sugar.
While walnuts contain relatively similar quantities of fats, proteins and fiber, recent research has concluded that their intake does not result in major changes in blood sugar levels in the fasting cycle.
Walnuts and almonds have potential downsides, including their potential for allergic reactions.
Nut allergies affect fewer than 2 percent of the American population, though there can be moderate to serious reactions to these.
As for their quality of antinutrients, both walnuts and almonds contain phytic acid, which is also contained in nuts. Nuts are currently the second most phytate-rich food after soy, with a content ranging from 0.1–9.4 percent.
Both walnuts and almonds provide several health-promoting benefits, and it has been proven effective to add these to your diet.
Therefore, choosing a definite winner between them might not be as straight cut as you expected.
However, almonds could be the best option if you are searching for an ideal nut for weight loss and blood sugar regulation. Conversely, walnuts can be safer for the wellbeing of the brain.
If you follow the keto diet or wonder what to choose for your heart ‘s health, you may go for the one you enjoy the most.