Are Walnuts or Almonds Healthier?
Walnuts (Juglans regia) and almonds (Prunus dulcis) are two popular types of nuts that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats.
While they may be used interchangeably in multiple recipes, you may wonder whether one nut is better for you than the other.
Walnuts and almonds are nutrient-dense foods that have been associated with beneficial effects on weight loss, blood sugar control, and brain and heart health.
Still, in some cases, research may favor one over the other.
Overall, nuts are often restricted when it comes to weight loss because of their high fat content and calorie density. However, recent research suggests that they may help reduce body weight, especially when it comes to almonds.
Studies show that when almonds are included in weight loss diets, people tend to lose more weight, especially around the waistline an effect that’s associated with the loss of visceral fat. This kind that may increase your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Researchers believe that almonds’ high fat, protein, and fiber contents may increase feelings of fullness, which leads to reduced hunger.
Additionally, they’re high in unsaturated fats, which have high rates of fat oxidation, which specifically reduce visceral fat.
Lastly, almonds have also been linked to the incomplete absorption of energy, as their cell walls prevent the release of fats. As such, your body can’t absorb all of their calories.
As for walnuts, one study in 293 people reported greater weight loss when including 1 ounce (30 grams) of walnuts as part of a weight loss diet, compared with the control group.
Yet, studies on walnuts’ effect on weight loss are limited, and current research seems to be mixed. Thus, more research is still needed.
When it comes to brain health, walnuts are your best pick.
Once more, walnuts’ ALA and antioxidant contents help reduce inflammation- and oxidative-stress-induced damage to your brain, which would ultimately lead to an age-related decline in brain function.
One study in adults aged 20–59 reported faster reaction times and better memory in those with higher walnut intake regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity.
Additionally, studies in rats suggest that walnuts may help improve memory performance.
As for almonds, while animal studies suggest that they may help improve memory retention, research in humans showed no improvements in mental processing.
Managing blood sugar levels is essential for people with diabetes, and in this case, almonds take the lead.
Studies suggest that almonds’ fat, protein, and fiber contents may help improve blood sugar levels by slowing the stomach’s emptying speed and lowering a meal’s glycemic index the rate at which it may lead to a rise in blood sugar levels.
Additionally, their flavonoid content may help control blood sugar levels by inhibiting amylase, an enzyme that increases starches’ conversion rate into sugar.
While walnuts contain relatively similar amounts of fats, proteins, and fiber, recent research concluded that their intake doesn’t lead to significant changes in fasting blood sugar levels, with the exception of one study.
Both walnuts and almonds are keto-friendly and great nuts for heart health. When it comes to weight loss and blood sugar control, almonds are the winners, but walnuts take the lead regarding brain health.