Almonds Versus Walnuts: Which One Is Better For You?

Packed with healthy fats, minerals, protein, and vitamins, nuts are incredible superfoods. According to Mayo Clinic, they have the powerful ability to lower bad cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation commonly associated with chronic illness. But with so many different kinds out there, some people may go a bit nuts trying to figure out which are healthier. Both almonds and walnuts are popular choices and may have everything you're looking for in a healthy snack. But how do they compare?

While both can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, choosing one over the other may depend on the particular health benefits you want to achieve. While one proves helpful in blood sugar regulation, the other can help with depression. One is known for its high vitamin E content, while the other is known to be an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Without further ado, let's review the specific health benefits of each.

The health benefits of almonds

Almonds are a deliciously smooth-textured snacking nut. Because they're slightly sweet with a creamy flesh, almonds are easy to eat without any preparation. However, food manufacturers have created a plethora of food items from the delicious nut, including almond butter, almond milk, and even almond flour. So what are the benefits of getting more of this nut in our diets? 

According to WebMD, 23 almonds is all you need to meet your daily requirement of vitamin E and reap important health benefits such as a lowered risk of heart disease and obesity. Generally speaking, foods high in vitamin E can help prevent memory decline related to Alzheimer's disease and help maintain a healthy heart by lowering the risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Studies show that daily consumption of almonds has additional health benefits, including eye, hair, and skin health. Experts suggest that vitamin E is a common nutrient we're deficient in.

As if that weren't enough, almonds also have a mediating effect on blood glucose levels. According to a 2020 study found in the journal Nutrients, almonds were observed to have a "hypoglycemic effect" on participants, an effect researchers attributed to their slow digestion rate, along with their polyphenol and flavonoid content.

Overall, almonds may prove more beneficial to you than walnuts if heart health, Alzheimer's disease prevention, and blood sugar regulation are important to you. But how do walnuts compare?

The health benefits of walnuts

The daily consumption of walnuts is associated with an array of health benefits. One thing that makes walnuts different from almonds is their ALA omega-3 fatty acid content. In fact, walnuts are the only tree nut to contain the essential, plant-based acid, according to the California Walnut Board. This essential acid is significantly linked to overall heart health. It can be particularly beneficial for those who follow vegetarian or vegan diets and can't get their omega-3 content from fish (via Cleveland Clinic).

But that's not all. A 2020 study published in the journal Nutrients found that dietary supplementation with walnuts can help people maintain optimal cognitive ability, delay dementia, and reduce oxidative damage. Further, they've been shown in both animal and human studies to reduce neuroinflammation, thus lowering the risk of Parkinson's disease, stroke, and depression. So if you're looking to boost your cognitive and mental health, walnuts may be just the thing you're looking for.