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Pecan vs. Hickory nut — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on May 21, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan
Pecan
vs
Hickory nut

Summary

Pecan is richer in fibers and monounsaturated fats. It is richer in copper, zinc, iron, vitamins B3, B6, E, and K. Comparatively, hickory is richer in phosphorus, magnesium, folate, vitamin B1, and B5. Hickory contains more carbs and saturated fats.

Introduction

The pecan nut is native to North America. They are common in Georgia, Texas, and New Mexico. They can be consumed raw or roasted. They may be utilized and processed into various culinary products, including milk and flour.

The hickory nut tree has various types, mainly spread around the North American continent. However, some are also found in the temperate climate regions of Asia. The hickory nut is similar to walnut in shape, but it's smaller, with some minor differences in how it looks.

This article will discuss the difference between pecan and hickory nuts while considering their general differences, nutritional content, and health impacts.

General differences

The general differences between pecan and hickory fall under various categories such as price and availability and culinary usage.

Price

Pecan nuts are cheaper than hickory nuts. They are available all around the world.

Culinary usage

Pecan and hickory can be used interchangeably in the culinary world. They are primarily used as eating raw or roasted. In addition to that, they can be used in baking sweets and desserts such as pies.

Pecan milk and hickory nut milk are available. However, hickory nut milk is not widely used, and it's a more expensive nut than pecan, making pecan milk cheaper.

Nutritional content comparison

Calories

Pecan and hickory nuts contain approximately similar amounts of calories. However, we can say that pecan contains a slightly higher calorie amount.

Carbs

Hickory nuts contain more carbs than pecan nuts.

Hickory contains nearly 1.4 times more carbs than pecan nuts.

Fibers

Although hickory contains more carbs than pecan nuts, when it comes to fiber content, pecan nuts contain 1.5 times more fiber than hickory nuts.

Glycemic index

They are classified as low glycemic index foods, and they do not cause an insulin spike after consumption.

Proteins

Hickory nuts contain higher amounts of proteins than pecan.

Fats

The majority of the macronutrient in hickory and pecan nuts are composed of fats. Pecan nuts contain higher amounts of fats than hickory.

We can say that 72% of pecan is fat, and 64% of hickory is fat.

Since fats are the main component, it is important to mention their distribution in detail.

Although pecan contains more “total fat” than hickory, it contains less saturated fat and equal polyunsaturated fats. Among the polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 fats and omega-6 fats.

The fats are mostly unsaturated type distributed among polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats.

Minerals

Both nuts are highly rich and diverse in their mineral profiles. Pecan is richer in copper, zinc, and iron. All these values satisfy the RDV of each respectively. In addition to that, the amount of phosphorus also satisfies the RDV. However, hickory contains higher amounts of phosphorus. On the other hand, hickory is richer in phosphorus and magnesium, and they both satisfy the RDV of each. In addition to that, copper and zinc amounts in hickory, although less than pecan, also satisfy the RDV of each.

Below we can see a comparative diagram for each nut’s mineral distribution.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Calcium +14.8%
Contains more Iron +19.3%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Copper +62.6%
Contains more Magnesium +43%
Contains more Phosphorus +21.3%
Contains more Selenium +113.2%
Equal in Potassium - 436
Equal in Zinc - 4.31
Equal in Manganese - 4.61
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 22% 95% 87% 119% 37% 0% 124% 400% 587% 21%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 19% 80% 124% 144% 39% 1% 118% 246% 602% 45%
Contains more Calcium +14.8%
Contains more Iron +19.3%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Copper +62.6%
Contains more Magnesium +43%
Contains more Phosphorus +21.3%
Contains more Selenium +113.2%
Equal in Potassium - 436
Equal in Zinc - 4.31
Equal in Manganese - 4.61

Vitamins

The vitamin profiles of pecan and hickory are not as diverse and rich compared to their mineral profiles.

Pecan is richer in vitamins B3, B6, E, and K. whereas, on the other hand, the hickory nut is richer in c

Below we can see the diagram that displays the distribution of their vitamins.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Pecan
5
:
Contains more Vitamin B3 +28.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +133.9%
Contains more Vitamin C +81.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +31.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +102.3%
Contains more Folate +81.8%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.131
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.192
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 4% 28% 0% 4% 166% 30% 22% 52% 49% 17% 0% 23% 9%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 8% 0% 0% 7% 217% 31% 18% 105% 45% 30% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +28.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +133.9%
Contains more Vitamin C +81.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +31.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +102.3%
Contains more Folate +81.8%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.131
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.192

Health impacts

Overall Health

Nuts in general, including hickory and pecans, have long been regarded to contribute to weight gain. On the other hand, science has determined a false assumption based on its research. They are high in calories due to their high monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. They are abundant in vitamins and minerals and healthy fats and help with digestion and metabolism. (1)

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Pecans are known for their high content of monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is heart-healthy. They also contain antioxidants like vitamin E and phenolic compounds, which may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are linked to atherosclerosis (2, 3).

Hickory nuts, on the other hand, also contain healthy fats and some antioxidants, although their specific nutrient composition may vary slightly from pecans. They're also a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health (4).

In general, including a variety of nuts in your diet, including both pecans and hickory nuts, can be beneficial for heart health. They can be part of a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, all of which contribute to overall cardiovascular health. However, it's essential to consume them in moderation, as they are calorie-dense foods.

Diabetes

Pecan contains anti-diabetic flavonoids and phenolic substances that reduce total blood glucose levels and provide glycemic control. In addition to this capability, it has anti-oxidant properties. (5)

In addition, most nuts, including pecan and hickory, have characteristics that reduce metabolic syndrome, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes. Reducing the risks of developing metabolic syndrome reduces the overall mortality rate. (6)

Cancer

On breast cancer cell lines, pecan extract has exhibited anticarcinogenic properties. (7)

Gallic acid present in hickory nuts has protective effects against ovarian cancer. (8)

Digestion

Section reviewed by gastroenterologist Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

Since they are both fiber-rich, they may alter the gut microbiome and increase Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus levels, considered “good” bacteria; dietary fiber may also alleviate chronic constipation symptoms. 

According to several guidelines, eating fiber-rich foods may beneficially affect diverticular disease. (9) (10) (11)

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: May 21, 2024
Medically reviewed by Arpi Gasparyan

Infographic

Pecan vs Hickory nut infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Fats +11.8%
Contains more Water +32.8%
Contains more Protein +38.7%
Contains more Carbs +31.7%
Contains more Other +35.8%
9% 72% 14% 4%
Protein: 9.17 g
Fats: 71.97 g
Carbs: 13.86 g
Water: 3.52 g
Other: 1.48 g
13% 64% 18% 3% 2%
Protein: 12.72 g
Fats: 64.37 g
Carbs: 18.25 g
Water: 2.65 g
Other: 2.01 g
Contains more Fats +11.8%
Contains more Water +32.8%
Contains more Protein +38.7%
Contains more Carbs +31.7%
Contains more Other +35.8%

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -12.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +25.1%
Equal in Polyunsaturated fat - 21.886
9% 59% 32%
Saturated Fat: 6.18 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 40.801 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 21.614 g
11% 53% 36%
Saturated Fat: 7.038 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 32.611 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 21.886 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -12.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +25.1%
Equal in Polyunsaturated fat - 21.886

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Pecan Hickory nut
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Pecan Hickory nut Opinion
Net carbs 4.26g 11.85g Hickory nut
Protein 9.17g 12.72g Hickory nut
Fats 71.97g 64.37g Pecan
Carbs 13.86g 18.25g Hickory nut
Calories 691kcal 657kcal Pecan
Starch 0.46g Pecan
Fructose 0.04g Pecan
Sugar 3.97g Hickory nut
Fiber 9.6g 6.4g Pecan
Calcium 70mg 61mg Pecan
Iron 2.53mg 2.12mg Pecan
Magnesium 121mg 173mg Hickory nut
Phosphorus 277mg 336mg Hickory nut
Potassium 410mg 436mg Hickory nut
Sodium 0mg 1mg Pecan
Zinc 4.53mg 4.31mg Pecan
Copper 1.2mg 0.738mg Pecan
Manganese 4.5mg 4.61mg Hickory nut
Selenium 3.8µg 8.1µg Hickory nut
Vitamin A 56IU 131IU Hickory nut
Vitamin A RAE 3µg 7µg Hickory nut
Vitamin E 1.4mg Pecan
Vitamin C 1.1mg 2mg Hickory nut
Vitamin B1 0.66mg 0.867mg Hickory nut
Vitamin B2 0.13mg 0.131mg Hickory nut
Vitamin B3 1.167mg 0.907mg Pecan
Vitamin B5 0.863mg 1.746mg Hickory nut
Vitamin B6 0.21mg 0.192mg Pecan
Folate 22µg 40µg Hickory nut
Choline 40.5mg Pecan
Vitamin K 3.5µg Pecan
Tryptophan 0.093mg 0.139mg Hickory nut
Threonine 0.306mg 0.422mg Hickory nut
Isoleucine 0.336mg 0.576mg Hickory nut
Leucine 0.598mg 1.027mg Hickory nut
Lysine 0.287mg 0.497mg Hickory nut
Methionine 0.183mg 0.3mg Hickory nut
Phenylalanine 0.426mg 0.713mg Hickory nut
Valine 0.411mg 0.73mg Hickory nut
Histidine 0.262mg 0.389mg Hickory nut
Saturated Fat 6.18g 7.038g Pecan
Monounsaturated Fat 40.801g 32.611g Pecan
Polyunsaturated fat 21.614g 21.886g Hickory nut

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Pecan Hickory nut
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
31%
Pecan
35%
Hickory nut
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
149%
Pecan
141%
Hickory nut

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Pecan
Pecan contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pecan
Pecan is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.858g)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Hickory nut
Hickory nut is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.97g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Hickory nut
Hickory nut is lower in glycemic index (difference - 10)
Which food is cheaper?
Hickory nut
Hickory nut is cheaper (difference - $3)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Pecan - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/nutrients
  2. Hickory nut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170177/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.