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Walnut vs. Acorns — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Sveta Badalyan by Sveta Badalyan | Last updated on January 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel Article author photo Igor Bussel
Walnut
vs
Acorns

Summary

In summary, walnuts are higher in minerals, especially magnesium, phosphorus, and choline. 

Acorns, on the other hand, are a good source of carbs. Moreover, acorns contain more potassium, vitamin B3, and fewer calories.

Walnuts, in comparison, provide more protein, dietary fiber, and fats, especially polyunsaturated fats.

Introduction

In this article, we will talk about two nuts: walnut and acorn. We will compare their nutritional values and effects on health.

Walnuts and acorns belong to different families.

Walnuts belong to the Juglandaceae family, genus Juglans.

Acorns, on the other hand, belong to the Fagaceae family, genus Quercus.

Varieties

The most common varieties of walnuts are Black walnut (Juglans nigra), Persian walnut (Juglans regia), and The butternut (Juglans cinerea).

The most common varieties of acorns are White Oak Acorn (Quercus alba), Northern Red Oak Acorn (Quercus rubra), English Oak Acorn (Quercus robur), and Black Oak Acorn (Quercus velutina).

Taste

Acorns are the oak tree's seeds. They have tough shells in the color of dark brown. Acorns are smooth and brown inside. Due to the high tannin content in acorns, acorns taste bitter

Walnuts, in comparison to acorns, have a rich, sweet, and earthy flavor. The skin is slightly bitter. 

Use

You can use acorns to make flour for bread and pancakes. Acorn flour can be part of a gluten-free diet(1). Also, you can make caffeine-free coffee

Walnut, on the other hand, can be used as snacks, or you can add them to yogurt and salads. You can also make butter, milk, and flour from walnut.

Nutrition

In this part of the article, we will compare the nutritional values of walnuts and acorns. 

Macronutrients and Calories

Overall, walnuts contain two times more protein and three times more fats than acorns. Acorns, on the other hand, provides three times more carbs and less in calories.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Walnut
3
:
2
Acorns
Contains more Protein +147.6%
Contains more Fats +173.3%
Contains more Other +32.8%
Contains more Carbs +197.2%
Contains more Water +585.5%
15% 65% 14% 4% 2%
Protein: 15.23 g
Fats: 65.21 g
Carbs: 13.71 g
Water: 4.07 g
Other: 1.78 g
6% 24% 41% 28%
Protein: 6.15 g
Fats: 23.86 g
Carbs: 40.75 g
Water: 27.9 g
Other: 1.34 g
Contains more Protein +147.6%
Contains more Fats +173.3%
Contains more Other +32.8%
Contains more Carbs +197.2%
Contains more Water +585.5%

Calories

Walnuts and acorns are very high in calories. One hundred grams of walnuts contain 654 calories. Acorns are lower in calories, and 100g provides 387 calories.

Protein

Walnuts are much higher in protein than acorns. They provide 15.23g of protein, whereas acorns provide 6.15g. Walnuts are especially rich in leucine.

Fats

Walnuts are much higher in fats compared to chestnuts. Walnuts contain 65.21g of fats, whereas acorns provide only 23.86g.  

However, acorns are high in monounsaturated fats, whereas walnuts are high in polyunsaturated fats. Walnuts contain 47g of polyunsaturated fats, whereas acorns only 4.5g

Moreover, acorns contain two times less saturated fats.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Walnut
1
:
2
Acorns
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +926.4%
Contains less Saturated Fat -49.4%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +69.1%
10% 14% 76%
Saturated Fat: 6.126 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 8.933 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 47.174 g
14% 66% 20%
Saturated Fat: 3.102 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 15.109 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 4.596 g
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +926.4%
Contains less Saturated Fat -49.4%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +69.1%

Carbohydrates

In comparison to walnuts, acorns are over three times higher in carbs.

 Acorns contain 40.75g of carbohydrates. On the other hand, walnuts provide 13.71g of carbs, of which 7.01g are net carbs and 6.7g is dietary fiber.

Walnuts and acorns are cholesterol-free.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Walnut
4
:
0
Acorns
2% 91% 3% 3%
Starch: 0.06 g
Sucrose: 2.43 g
Glucose: 0.08 g
Fructose: 0.09 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g

Vitamins

Walnuts are richer in vitamin C and vitamin E. In comparison, acorns are richer in vitamin B3.

Walnuts and acorns are absent in vitamin D and vitamin B12.

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.
Walnut
9
:
3
Acorns
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +204.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +27.1%
Contains more Folate +12.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +95%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +62.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +25.4%
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.528
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2% 14% 0% 5% 86% 35% 22% 35% 124% 74% 0% 22% 7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 3% 0% 0% 0% 28% 28% 35% 43% 122% 66% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +204.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +27.1%
Contains more Folate +12.6%
Contains more Vitamin A +95%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +62.4%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +25.4%
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.528

Minerals

With mineral content, walnuts are the winner. Walnuts contain two times more calcium, 2.5 times more magnesium, and manganese, six times more zinc, and four times more phosphorus. Walnuts also contain 39mg of choline, whereas acorns do not.

On the other hand, acorns are high in potassium. Acorns contain 539mg of potassium, whereas walnut 441mg.

Walnut and acorns are lower in sodium.

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.
Walnut
8
:
2
Acorns
Contains more Calcium +139%
Contains more Iron +268.4%
Contains more Magnesium +154.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +338%
Contains more Zinc +505.9%
Contains more Copper +155.4%
Contains more Manganese +155.3%
Contains more Potassium +22.2%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 30% 110% 113% 149% 39% 1% 85% 529% 446% 27%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 13% 30% 45% 34% 48% 0% 14% 207% 175% 0%
Contains more Calcium +139%
Contains more Iron +268.4%
Contains more Magnesium +154.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +338%
Contains more Zinc +505.9%
Contains more Copper +155.4%
Contains more Manganese +155.3%
Contains more Potassium +22.2%
Contains less Sodium -100%

Acidity

The potential renal acid load(PRAL) of walnut is 5.6(acidic). The PRAL value of acorns is -7.5(alkaline)

Weight Loss & Diets

Walnuts and acorns can be part of the DASH diet.

As walnuts contain less amount of carbohydrates, they are keto-friendly. In contrast to walnuts, acorns are not allowed in the keto diet.

Walnuts and acorns are considered paleo. 

Walnuts and acorns are vegan.

Health Benefits

Nervous System

Walnuts include a variety of compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts lessen oxidative stress by enhancing antioxidant defense and lowering free radical levels, which prevents oxidative damage to lipids and proteins. Due to these effects, walnuts may also decrease the risk of brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and mild cognitive impairment(2). Furthermore, acorns also have neuroprotective and antioxidant activities(3)(8)․

Clinical studies on humans have also revealed a link between walnut consumption and improved memory and cognitive function in adults(2). 

Acorns, on the other hand, have hepatoprotective and gastroprotective effects(3).

Moreover, due to their tannin content, acorns also have antibacterial effects. Tannins prevented the growth of several fungi, bacteria, and viruses(4).

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Tree nut consumption two or more times per week is linked to reducing the risk of coronary artery disease (5).

According to the study, a walnut-enriched diet also may lower triglycerides, LDL (bad cholesterol), and total cholesterol levels. As for acorns, the animal study shows they may lower total cholesterol levels in the blood. However, more human studies are required for current information (6.7). 

Research has shown that сonsuming walnuts do not lower blood pressure. No research has been done to support the potential of acorns to lower arterial blood pressure (8).

Diabetes

 According to the research, the ethanol extract found in acorns may safeguard the function of pancreatic islets and improve serum insulin levels, lowering blood glucose(9). 

According to another research, acorns have therapeutic benefits for diabetes complications(10).

According to the study, higher walnut intake may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes(11).

Cancer 

Because of their antiproliferative and antiangiogenic properties, walnuts decreased the growth of prostate, colon, and kidney malignancies(12). 

The use of foods high in tannins, such as acorns, has been linked to the incidence of several malignancies, including esophageal cancer(4).

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

Nuts are one of the foods that trigger acute allergic reactions. Nut allergies can cause serious and occasionally fatal responses. Usually, tree nuts cause cross-reactivity, so if you are allergic to one variety, you should avoid all nuts. Overall, walnuts more commonly cause allergic reactions, whereas acorns are less associated with allergies(13). 

Article author photo Sveta Badalyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: January 24, 2024
Medically reviewed by Igor Bussel

Infographic

Walnut vs Acorns infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Walnut Acorns Opinion
Net carbs 7.01g 40.75g Acorns
Protein 15.23g 6.15g Walnut
Fats 65.21g 23.86g Walnut
Carbs 13.71g 40.75g Acorns
Calories 654kcal 387kcal Walnut
Starch 0.06g Walnut
Fructose 0.09g Walnut
Sugar 2.61g Acorns
Fiber 6.7g Walnut
Calcium 98mg 41mg Walnut
Iron 2.91mg 0.79mg Walnut
Magnesium 158mg 62mg Walnut
Phosphorus 346mg 79mg Walnut
Potassium 441mg 539mg Acorns
Sodium 2mg 0mg Acorns
Zinc 3.09mg 0.51mg Walnut
Copper 1.586mg 0.621mg Walnut
Manganese 3.414mg 1.337mg Walnut
Selenium 4.9µg Walnut
Vitamin A 20IU 39IU Acorns
Vitamin A RAE 1µg 2µg Acorns
Vitamin E 0.7mg Walnut
Vitamin C 1.3mg 0mg Walnut
Vitamin B1 0.341mg 0.112mg Walnut
Vitamin B2 0.15mg 0.118mg Walnut
Vitamin B3 1.125mg 1.827mg Acorns
Vitamin B5 0.57mg 0.715mg Acorns
Vitamin B6 0.537mg 0.528mg Walnut
Folate 98µg 87µg Walnut
Choline 39.2mg Walnut
Vitamin K 2.7µg Walnut
Tryptophan 0.17mg 0.074mg Walnut
Threonine 0.596mg 0.236mg Walnut
Isoleucine 0.625mg 0.285mg Walnut
Leucine 1.17mg 0.489mg Walnut
Lysine 0.424mg 0.384mg Walnut
Methionine 0.236mg 0.103mg Walnut
Phenylalanine 0.711mg 0.269mg Walnut
Valine 0.753mg 0.345mg Walnut
Histidine 0.391mg 0.17mg Walnut
Saturated Fat 6.126g 3.102g Acorns
Monounsaturated Fat 8.933g 15.109g Acorns
Polyunsaturated fat 47.174g 4.596g Walnut

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Walnut Acorns
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
32%
Walnut
25%
Acorns
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
152%
Walnut
56%
Acorns

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Walnut
Walnut is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Walnut
Walnut is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Acorns
Acorns is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.61g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Acorns
Acorns contains less Sodium (difference - 2mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Acorns
Acorns is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 3.024g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Acorns
Acorns is lower in glycemic index (difference - 0)
Which food is cheaper?
Acorns
Acorns is cheaper (difference - $5)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

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. Walnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170187/nutrients
  2. Acorns - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170157/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.