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Walnut vs Pecan - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Walnut
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Pecan

INTRODUCTION

What kind of snack do you prefer? Some specialists claim that nuts are the best choice. From among the many other nuts, pecan and walnut have their unique places with their nutrients and health benefits. Both of them are edible tree-nuts. Despite of several similarities they have a few differences. Let’s discover them.

Differences between pecan and walnut

Pecan originated from South-central America and Mexico, and dates back to the 16th century, while walnut owes its origin to Asia and Europe and dates back to 7000 B.C. The Romans called walnuts “Jupiter’s Royal acorn”. Do you know that the word pecan means a nut which need a stone to be cracked, because it is extremely hard to do by hands? Besides, pecans shell is oval or elongated, colored dark brown. On the other hand, walnuts shell is easy to crack or open, even by hands. It is round shaped and colored light brown. Walnut looks like a “little brain”, and almost everybody knows about its brain boosting function. Pecans are drier and sweeter, walnuts may be a little bit bitter due to its rich oil content, that’s why sometimes it’s used roasted. Both of them are widely used not only in a raw form, but also as an ingredient in pastries, candies, salads, cookies, pastas, as well as in producing of walnut butter and oil. Both are widely consumed all over the world, pecan is mostly consumed in America. Prices depend on the territory, pecan is cheaper in America, and vice versa, walnut is cheaper in Europe and Asia.

NUTRITIONAL CONTENT COMPARISON

From the very start it is necessary to point out that both pecan and walnut are rich source of unsaturated fats. In fact, you can easily notice from the charts of comparison below, pecan is extremely rich in Monounsaturated fat. On the other hand, walnut is higher in Polyunsaturated fat, which includes Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid, that we will discuss later. Pecan is slightly higher in fiber. Controversially is higher in protein and amino acids. It is also worth mentioning that pecan lower in Sodium and Glycemic index. By contrast, walnut is lower in Sugar and Saturated fats. Both contain equal quantity of Cholesterol.

Minerals comparison

In terms of minerals content there is no great difference. Nevertheless, walnut is the winner in this part with high Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, slightly high Copper and Iron. On the other side, pecan is higher in Zinc.

Vitamins comparison

From the viewpoint of vitamins pecan is the title-holder. Pecan is fairly higher in Vitamin B1, higher in Vitamin E and Vitamin A, and to a lesser extent higher in Vitamin B5 and vitamin K. At the same time walnut is drastically higher in Vitamin B6.

HEALTH IMPACT

Pecan and walnut are rich in unsaturated fats, and poor in saturated fats. According to the study (1) published in September 2001 monounsaturated fatty acids, highly contained in pecan, contribute to lowering blood total Cholesterol, low density lipoprotein – bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, diminishing by this way the risk of cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease. On the other side, we have walnut with extremely high content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly plant omega-3 and omega-6 - the highest among all the tree nuts. They also contribute to cholesterol levels decreasing, blood thinning, vasodilatation, preventing by this way thrombosis, atherosclerosis and hypertension. According to the study (2) published in July 2016, consumption of walnut oil by people with Diabetes mellitus type 2 was shown decreasing of blood glucose levels.

It is worth mentioning that walnuts and pecans are one of the most important sources of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols and vitamin E , that famous for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. According to the review (3) published in November 2017, the main polyphenol of walnuts is pedunculagin an ellagitanin. Several studies prove the role of ellagitanin against disease beginning and progression, including neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and different types of cancer.

Walnut is higher in vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine, that essential for many enzyme reactions in our organism, including processing of proteins, carbs and fats, formation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters, which ensure transmission of impulses in nervous system. Adequate intake of B6 may prevent and treat anemia and symptoms of PMS, reduce Alzheimer’s disease risk and support brain function. It also helps us to be free of depression and have a good mood. On the other corner, pecan is higher in vitamin B1 – Thiamin, which play great role in energy metabolism, also involved in transforming proteins, carbs and fats. Besides of health benefits of Vitamin B6, told above, Vitamin B1 also prevents or delays cataracts, contribute to the complete digestion by secretion of hydrochloric acid. Being a powerful antioxidant Thiamin has anti-aging properties.

In terms of minerals walnut is the winner with higher Calcium and Phosphorus, which prevent osteoporosis, also higher in Manganese and Magnesium that have antioxidant and brain boosting functions. On the other side, pecan is higher in Zinc, which contributes to good eyesight, skin, nail and hair reparation, Zinc is also crucial for sexual health due to its great role in formation of germ cells and improvement of sperm quality(4).

Side effects

You are definitely sure that pecans and walnuts are super products and eager to enjoy them, aren’t you? Wait a minute, there are some dangerous moments. Above all an allergic reaction is the common side effect of pecans and walnuts as well as of other nuts. The symptoms of allergy can vary from hives around the mount, diarrhea, abnormal breathing and asthma attacks right up to the anaphylaxis.

Although pecan and walnut are recommended by dieticians as a part of different weight losing diets, if you eat more than daily recommend quantity you can easily gain the weight.

You have to avoid of taking your regular medications at the same time with black walnut. There are substances in walnuts, called tannins, which decrease the absorption of other medications. So you should to wait for another one hour or two to get your drug if you want to have an appropriate result.

And finally, you can get diarrhea and vomiting by eating large amount of nuts due to their high content of fiber.

Conclusion

So, it seemed essential to emphasize that walnut and pecan are a goldmine of energy and nutrients, that is why are highly recommended by dieticians and nutritionists. Both of them are rich in Unsaturated fat, pecan is richer in Monounsaturated fat, walnut is richer in Polyunsaturated fat, including plant omega -3 and omega-6 amino acids. In vitamins content pecan wins hands down, it is richer especially in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, considerably in Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B5. It is very important to point put the potential risks of allergy and missing daily medication dose, as well as overeating, which can result to the obesity or digestive dysfunctions. Enjoy your nuts and don’t forget about the measure.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11533266
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28115966
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26713565
4. https://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20120815/walnuts-may-improve-sperm-quality-healthy-men

Infographic

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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Walnut
6
:
2
Pecan
Contains more Iron +15%
Contains more Calcium +40%
Contains more Magnesium +30.6%
Contains more Copper +32.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +24.9%
Contains more Zinc +46.6%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Equal in Potassium - 410
Contains more Iron +15%
Contains more Calcium +40%
Contains more Magnesium +30.6%
Contains more Copper +32.2%
Contains more Phosphorus +24.9%
Contains more Zinc +46.6%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Equal in Potassium - 410

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Walnut
3
:
6
Pecan
Contains more Vitamin C +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +155.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +180%
Contains more Vitamin E +100%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +93.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +51.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +29.6%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.167
Contains more Vitamin C +18.2%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +15.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +155.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +180%
Contains more Vitamin E +100%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +93.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +51.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +29.6%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.167

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

Summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfils human daily needs, the more the summary score is
Vitamin Summary Score
20
Walnut
23
Pecan
Mineral Summary Score
80
Walnut
68
Pecan

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Protein
91%
Walnut
55%
Pecan
Carbohydrates
14%
Walnut
14%
Pecan
Fats
301%
Walnut
332%
Pecan

Comparison summary table

Pay attention at the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Walnut Pecan
Lower in Sugars ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable in case of diets?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Walnut Pecan
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sugars?
Walnut
Walnut contains less Sugars (difference - 1.36g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.053999999999999g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Walnut
Walnut is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Pecan
Pecan contains less Sodium (difference - 2mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Pecan
Pecan is lower in glycemic index (difference - 10)
Which food is cheaper?
Pecan
Pecan is cheaper (difference - $2)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be definitely stated which food is richer in vitamins. See charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

In the column "Opinion" we made some assumptions which could be controversial. For instance we are assuming that less saturated fats is good for you. Please ignore this column if you have your own opinion.We marked the nutrients, comparison of which we considered as not meaningful, as "N/A"
Nutrient Walnut Pecan Opinion
Calories 654 691 Pecan
Protein 15.23 9.17 Walnut
Fats 65.21 71.97 Pecan
Vitamin C 1.3 1.1 Walnut
Carbs 13.71 13.86 Pecan
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 2.91 2.53 Walnut
Calcium 98 70 Walnut
Potassium 441 410 Walnut
Magnesium 158 121 Walnut
Sugars 2.61 3.97 Pecan
Fiber 6.7 9.6 Pecan
Copper 1.586 1.2 Walnut
Zinc 3.09 4.53 Pecan
Starch 0.06 0.46 Pecan
Phosphorus 346 277 Walnut
Sodium 2 0 Pecan
Vitamin A 20 56 Pecan
Vitamin E 0.7 1.4 Pecan
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.341 0.66 Pecan
Vitamin B2 0.15 0.13 Walnut
Vitamin B3 1.125 1.167 Pecan
Vitamin B5 0.57 0.863 Pecan
Vitamin B6 0.537 0.21 Walnut
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 2.7 3.5 Pecan
Folic acid (B9) 0 0
Trans Fat
Saturated Fat 6.126 6.18 Walnut
Monounsaturated Fat 8.933 40.801 Pecan
Polyunsaturated fat 47.174 21.614 Walnut
Tryptophan 0.17 0.093 Walnut
Threonine 0.596 0.306 Walnut
Isoleucine 0.625 0.336 Walnut
Leucine 1.17 0.598 Walnut
Lysine 0.424 0.287 Walnut
Methionine 0.236 0.183 Walnut
Phenylalanine 0.711 0.426 Walnut
Valine 0.753 0.411 Walnut
Histidine 0.391 0.262 Walnut
The main source of information is USDA Food Composition Database (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used as the primary source for advice in this web resource
Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.