Honestly, walnuts are not my favourite nut but because of their nutritional values, I value walnuts and eat them as part of my daily diet. Out at the bakery ingredients store a while back, I found pecans to be rather expensive and they almost doubled the price of walnuts. More expensive, so then, are pecans healthier than walnuts? You like to know, don’t you – which is healthier pecans or walnuts. Read on…
Nutritional Value, Pecans vs Walnuts
You must have known nuts are nutritious. Most contain healthy fats and a good source of plant-based protein with various vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Quickly, let’s compare the nutrients found in both pecans and walnuts based on a 1-ounce serving (28g).
|Total Fats||20g | 26% DV | 91% unsaturated fats||18g | 23% DV | 90% unsaturated fats|
|Total Carbohydrates||3.9g | 1% DV||3.9g | 1% DV|
|Fibre||2.7g | 10% DV||1.7g | 7% DV|
|Protein||2.6g | 5% DV||4.3g | 9% DV|
|Thiamin||16% DV||8% DV|
|Vitamin B6||5% DV||12% DV|
|Copper||38% DV||50% DV|
|Iron||4% DV||5% DV|
|Magnesium||9% DV||11% DV|
|Manganese||55% DV||42% DV|
|Phosphorus||11% DV||14% DV|
|Zinc||12% DV||8% DV|
As you can see, most notably is the mineral content – copper and manganese, and healthy unsaturated fats.
Pecans vs walnuts, the difference is marginal for healthy fats whereas walnuts contain a higher percentage of copper but lesser in manganese. There is no big difference in calories though. Walnuts are 11 calories less, which is negligible.
Too bad, both pecans and walnuts don’t provide a good amount of magnesium and phosphorus which are beneficial in supporting bone health. Although manganese presents in pecans and walnuts help but need to work with magnesium and phosphorus to be effective.
If bone health is your major concern, you may like to read more about pumpkin seeds as all three minerals present impressively.
Walnuts and Pecans Health Benefits
Both walnuts and pecans have similar nutrients though the amount varies. Together, here’s how they benefit your health.
Unsaturated Fats for Heart Health
Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are known as good fats because they are beneficial for your heart. In fact, your overall health including cholesterol.
Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
You ought to know when there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it can clog arteries and this lead to heart attacks or stroke. A study has shown that a high intake of monounsaturated fats can reduce blood cholesterol and triglycerides.
Polyunsaturated fats are known as “essential fats” because your body cannot make them and needs to get them from foods. The primary source of this fat is plant-based foods and oils.
Based on a 1-ounce (28g) serving, of the fats in pecans, 32% is polyunsaturated and an impressive 76% in walnuts.
A certain type of polyunsaturated fat, called omega-3 fatty acids, has been shown to be particularly beneficial for your heart. Not only in decreasing the risk of coronary artery disease, but also help in lowering blood pressure levels. (1)
On top of heart health, these good fats provide you energy, support your cell growth and protect your organs. Also, essential fatty acids are necessary for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Copper for Overall Health
Copper is an essential nutrient for your body, a must-have to function properly.
So, what is copper good for? Important roles played by copper in maintaining your health include
- Production of red blood cells
- Activation of the immune system
- Regulation of heart rate and blood pressure
- Development and maintenance of bone, connective tissue and, organs including brain and heart
Another important function of copper is the absorption of iron. When copper levels are low, your body may absorb less iron. This can lead to iron deficiency anaemia, a condition in which your body is not able to carry enough oxygen to its tissues. When you encounter a lack of oxygen, naturally it makes you weaker and feels tired more easily.
Although you only need copper in trace amounts, there’s an article published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology indiicates that copper has been decreasing in Western diets since the 1930s.
You can easily get enough copper by consuming foods that contain it. From the table above, pecans give you 38% DV while walnuts 50% DV and that’s a good amount. Other food sources include seeds such as pumpkin seeds, chia and flax seeds, leafy greens, shiitake mushrooms and dark chocolate.
Manganese for Bone Health (in combination with other nutrients)
Besides copper, managanese is another trace mineral your body needs in small amounts. The daily value percentage you get from both pecans and walnuts is impressive, that is 55% from pecans and 42% from walnuts.
Manganese is essential for bone health, including bone development and maintenance. When combined with the nutrients calcium, zinc and copper, manganese supports bone mineral density (1). This is especially important in older adults.
Studies have shown that about 50% of postmenopausal women and 25% of men aged 50 or older will suffer from an osteoporosis-related bone break. (1)
A study in rats shown diets lower in manganese prevent cartilage formation and produce osteopenia, a condition involving low bone mass, as a result of an imbalance between osteoblastic and osteoclastic activity.
What is Better for You? Walnuts or Pecans
Nuts are nutritious in general and if you have to choose walnuts or pecan, how would you choose? As mentioned in the beginning, pecans are more expensive than walnuts. Would you compromise health for the price? Hold your thoughts… read on as the following may help you choose.
Although both nuts have a negligible marginal difference in healthy unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids are profound in walnuts. Omega-3 plays a vital role in many aspects of your health especially heart health. It helps keep your cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides and inflammation in check, all of which contribute to heart disease.
Pecans may be better for bone health due to the higher content of manganese but you need to remember it needs to work with other minerals to be effective.
You need copper for better iron absorption, and walnuts have the upper hand. Lack of copper in your diet may lead to iron deficiency anemia. This is one of the causes that make you feel tired easily.
Thiamine, known as Vitamin B1, is higher in pecans. This vitamin helps convert food into energy hence excellent for you who want to lead an active and healthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, walnuts are a better source of Vitamin B6 which help build a stronger immune system.
Walnuts have a higher amount of protein while pecans have a higher fiber content but the differences are not significant. Hence, both nuts will help satisfy your hunger whilst keeping you feel fuller longer.
Walnuts vs Pecans Taste
Healthwise, now you should have an idea what is better for you but how about taste. Surely, you like to know what do walnuts and pecans taste like.
Walnuts are quite bitter for my taste, honestly, but the buttery taste compensates for it. Coupled with a slight crunch, walnuts give you a nutty flavour healthy snack.
Walnuts are often used in baking recipes where sweetener is required such as bread and muffin, and in granola too.
On the contrary, pecans are naturally sweet, as with cashews, and chewy in texture. They are dryer than walnuts because there isn’t as much oil in them. However, the taste becomes richer as they warm. Does the pecan pie sound good to you?
In a Nutshell
Pecans are more expensive than walnuts, at least from where I’m at. That does not mean you and I cannot reap the nutritional benefits of healthy nuts.
Both walnuts and pecans contain the same plant fats which are excellent sources of heart-healthy fats. On top of that, they have similar nutritional components. Though the values differ, they’re not significant. So, if not pecans, walnuts.
Why are pecans so expensive? I have the answer here.
Now, what says you? Walnuts or pecans. Health, price or taste. If pecans are as healthy as walnuts, would you choose the pricier pecans for taste? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
I’m not a fan of walnuts because of the bitter taste but for health, I have them anyway, in my overnight oats. After soaking overnight, you barely notice the bitterness.
If you intend to start eating nuts as part of a balanced diet, I would say both pecans and walnuts are excellent options.
Other healthy nuts and seeds you may consider are almonds, cashews, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds. Feel free to browse me Nuttylog for these articles.
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4 thoughts on “Are Pecans Healthier Than Walnuts”
This is an interesting comparison between pecan nuts and walnuts and to see the nutritional content of each one. Personally I prefer the taste of pecans, rather than walnuts, as I also find that walnuts can be bitter. I tend to eat almonds on a daily basis, mainly because of the high calcium content, but I have never actually compared them with other nuts. I live i Italy, and unfortunately we don’t often get pecan nuts here, although walnuts grow in the area where I live. Thanks for highlighting the nutritional content of pecans and walnuts.
Nice to see you here again, Line.
I dislike the bitter taste of walnuts too. But because pecans are more expensive here, I still use walnuts in most of my bread making and muesli. When it comes to snacking, I’ll go with almonds and cashews.
Hi Sharon. Thank you for very interesting article. I always included walnuts in my diet because their obvious benefits nut to be fair I never thought to replace them with other nuts. I wouldn’t say I don’t like them, but at the same time not big fan. So I will be more then happy to try pecans, as they are as much beneficial for health and the taste is bit better.
Other nuts are as healthy if not healthier. The nutrients profile for each may be different but overall beneficial. Perhaps, you like to try almonds or cashews. Or, you may consider mixing them up as a trail mix. This way you get to enjoy different tastes, textures and benefit from them all.