Almonds and walnuts have similar nutritional profiles but have different effects on your physical and mental health

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo by Markus Winkler/Unsplash

Walnuts and almonds are two healthiest nuts that contain vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy fats. The nutritional comparison between these two are fairly similar but they both have different impacts on your brain, heart, sugar levels and more. If you’re wondering which nut works better for you, here’s a breakdown.


Which one is best for brain health? 

When it comes to brain health, walnuts prevail since they contain alpha-linolenic acid (ACA) and antioxidants which help reduce inflammation and brain stress. Research suggests that walnuts improve memory performance, concentration and your brain process speed as opposed to almonds. One study, which examined adults ages 20-59, reported that those who ate walnuts consistently had a better memory performance regardless of age, gender and ethnicity. As for almonds—while animal studies suggest that it helps memory retention—there’s still not enough evidence that proves it can help your brain health. 


Which one is best for sugar control? 

Almonds contain fat, protein and fiber that directly improve your blood sugar levels because it lowers your glycemic index—the rate that determines blood sugar levels. It also has the ability to inhibit amylase, an enzyme that increases the conversion of starch into sugar. While walnuts contain fats, proteins and fiber as well, recent research suggests that it does not have the same effect on your fasting blood sugar levels. 


Which one is best for heart health?

Almonds and walnuts are both winners when it comes to heart health because they have  ingredients that help reduce heart disease. Walnuts have high amounts of ALA or ellagitannins and phytosterols which reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure. On the other hand, almonds contain antioxidants (flavonoids and vitamin E) and unsaturated fatty acids which lower triglyceride, total cholesterol and bad cholesterol levels. 


Which one is best if you’re tracking your calories? 

If you’re watching your calorie intake, you should go for almonds because they contain high fat, protein and fiber contents that help reduce hunger. Studies show that nutritionists recommend almonds for those looking out for their food intake because they help in reducing waistline fats. Almonds are also linked to proper energy  absorption (which prevents the release of fats) helping your body intake less calories.