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Healthy Nuts: Pecans vs Walnuts

Written by Dr. Group, DC Founder
Pecans and walnuts are considered healthy nuts.

For their role in heart and cardiovascular health, walnuts have received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, they aren’t the only healthy nut option around. When it comes to nutrition, pecans can go toe-to-toe with walnuts in the way they protect the heart and mind, support weight loss, and promote weight management. In fact, pecans may even have the edge over walnuts as the healthier nut...

Pecans vs Walnut Breakdown

In one corner, we have pecans. In every ounce, or about 19 pecan halves, you consume just under 200 calories. That same ounce delivers nearly 27% of your recommended daily intake of heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats. A single ounce serving of pecans is low in carbs weighing in at 3.93g, or about 1% your daily value. One ounce does, however, provide 5% of your daily protein recommendation. Plus, pecans are also loaded with vitamins A, B, and E, potassium, magnesium, immune-boosting zinc, and powerful antioxidants.

In the other corner, we have walnuts. One ounce of walnuts has 185 calories, 24% of your unsaturated fats with heart-protecting omega-3 fatty acids, 3.89 carbs per ounce, and a whopping 9% of your daily protein. Like pecans, walnuts feature vitamins A, E, and B vitamins like folate. They’re also mineral rich with important antioxidants.

Nutritional Facts: Head to Head

How do pecans and walnuts stack up head-to-head? Walnuts get a lot of press, but I think you’ll see nutrient for nutrient, pecans have the edge. Here’s a table to help you decide for yourself.

Nutrient Walnuts (14 halves)   Pecans (19 halves)
Water 1.15g 1g
Calories 185kcal 196kcal
Protein 4.32g 2.6g
Total Fat 18.49g 20.4g
Carbohydrates 3.89g 3.93g
Fiber 1.9g 2.7g
Sugars 0.74g 1.13g
Calcium, Ca 28mg 20mg
Iron, Fe 0.82mg 0.72mg
Magnesium, Mg 45mg 34mg
Phosphorus, P 98mg 79mg
Potassium, K 125mg 116mg
Sodium, Na 1mg 0mg
Zinc, Zn 0.88mg 1.28mg
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid 0.4mg 0.3mg
Thiamin 0.097mg 0.187mg
Riboflavin 0.043mg 0.037mg
Niacin 0.319mg 0.331mg
Vitamin B-6 0.152mg 0.06mg
Folate, DFE 28µg 6µg
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin A, RAE 0µg 1µg
Vitamin A, IU 6IU 16IU
Vitamin E 0.2mg 0.4mg
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) 0µg 0µg
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin K 0.8µg 1µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 1.737g 1.752g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 2.533g 11.567g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 13.374g 6.128g
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Caffeine 0mg 0mg

Health Benefits of Nuts

Raw walnuts, pecans, and even chestnuts deliver the highest value of antioxidants of the edible nuts. [1] With their vitamins and minerals, they make for a nutritious snack loaded with amazing benefits for your health. The Harvard Gazette reported men and women who ate these and other healthy nuts daily were 20% more likely to live longer and were more slender and trim than those who didn’t. [2] Here’s what they can do for you:

  • Protect your heart with omega-3s and polyunsaturated fats.
  • Improve blood flow.
  • Support weight loss and staying thin. [3]
  • Slow aging antioxidants like vitamin E prevent free radical damage.
  • Discourage inflammation.
  • According to some studies, nuts may slow the spread and maybe even the formation of breast cancer. [4]
  • Researchers at UC-Davis suggests the omega-3s in walnuts along with other of its nutrients may offer some protection against prostate cancer. [5]
  • Supply your brain with essential nutrients to stay sharp as you age.
  • Keep your bones strong.

One Final Thought

When it comes to pecans or walnuts, you can’t go wrong. They make healthy snacks (or pies!) and add flavor to any meal. They’re both loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty elements that nourish your body and support healthy weight as compared to processed foods. Lastly, vegetarians and vegans can get the protein they need by eating these healthy nuts daily.

References (5)
  1. Blomhoff R1, Carlsen MH, Andersen LF, Jacobs DR Jr. Health benefits of nuts: potential role of antioxidants. Br J Nutr. 2006 Nov;96 Suppl 2:S52-60.
  2. Harvard Gazette. Nut consumption reduces risk of death. Harvard Gazette.
  3. Gemma Flores-Mateo, David Rojas-Rueda, Josep Basora, Emilio Ros, and Jordi Salas-Salvadó. Nut intake and adiposity: meta-analysis of clinical trials. Am J Clin Nutr ajcn.031484. doi: 10.3945/?ajcn.111.031484.
  4. Coco Ballantyne. Walnuts ward off breast cancer in mice. Scientific American.
  5. Paul Davis. 'Tis the season to indulge in walnuts. UC Davis Health System.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.


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