By Kelly Springer RD, MS, CDN, Kelly’s Choice CEO
Walnuts are among some of the healthiest foods on the planet. They are packed with nutrients that support a healthy mind and body. Although most of the walnuts we eat today are English walnuts, black walnuts are actually grown here in the United States and have a ton of nutritional benefits!
What are Black Walnuts?
Black walnuts are an incredibly healthy type of walnut. This type of walnut thrives in central and eastern regions of the United States and is set apart from other nuts by its exceptional nutrient profile. They are a protein powerhouse, surpassing all other tree nuts in protein content. Black walnuts have cancer-fighting properties due to their high content of antioxidants and selenium. Additionally, the high content of oleic acid in these nuts helps to manage blood pressure, while the high omega-3 fatty acid content helps reduce the risk of heart disease. The high content of healthy fats also increases satiety and keeps you feeling full for longer, so they may aid in weight loss (Brennan). Black walnuts also contain the essential mineral manganese, which plays a vital role in promoting a healthy bone structure, supporting bone metabolism, and aiding in bone growth (Health and Nutrition).
What is the difference between English Walnuts and Black Walnuts?
In addition to the location in which they are grown, the two varieties of walnuts exhibit further differences. The most notable difference between the two is their flavor profiles. Black walnuts have a bold flavor while English walnuts have a much milder flavor. Another key distinction between the two is their nutrient profiles.
In just one 1/4 cup serving, black walnuts provide 6.8 grams of protein, surpassing the protein content of English walnuts by 57%. Additionally, black walnuts have lower amounts of total fat, polyunsaturated fat, and saturated fat, while providing a higher concentration of monounsaturated fat, which is our healthy fat. In terms of calorie content, both provide a similar amount, with black walnuts being slightly lower. Black walnuts contain less sugar and carbohydrates while providing higher amounts of essential nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and iron.
Is one type of walnut better than the other?
While both types of walnuts are great, mixing in some black walnuts into your diet will really boost your nutrient intake! I typically choose to eat black walnuts because of all the amazing health benefits they provide and their great flavor. My favorite way to eat black walnuts is by baking them into cookies or brownies, sprinkling them on top of yogurt bowls and oatmeal, and chopping them up to use in salads! They add so much flavor, a nice crunch, and loads of nutritional value!
Brennan A, Sweeney L, Liu X, Mantzoros C. “Walnut Consumption Increases Satiation but Has No Effect on Insulin Resistance or the Metabolic Profile over a 4-Day Period.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19910942/.
“Health and Nutrition.” Hammons Black Walnuts, 6 Sept. 2018, black-walnuts.com/learnabout-black-walnuts/health-and-nutrition/.