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Black Versus English Walnuts

A dramatic difference exists between the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of black walnuts versus English walnuts.

August 8, 2012 |
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Acknowledgements

Images thanks to Ram-Man and xtinabot.

Transcript

The best way to keep and consume walnut oil, is within the walnut itself, but which is better for cardiovascular disease prevention? Black walnuts or English, also known as common, walnuts?

Regular “English walnuts have been shown to decrease cardiovascular disease risk; however, black walnuts do not appear to have not been studied for their cardioprotective effects” until now. Maybe black are even better?Who do you think won the contest? Three choices: black best, English best, or the same.

I would have guessed black just based on their rich flavor and color, but I would have been wrong. , English best and I’ll show you why. They both tended to lower cholesterol but when “participants were given a meal containing a sandwich with salami and cheese on white bread smeared with 2 spoonfuls of butter along with yogurt… and then big handful of black or English walnuts, something very different happened. When we whack our arteries with that kind of load of saturated animal fat, our blood vessels immediately—within hours, become inflamed and stiff. You eat English walnuts with the salami sandwich, though, and they are so packed with antiinflmmatory goodness that you significantly lessen the impact. “Black walnuts, however, did not improve endothelial function, the cells of the arterial lining, which can be explained by nutritional differences between the nuts.”

“English walnuts, for example, have nearly 10 times as much antioxidant capacity as black.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Kerry Skinner.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

The anti-inflammatory power of nuts is really quite astonishing. Check out my video Fighting Inflammation in a Nutshell. Why is meat and dairy inflammatory? Check out my three videos exploring the mystery The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause InflammationThe Exogenous Endotoxin Theory, and Dead Meat Bacteria Endotoxemia. I also give an abbreviated summary of it in my full-length "live" presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. If you haven't yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

For some context, please check out my associated blog post, The True Shelf Life of Cooking Oils.

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    The anti-inflammatory power of nuts is really quite astonishing. Check out my video Fighting Inflammation in a Nutshell. Why is meat and dairy inflammatory? Check out my three videos exploring the mystery The Leaky Gut Theory of Why Animal Products Cause Inflammation, The Exogenous Endotoxin Theory, and Dead Meat Bacteria Endotoxemia. I also give an abbreviated summary of it in my full-length “live” presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death. If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

    • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

       So the SAD — Standard American in Denial — will take this info and say, “Ooh, okay, so I’ll just add a handful of walnuts after my cheese-stuffed meat-lovers pizza, parmesan-cheese bread, and diet coke!”

      • Gale

        Funny!

        • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

           I bet you’ve heard it before too! :^)

      • Valnaples

        I thought of that too Strix!

        • http://poxacuatl.wordpress.com/ Strix

           You did! How funny :D. It reminds me of those miracle pill commercials where people claim,”I lost 30 pounds and didnt’ have to change the way I eat!” “I didn’t have to exercise!”

          They don’t even TRY to sound like it’s healthy. Shameless!

      • beccadoggie10

        That is my husband for certain, except his junk food is Bordon’s ice cream, which I won’t buy because it is made up through and through of GMO’s. So he walks to the store to buy his own. He won’t read more than a line and doesn’t want to hear anything that may be negative. Sounds like much of the American public?

    • Kathi

       I have heard of black walnuts before but only in conjunction with bowel cleansing.
      Just bought some English walnuts at the market. I think I’ll go enjoy a couple before my class.

  • Valnaples

    So glad the English or common walnuts won out…I KNOW I can’t find black walnuts easily here! And the sound of that sandwich sounded so gross…poor participants! Doubt I could even swallow it…..

  • LKSkinner

    Hurray for English walnuts! 
    I eat an ounce (28 grams) a day for the Omega 3s and other healthful benefits. 
    It’s great when a regular, tasty food turns out to be a nutritional superfood too.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    What do you call John Cleese (From Monty Python) on a Castle Wall?

    An English Walnut!
    ;-}

    I had to ’crack’ up all the ’nutty’ness around here.

    Laughter is the best medicine, even if you didn’t laugh.

  • WholeFoodChomper

    Woohoo!  This is great news since English walnuts are SO MUCH easier to find.

  • Thea

    I totally would have bet on black walnuts.  This is a real surprise.  Great study and report.  Thanks.

    • SJ M.D.

      Never heard of Black Walnuts! So I`m happy that the good old English Wallnut still works……

      • beccadoggie10

        Black walnuts are sold through Sam’s Club, Walmart, Hammons Products Company, Amazon. Plus, Diamond Nuts are black walnuts. http://www.diamondnuts.com

        Black walnuts “are toxic to plants [that grow beneath them], humans, and horses.” See: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1148.html

        Gee, I hope they are not sold at my local “health food” store. I’ll ask now that you have informed me, Dr. Greger.

        • MarthaLA

          http://www.diamondnuts.com/products/culinary/

          You’ll note that Diamond has both black walnuts and ‘walnuts’, separately listed and illustrated.

          So, your statement that Diamond nuts are black walnuts is not correct.

          On the black walnuts page, under the heading ‘Benefits’, appears this statement: “Black walnuts have more protein than English walnuts and contain arachidonic fatty acid.” I sort of thought arachidonic acid was a bad thing. I’ll look it up, but it might be nice if, in the meantime, someone who knows would put an indication here in reply.

          • Wordless

            Just recently read that arachidonic acid is regarded as healthy – included in many formulas in supplements.

          • Toxins

            Acahidonic acid is healthy, its omega 6, or at least what non preformed omega 6 becomes. Arachidonic acid in high amounts, which is not hard to do, is not healthy though. Please see here.
            http://www.mountainproject.com/v/apocalypse-91/105753550

  • Captionsbysally

    So glad to know this.  I was just enjoying my salad topped with English walnuts as your email popped onto my screen.  I enjoyed it even more after listening to the conclusion.

  • Kate Scott

    I’m relieved to hear this. I used to live on a property with many black walnut trees but we didn’t bother eating the nuts because the shells are much harder than English walnuts and you have to use a sledgehammer to crack them, which of course then smashes your nut. Also the nuts are much smaller than the English variety and have almost no flavour. So that is why black walnuts are hard to find.

  • Memc66

    Seems to make sense as black walnuts are literally “tough nuts to crack”. I have a black walnut tree and tried them with little luck. Now I can feel good about letting the squirrels have them.

    • Thea

       I wonder how the squirrel’s get inside.  Must be some mighty powerful jaws??

      Thanks Kate Scott and Memc66 for the additional info on black walnuts.  I had never heard of them before.

  • Elderberry

    A year ago I heard a historian of medicine talk about folk practice in Great Britain. The women used to pick the spring leaves of the black walnut tree and crush and rub the leaves into the palms of the hands or other soft skin areas. The belief is that there are compounds transmitted into the bloodstream that provide protection against breast cancer for up to one year. Apparently the compounds are contained only in the leaves of the black walnut tree. 

  • Kenton

    I love red walnuts, and would love to find how they stack up against the others.

    • Marcella

      Never heard of them! I had to look them up! Nuts.com has them and the reviews look good. I wonder how they rate in this black vs english contest?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/joy.inpagosa Joy InPagosa

    Where do you but English Walnuts?

    • beccadoggie10

      Both English and Black Walnuts are found at Nuts.com. But, now that we know the difference, be certain to ask for English walnuts. I will, everywhere I make purchases.

    • Marcella

      I get mine at Whole Foods, sometimes Natural Grocer if they have it
      organic raw, otherwise I get them online. I try to always have a supply
      of different raw nuts and seeds so that I can make last minute meals (I
      hate to plan :), I enjoy being spontaneous with myself :P

  • Marcela

    Question about nuts: Have the nutrition facts of RAW (wal)nuts vis a vis BAKED (as in a cake) or ROASTED (wal)nuts been studied? Are they healthier? Are baked or roasted nuts unhealthy (as some claim)?

  • beccadoggie10

    Black walnuts and English walnuts are both grown in the USA. “The English walnut originated in Persia (now Iran). Commercially
    produced varieties are nearly all hybrids of the English walnut. The Northern California black walnut is primarily used as the rootstock for English walnut cultivars.
    California produces 99 percent of the nation’s commercial English
    walnuts with almost all production taking place in the Sacramento and
    San Joaquin valleys..”

    More about English walnuts at:

    http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/nuts/english-walnuts/

  • Marcella

    My mother LOVES black walnuts, so mischievously waiting for her to get off the phone to show her this clip, hehehehe