Walnuts are rich in protein, but other nuts have more!

Walnuts can help us meet our needs of protein. A handful provides up to 11% of the recommended daily intake! Protein in walnuts isn’t complete, but it’s a highly bioavailable vegan source.

How much protein in walnuts?

Most walnut varieties have 15.2 grams of protein per 100g, or 4.3 g of protein per handful (about 7 walnuts). Walnuts are 15% protein, 65% fat, 14% carbs, and 4% water.

English nuts are the most popular walnut variety, containing 15 grams of protein per 100g. 1 cup of chopped walnuts contain almost 18 grams of protein, while 1/4 cup contains 4.5 grams of protein.

But, there are walnut varieties with a much higher protein content. For instance, black walnuts have 24.1 grams of protein per 100g. They have 58% more protein than English walnuts.

In fact, black walnuts are 24% protein, 59% fat, 10% carbs, and 5% water. A handful of black walnuts provides 6.8 grams of protein, while 1/4 cup provides 7.5 grams of protein.[1]

What’s the amino acid profile of walnuts?

Walnuts aren’t a complete protein. They don’t contain all essential amino acids. They contain a relatively low content of lysine and methionine! However, they’re considered a great plant-based protein source because they have adequate amounts of most essential amino acids.

per 100g
Amino acid profile of walnuts.[2]

How to eat walnuts to get complete protein?

Therefore, we should consume foods high in methionine and lysine with walnuts in order to get all essential amino acids. You don’t have to eat walnuts at the same time as other protein-rich foods. Just eat a wide variety of foods throughout the day to get all essential amino acids you need.

All animal-derived foods are rich in methionine and lysine.

Beans, quinoa, tofu, Brazil nuts, hemp, pumpkin, and chia seeds are great plant-based foods high in methionine!

Spinach, green peas, soybeans, tofu, edamame, lentils, navy, white, red kidney, and pinto beans are common plant-based sources of lysine.

Is protein in walnuts bioavailable?

Walnuts have a low-to-moderate protein bioavailability. Actually, walnuts are not a quality source of protein as compared to animal-derived protein. The protein digestibility score of raw walnuts is about 86%. For comparison, eggs, beef, or casein protein have a very high protein digestibility score of 98%. These are three of the best dietary sources of protein.[3]

How much protein is in favorite walnut-based foods?

Furthermore, almost all products containing walnuts have protein. Walnut butter and bread have 5 grams and 4 grams of protein per serving, respectively. Walnut salad with other dried fruits is also a good dietary source of plant-based protein!

protein (g)
per 100g
protein (g)
per serving
walnut butter16.65
walnut flour13.32
walnut soft cake11.12
walnut bread6.94
walnut granola6.72
walnut brownie6.52
walnut salad5.98
walnut cookies3.61
Protein content of common walnut-based foods.

Only walnut oil has no protein. In fact, walnut oil, as all vegetable oils, is almost 100% fat. You should consume it in moderation. It can make you gain weight, as it’s the calorie-dense food.

Do other nuts have more protein than walnuts?

Most common walnut varieties have a moderate protein content as compared to other popular nuts. They have 40% less protein than peanuts, which are the richest nuts in protein. Only black walnuts have a similar protein content to peanuts!

On the other hand, walnuts have 138% more protein than chestnuts, which are the nuts with the lowest protein content.

protein (g)
per 100g
protein (g)
per serving
Brazil nuts14.34.1
pine nuts13.73.9
Protein in common nuts.

Almonds have more protein than walnuts

Walnuts and almonds are the two most popular nuts. Almonds have more protein than most common walnut varieties. In fact, almonds have 40% more protein than walnuts. Moreover, almonds and walnuts have the same protein quality. Both nuts have the same protein digestibility score!

How much protein do we need a day?

The recommended daily intake of protein for most people is 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight. Only active people need more protein. People with minimal, moderate, and intense physical activity should get at least 1.0 grams, 1.3 grams, and 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of body weight, respectively.[4,5]

For instance, an 80 kg (177 lbs) person doing moderate physical activity should get approximately 100 grams of protein a day. On the other hand, a 59 kg (130 lbs) person who follows a sedentary life needs only 59 grams of protein a day.

Walnuts are a great vegan protein source.Pin

Protein deficiency is rather unlikely, though. Healthy people, who consume adequate amounts of calories and follow a well-balanced diet, probably consume more than enough protein.

If you really want to boost your protein intake, you could take a protein powder supplement from iHerb. Whey protein is the most popular powder. But, there are also high-quality, complete, plant-based protein powders.

Can walnuts help us meet our daily needs of protein?

Walnuts can help us meet our daily needs of protein. A handful of walnuts provides 4.3-6.8 grams of protein, or 4-11% of the required daily intake!

In fact, adding walnuts to favorite food recipes, such as cakes, ice creams and desserts, could significantly increase your daily protein intake.

However, you should be very cautious with portion sizes. Overconsumption of walnuts could make you fat. Walnuts have too many calories.

As a rule of thumb, consume up to a handful of walnuts a day. Reasonable amounts of walnuts, as part of a well-balanced diet, can help you lose weight. Protein and fiber in walnuts promote satiety! In addition, walnuts are particularly high in minerals, such as potassium, and iron, which are involved in energy metabolism!

The best time to eat walnuts for weight loss is between meals, as a healthy snack. As they’re low in carbs and sugar, walnuts don’t spike blood sugar if eaten on an empty stomach. Also, walnuts may improve sleep quality! So, you can eat them before bed as a late night snack.

Other common plant-based protein-rich foods

Certainly, all animal-derived foods, like meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs, are high in protein. Animal foods are complete protein. They contain all essential amino acids!

However, vegetarians, vegans and people who follow a plant-based diet can get more than enough protein from food as well. It’s important to eat a wide variety of foods in order to get all essential amino acids, though.

Most plant-based foods aren’t a complete protein. Buckwheat, quinoa, barley, spirulina, amaranth, chia, hemp, and pumpkin seeds are the only common plant-based foods with a complete protein! Spirulina consumption is safe. It isn’t an iodine-rich food as other algae!

Moreover, whole grains, mushrooms, vegetables (e.g. kale, spinach, broccoli), beans (e.g. soybeans, chickpeas, peas, lentils), seeds, nuts, and certain fruits (e.g. avocado), are good dietary sources of plant-based protein.

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