Last Updated on April 7, 2022 by Michael Joseph
There are many different types of nuts, and they all have their own characteristics.
Nuts are among the most beneficial foods, and they provide a broad range of essential nutrients.
This guide features all the common nut varieties and provides an overview of their characteristics and nutritional data.
Unless otherwise stated, all nutritional values are courtesy of the USDA’s FoodData Central Nutrition Database.
Table of contents
- 1) Acorns
- 2) Almonds
- 3) Baru Nuts
- 4) Black Walnuts
- 5) Brazil Nuts
- 6) Cashew Nuts
- 7) Chestnuts
- 8) Hazelnuts
- 9) Hickory Nuts
- 10) Macadamia
- 11) Marcona Almonds
- 12) Peanuts
- 13) Pecans
- 14) Pili Nuts
- 15) Pine Nuts
- 16) Pistachio
- 17) Sacha Inchi
- 18) Tiger Nuts
- 19) Walnuts (English Walnuts)
- How Do Nuts Compare Nutritionally?
- How To Eat More Nuts
- Are There Any Downsides To Eating Nuts?
- Common Questions About Nuts
Although it is a little-known fact, acorns can be an edible and nutritious nut.
Acorns have a long history of use as a source of food, and they were once a staple around the world.
In fact, historical records show that acorns played an important role in human diets as early as 6000 BC (1).
However, acorns require special preparation methods—such as leaching—to reduce their high tannin content (2).
In current times, perhaps due to the lengthy preparation they need, acorns are not as popular as they once were as a food source.
However, they still play a role in some cuisines. For example, acorn jelly and acorn noodles are popular Korean dishes.
An ounce (28.35 gram) serving of acorns provides (3):
- Calories: 110 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 11.6 g
- Fat: 6.78 g
- Saturated: 0.88 g
- Monounsaturated: 4.28 g
- Polyunsaturated: 1.3 g
- Omega-3: 0 g
- Omega-6: 1.3 g
- Protein: 1.74 g
- Acorns are a true tree nut.
- An ounce (28g) serving of acorns is equivalent to approximately nine acorns.
- Acorns are not exceptionally high in vitamins or minerals, but they offer a moderate source of manganese: approximately 17% of the daily value (3, 4).
Almonds are tree nuts that originated in the Middle East, and they were domesticated thousands of years ago.
The nuts are popular worldwide, and there are also many food products made from the nuts, such as almond flour and almond milk.
Per ounce (28.35 gram) serving, unroasted almonds provide (5):
- Calories: 164 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 6.12 g
- Fiber: 3.54 g
- Sugars: 1.23 g
- Fat: 14.1 g
- Saturated: 1.08 g
- Monounsaturated: 8.96 g
- Polyunsaturated: 3.49 g
- Omega-3: 0.01 g
- Omega-6: 3.5 g
- Protein: 6.01 g
- Almonds are a true tree nut.
- An ounce (28g) serving is equivalent to approximately twenty-three almonds.
- Almonds are also an excellent vitamin E and manganese source, offering 48% and 27% of the daily value, respectively (4, 5).
For more on almond products, see this guide to almond flour.
3) Baru Nuts
Baru nuts are a lesser-known nut variety, but they have grown in popularity over recent years.
Like several other foods that we know as “nuts,” baru nuts are not a true tree nut.
Instead, they are similar to peanuts in that they are botanically a legume (6).
The nuts mainly grow in Brazil and offer a good range of nutritional benefits, a striking visual appearance, and taste good.
The USDA has a listing for baru nuts that provides their nutritional values per 3-tbsp (30-gram) serving. However, to keep things consistent, the values have been calculated and adjusted for an ounce-sized serving (7):
- Calories: 151 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 8.5 g
- Fiber: 3.8 g
- Sugars: 0.9 g
- Fat: 11.3 g
- Saturated: 2.4 g
- Protein: 6.6 g
- Botanically, baru nuts are legume seeds rather than tree nuts.
- Baru nuts are moderately high in all three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
4) Black Walnuts
While most of us only know the word ‘walnut,’ it is worth knowing that there are two common types of walnut.
One of these is the English walnut, which is most prevalent and has the scientific name ‘Juglans regia’ (8).
The second type is the black walnut, which has the scientific name ‘Juglans nigra’ (9).
Although the two walnut varieties are similar nutritionally, English walnuts have a milder and more pleasant taste. For this reason, it is harder to find black walnuts, and the majority of walnut products use English walnuts as the ingredient.
Here are the nutritional values for an ounce (28.35g) serving of black walnuts (10):
- Calories: 175 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 2.72 g
- Fiber: 1.93 g
- Sugars: 0.31 g
- Fat: 16.8 g
- Saturated: 0.99 g
- Monounsaturated: 4.37 g
- Polyunsaturated: 10.3 g
- Omega-3: 0.76 g
- Omega-6: 9.58 g
- Protein: 6.83 g
- Black walnuts are a true tree nut.
- Compared to regular (English) walnuts, black walnuts contain fewer calories, fewer carbohydrates and fat, and more than 50% higher protein.
- Black walnuts contain high amounts of manganese and copper.
5) Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts grow in South America throughout the Amazon rainforest.
As their name suggests, they are particularly prevalent in Brazil and countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, and Venezuela.
The nuts grow on a tree known as Bertholletia excelsa (otherwise known as the Brazil nut tree), which can grow to hundreds of meters in height (11).
Brazil nuts are the biggest out of all nut varieties, and they contain more dietary selenium than any other food (12).
The nuts are popular in their whole form, and chocolate-coated Brazil nuts are also quite popular.
Nutritionally, Brazil nuts offer the following nutrients per ounce (28.35-gram) serving (13):
- Calories: 187 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.32 g
- Fiber: 2.13 g
- Sugars: 0.66 g
- Fat: 19.0 g
- Saturated: 4.56 g
- Monounsaturated: 6.78 g
- Polyunsaturated: 6.92 g
- Omega-3: 0.01 g
- Omega-6: 6.78 g
- Protein: 4.05 g
- Just one serving of Brazil nuts also provides 544 mcg of selenium, equivalent to 989% of the daily value (4, 13).
- An ounce (28.35g) serving of Brazil nuts is approximately 5-6 Brazil nuts.
6) Cashew Nuts
Cashews are a true tree nut, and global production centers around Asia and Africa, with Vietnam and India being the top exporters (14).
Compared to other nuts, cashews have a higher concentration of carbohydrates, and they are slightly lower in fat.
Per ounce (28-gram) serving, they offer (15):
- Calories: 157 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 8.56 g
- Fiber: 0.94 g
- Sugars: 1.68 g
- Fat: 12.4 g
- Saturated: 2.21 g
- Monounsaturated: 6.75 g
- Polyunsaturated: 2.22 g
- Omega-3: 0.02 g
- Omega-6: 2.21 g
- Protein: 5.16 g
- Cashew nuts are a rich source of minerals, and they offer high amounts of copper, magnesium, and manganese.
- Interestingly, cashew nuts grow outside the fruit rather than inside, unlike most nuts. This is because they are attached to the bottom of the cashew nut fruit.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving is roughly 18-20 cashew nuts.
Chestnuts are different from other kinds of nuts in that they are predominantly a source of starchy carbohydrates.
Most chestnut production happens in five countries: China, Bolivia, Turkey, South Korea, and Italy (16).
Roasted chestnuts often appear for sale in the winter, and they are one of the tastiest ways to eat any nut.
Per ounce (28-gram) serving, roasted chestnuts offer (17):
- Calories: 70 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 15.0 g
- Fiber: 1.45 g
- Sugars: 3.0 g
- Fat: 0.62 g
- Saturated: 0.12 g
- Monounsaturated: 0.22 g
- Polyunsaturated: 0.25 g
- Omega-3: 0.03 g
- Omega-6: 0.22 g
- Protein: 0.90 g
- Although chestnuts are a true tree nut, their nutrition profile is unlike other types of nuts. The main difference is that they contain a high amount of carbohydrates and minimal fat content.
- An ounce (28.35g) is approximately 3-4 chestnuts.
Turkey dominates the worldwide production of hazelnuts, and the nation produces more than two-thirds of the global supply (18).
As one of the world’s most popular types of nuts, hazelnuts are delicious and used in all sorts of food products.
Hazelnuts are a favorite pairing with chocolate and coffee, among their many uses.
Hazelnuts are also one of the most nutritious nut varieties. Per ounce (28-gram) serving, they offer (19):
- Calories: 178 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 4.73 g
- Fiber: 2.75 g
- Sugars: 1.23 g
- Fat: 17.2 g
- Saturated: 1.26 g
- Monounsaturated: 13.0 g
- Polyunsaturated: 2.24 g
- Omega-3: 0.03 g
- Omega-6: 2.22 g
- Protein: 4.25 g
- Hazelnuts are a true tree nut.
- The nuts are a rich source of many vital nutrients, and they are high in manganese, copper, and vitamin E.
- An ounce (28.35g) contains approximately 21 hazelnuts.
9) Hickory Nuts
Hickory nuts grow on several species of Hickory trees, and they share some common characteristics with pecans.
These nuts can be more difficult to find in stores, but many people enjoy foraging for them if they are present in the local area.
Hickory nuts have a buttery and mildly sweet taste, and they are enjoyable to eat.
Based on data from the NCC Food and Nutrient Database, here are the nutrition facts for an ounce (28-gram) serving of hickory nuts (20):
- Calories: 186 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 5.17 g
- Fiber: 1.81 g
- Sugars: 1.48 g
- Fat: 18.25 g
- Saturated: 2.0 g
- Monounsaturated: 9.25 g
- Polyunsaturated: 6.20 g
- Omega-3: 0.30 g
- Omega-6: 5.85 g
- Protein: 3.61 g
- Hickory nuts are a true tree nut.
- The nuts are a good source of copper, manganese, and thiamin (vitamin B1).
- An ounce (28.35g) provides roughly 9-10 hickory nuts.
Macadamia nuts originate in Australia, and significant commercial production happens there too.
However, most global production takes place in South Africa, which produced 52,412 tons of macadamia nuts in 2018 (21).
Macadamia nuts have high fat content and a delicious buttery taste.
On the downside, they are reasonably expensive, and they tend to contain lower amounts of vitamins and minerals than other nuts.
A typical ounce (28.35-gram) serving offers (22):
- Calories: 204 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.91 g
- Fiber: 2.44 g
- Sugars: 1.30 g
- Fat: 21.5 g
- Saturated: 3.43 g
- Monounsaturated: 16.7 g
- Polyunsaturated: 0.43 g
- Omega-3: 0.06 g
- Omega-6: 0.37 g
- Protein: 2.24 g
- Macadamias are tree nuts.
- Among the vitamins and minerals they provide, macadamias are most concentrated in manganese and thiamin (vitamin B1).
- An ounce (28.35g) provides approximately 10-12 macadamia nuts.
11) Marcona Almonds
Marcona almonds are native to Spain, and they are also known as ‘sweet almonds.’
Compared to regular almonds, they have a larger size, higher fat content, and a softer, more buttery texture.
As shown in the picture above, Marcona almonds look somewhat like the cross between regular almonds and macadamia nuts.
An ounce (28.35-gram) serving of Marcona almonds has the following nutritional values (23):
- Calories: 170 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 5.01 g
- Fiber: 3.0 g
- Sugars: 1.0 g
- Fat: 15.0 g
- Saturated: 1.0 g
- Protein: 5.99 g
- Marcona almonds tend to cost more than regular almonds due to their importation from Spain.
- Marcona almonds have a creamier, mildly sweeter taste than regular almonds. However, they are pretty similar nutritionally other than a slightly lower carbohydrate and slightly higher fat content.
Although they are technically a legume, peanuts are one of the most popular types of ‘nuts.’
One of their biggest claims to fame is their use in peanut butter, which is the most popular of the different nut butters.
These nuts are usually available either salted, dry-roasted or in the form of peanut butter, which is an incredibly popular food product.
Due to the popularity of these nuts, global production stands at approximately 45 million tons per year. Interestingly, China produces more than double that of any other country (24).
Despite being a legume botanically, peanuts share many of the same nutritional characteristics as true tree nuts, including their high fat content.
Here are their basic nutritional values per ounce serving (25):
- Calories: 161 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 4.56 g
- Fiber: 2.41 g
- Sugars: 1.34 g
- Fat: 13.9 g
- Saturated: 1.78 g
- Monounsaturated: 6.92 g
- Polyunsaturated: 4.42 g
- Omega-3: 0.001 g
- Omega-6: 4.42 g
- Protein: 7.31 g
- Peanuts are not a true tree nut. Despite being sold and used as nuts, they are botanically legumes.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving is approximately 30-35 peanuts.
- Peanuts are arguably the most popular common nut.
Learn more about other peanut products:
Pecans are one of the most popular nuts in baking and making desserts. However, they taste just great on their own too.
The United States is the primary global producer of pecans, and the nation produces more than 250 million pounds of these nuts per year (26).
Pecans are also quite nutritious, and they offer the following nutrition profile per ounce (28-gram) serving (27):
- Calories: 196 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.94 g
- Fiber: 2.72 g
- Sugars: 1.12 g
- Fat: 20.4 g
- Saturated: 1.75 g
- Monounsaturated: 11.6 g
- Polyunsaturated: 6.12 g
- Omega-3: 0.28 g
- Omega-6: 5.84 g
- Protein: 2.60 g
- Pecans are a true tree nut.
- Among the nutrients they contain, pecans are a rich source of manganese and copper.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving is equivalent to approximately 19 pecan halves.
- Pecans are one of the most popular nuts used in desserts, and they feature in a variety of cakes and pastries.
14) Pili Nuts
Pili nuts primarily grow in Northern Australia and the Philippines, with the latter producing more than 80% of the world’s supply (28).
In recent years, pili nuts have grown in popularity and become a little more common worldwide.
The nuts contain more fat per gram than any other nut, and they have an enjoyable, mild taste.
Per ounce (28-gram) serving, pili nuts offer the following nutrients (29):
- Calories: 204 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 1.13 g
- Fat: 22.6 g
- Saturated: 8.84 g
- Monounsaturated: 10.5 g
- Polyunsaturated: 2.16 g
- Protein: 3.06 g
- Pili nuts are a true tree nut.
- Pili nuts are not among the most vitamin and mineral-rich nut choices. However, they offer moderately high amounts of manganese, magnesium thiamin, phosphorus, and copper.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving is roughly 15 pili nuts.
15) Pine Nuts
Pine nuts are one of the harder-to-find nut varieties, but they taste delicious. Further, they are one of the key ingredients in the famous condiment pesto.
Despite this, pine nuts have increased in visibility over recent years and offer an excellent nutritional profile.
An ounce (28-gram) serving of pine nuts offers the following basic nutritional values (30):
- Calories: 191 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.71 g
- Fiber: 1.05 g
- Sugars: 1.02 g
- Fat: 19.4 g
- Saturated: 1.39 g
- Monounsaturated: 5.33 g
- Polyunsaturated: 9.67 g
- Omega-3: 0.046 g
- Omega-6: 9.41 g
- Protein: 3.88 g
- Pine nuts provide a great source of manganese, copper, and magnesium.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving equals approximately 167 pine nut kernels.
- Pine nuts are a tree nut.
Different from most other types of nuts, pistachios are usually sold still in their shell.
These nuts originate from the Middle East, but the primary producers of pistachios are Iran and the United States (31).
Pistachios have a mild and slightly sweet taste, and in combination with a bit of salt, they taste delicious. In this regard, the fact that you have to break the shells of each nut helps stop you from eating too many!
Per standard ounce (28-gram) serving, pistachios provide (32):
- Calories: 159 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 7.71 g
- Fiber: 3.0 g
- Sugars: 2.17 g
- Fat: 12.8 g
- Saturated: 1.68 g
- Monounsaturated: 6.61 g
- Polyunsaturated: 4.08 g
- Omega-3: 0.08 g
- Omega-6: 4.0 g
- Protein: 5.73 g
- Pistachios are also a good source of copper, vitamin B6, and thiamin (B1).
- An ounce (28.35g) serving is equivalent to 49 pistachio nut kernels.
- The pistachio is a tree nut.
17) Sacha Inchi
Similar to almonds, sacha inchi are seeds rather than true nuts.
However, they are sold and marketed as nuts.
Sachi inchi nuts are also commonly referred to as ‘Inca peanuts.’
The Amazon rainforest is home to a significant amount of sacha inchi production. Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are among the most prominent global producers (33).
Unfortunately since sacha inchi nuts are mostly imported from afar, they can be quite expensive.
Per ounce (28.35-gram) serving, sacha inchi nuts provide (34):
- Calories: 170 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 5.0 g
- Fiber: 5.0 g
- Fat: 13.0 g
- Saturated: 1.0 g
- Monounsaturated: 1.0 g
- Polyunsaturated: 11.0 g
- Protein: 9.0 g
- As shown in the nutritional values above, sacha inchi nuts are a surprisingly rich source of protein with nine grams per ounce.
- Sacha inchi ‘nuts’ are not true tree nuts – they are botanically seeds.
- Additionally, sacha inchi nuts are one of the most significant plant-based sources of omega-3. Approximately half of their polyunsaturated fat content is from alpha-linolenic acid; the form of omega-3 found in plant foods (35, 36).
18) Tiger Nuts
Although they contain the word “nuts” in their name, and even though you may see them in the ‘nuts’ section, tiger nuts are not technically nuts.
Despite being relatively high in dietary fat, tiger nuts are small tubers, and they are more closely related to foods like sweet potatoes (37).
That said, people consume tiger nuts in a way similar to other nuts.
On this note, they can be eaten alone, added to yogurt, used in trail mixes, and tiger nut flour is a popular choice for baking.
- Calories: 117 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 12.3 g
- Fiber: 2.5 g
- Sugars: 3.7 g
- Fat: 7.1 g
- Saturated: 1.2 g
- Monounsaturated: 5.1 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7 g
- Omega-3: <0.1 g
- Omega-6: 0.6 g
- Protein: 1.4 g
- Tiger nuts are a good source of numerous vitamins and minerals. They are highest in manganese and thiamin (vitamin B1).
- Tiger nuts are tubers, and they are not true tree nuts.
- There are approximately 40 tiger nuts in an ounce (28.35g) serving.
19) Walnuts (English Walnuts)
Walnuts are among the most popular types of nuts, and approximately 50% of global production comes from China (40).
Not only are they used as a snack, but they are also a significant ingredient in a wide range of recipes.
Per ounce (28.35-gram) serving, the basic nutritional values of walnuts are as below (41):
- Calories: 183 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 3.88 g
- Fiber: 1.9 g
- Sugars: 0.74 g
- Fat: 18.5 g
- Saturated: 1.74 g
- Monounsaturated: 2.53 g
- Polyunsaturated fat: 13.4 g
- Omega-3: 2.57 g
- Omega-6: 10.8 g
- Protein: 4.31 g
- The essential nutrients that walnuts provide in the highest amounts include copper, magnesium, and manganese.
- An ounce (28.35g) serving provides approximately 14 walnut halves.
- Walnuts are a true tree nut.
How Do Nuts Compare Nutritionally?
The table below compares the basic nutritional details at a glance for every nut featured in this guide.
|Sacha inchi nuts||170||5.0g||13.0g||9.0g||–||–|
(Note: the nutritional values were unavailable for omega-3 and omega-6 in table cells featuring a dash).
How To Eat More Nuts
Here is a list of some ways to include more nuts into the diet:
- Replace existing ‘snacks’ in the diet with a handful of nuts
- Add a sprinkle of nuts into breakfast cereal
- Mix some nuts into a yogurt
- Make a trail mix of nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate pieces
- Blend some nuts into smoothies
Regarding the first of these points, it has been shown that replacing snacks such as potato chips with nuts can have benefits.
- Improve satiety levels (the feeling of being satisfied after eating and not feeling hungry)
- Lead to potential weight loss
- Improve markers of cardiovascular health
Make Homemade Nut Flours
Another way to incorporate more nuts could be to use nut flours rather than white flour.
Options such as almond flour are very popular and nutrient-rich, and they make food taste good.
Interestingly, making nut flours at home is relatively straightforward; all you need are the nuts of choice and a good quality blender.
It is important not to blend the nuts for too long for those who wish to try making a nut flour at home.
Once the nuts have been blended into a flour-like texture, further blending will release all their fat content, making the mixture sticky.
Generally speaking, it only needs 10 seconds of blending to get the right texture. However, this can vary depending on the specific nuts (and the quantity), so use personal judgment.
Are There Any Downsides To Eating Nuts?
Generally speaking, all nuts are relatively nutritious and offer protein, some healthy fats, and a good range of vitamins and minerals.
In addition to their nutritional value, most nuts are an affordable and convenient food source.
However, as with anything, there can be some potential downsides.
Here are some valuable guides to nut allergies for further information:
- ‘Tree Nut Allergy’ by Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE)
- ‘Everything You Need To Know About Tree Nut Allergy’ by the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology
High In Calories
Nuts contain a large number of calories, and they are one of the most energy-dense foods.
While they are a healthy and nutrient-rich option, care is needed with portion size.
A typical serving of nuts is widely considered to be one ounce (28.35g), which is about a small handful.
Some Packaged Nuts Are Quite Salty
Some nuts are packaged and ready salted.
There is nothing wrong with consuming some salted nuts for those who like the taste. However, it is just something to be aware of, particularly for individuals carefully monitoring their salt intake.
Common Questions About Nuts
If this guide didn’t adequately cover everything, here are some common questions people have about nuts.
Nuts can be a good source of protein, depending on the specific nut. However, some options, such as acorns, chestnuts, macadamia nuts, and tiger nuts, only contain low protein.
Yes, nuts are a whole food. In contrast, nut products, such as almond flour and peanut butter, are processed foods. However, ‘processed’ isn’t always a bad thing; many processed foods can be excellent sources of nutrients.
Whether nuts are helpful for weight loss or not depends on the answers to two questions: “compared to what?” and “in what amount?” In other words, nuts are a better option than refined carbohydrate snacks, but adding extra nuts into a diet with excess food/energy intake won’t be helpful. On the other hand, nuts may support weight loss as part of a decent overall diet.
Almonds, baru nuts, black walnuts, Marcona almonds, peanuts, and sacha inchi are the most protein-rich nut options. These nuts have between 6 grams and 9 grams of protein per ounce (28.35g) serving.
Almonds, baru nuts, cashew nuts, and chestnuts contain moderately high carbohydrates. These nuts provide from 6 grams to 15 grams of carbohydrate per ounce (28.35g) serving.
Brazil nuts, pecans, pine nuts, pili nuts, and walnuts have the highest fat content. These nuts contain between 18.5g and 22.6g of fat per ounce (28.35g) serving.
Some nuts can be quite expensive. Buying nuts in bulk provides greater value for money for those who can. All nuts contain beneficial nutrients, so choosing whichever nuts are best-priced at the point of purchase can also help to reduce costs.