14 Types of Nuts: How Do They Compare?

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There are many different types of nuts.

Some of these are known as “true nuts,” and their pods do not contain separate seeds and fruit. True nuts include chestnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts.

Others are not botanically nuts, but we tend to call (and use) them as nuts. For example, almonds (seeds), peanuts (legumes), and tiger nuts (tubers) are not true nuts.

Nuts are full of beneficial nutrients, and they are one of the best foods we can eat for our health.

This guide will cover some of the most popular types of nuts and provide an overview of their nutritional benefits.

All nutritional values are courtesy of the USDA’s FoodData Central Database.

1) Acorns

Two Acorns.

Acorns have a long history of use as a source of food, and they were once a staple food around the world. 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, 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-gram) serving of acorns provides (3):

  • Calories: 110 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 11.6 g
  • Fat: 6.8 g
  • Saturated: 0.9 g
  • Monounsaturated: 4.3 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 1.3 g
  • Omega-3: 0 g
  • Omega-6: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 1.7 g

Acorns are not particularly high in vitamins or minerals, but they offer a moderate source of manganese: approximately 17% of the daily value.

2) Almonds

A Pile of Almonds

 

Almonds originated in the Middle East, and they were domesticated thousands of years ago.

The nuts are popular around the world in their whole form, and there are also many food products made from the nuts such as almond flour and almond milk.

Almonds are not a true nut, and they are botanically a seed.

Per ounce (28-gram) serving, almonds provide (4):

  • Calories: 162 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 6.0 g
  • Fiber: 3.5 g
  • Sugars: 1.2 g
  • Fat: 14.0 g
  • Saturated: 1.1 g
  • Monounsaturated: 8.8 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 3.5 g
  • Omega-3: 0.01 g
  • Omega-6: 3.5 g
  • Protein: 5.9 g

Almonds are also an excellent source of vitamin E and manganese, offering 48% and 27%, respectively, of the daily value.

See this full guide to the nutritional properties of almonds for more information.

3) Brazil Nuts

Picture of Brazil Nuts.

Brazil nuts grow in South America throughout the Amazon rainforest.

As their name suggests, they are particularly prevalent in Brazil, in addition to 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 (5).

Brazil nuts are the biggest out of all nut varieties, and they are the world’s biggest source of dietary selenium (6).

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-gram) serving (7):

  • Calories: 187 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3.3 g
  • Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Sugars: 0.7 g
  • Fat: 19.0 g
  • Saturated: 4.6 g
  • Monounsaturated: 6.8 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 6.9 g
  • Omega-3: 0.01 g
  • Omega-6: 6.9 g
  • Protein: 4.1 g

Just one serving of Brazil nuts also provides 543 mg of selenium, which is equivalent to 987% of the daily value.

See this full guide to Brazil nuts for more information on their benefits.

4) Cashew Nuts

Pile of Cashew Nuts.

 

Cashews are a true tree nut, and global production centers around Asia and Africa, with Vietnam and India being the top exporters (8).

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 (9):

  • Calories: 157 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 8.6 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Sugars: 1.7 g
  • Fat: 12.4 g
  • Saturated: 2.2 g
  • Monounsaturated: 6.8 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 2.2 g
  • Omega-3: 0.02 g
  • Omega-6: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 5.2 g

Cashew nuts are a rich source of minerals, and they offer particularly high amounts of:

  • Copper: 69% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 20% of the DV
  • Manganese: 20% of the DV

See this guide for more on the nutritional benefits of cashews.

5) Chestnuts

Picture of Two Chestnuts - Shelled and Unshelled.

Chestnuts are different from other kinds of nuts in that they are predominantly a source of starchy carbohydrates.

The majority of chestnut production happens in five countries: China, Bolivia, Turkey, South Korea, and Italy (10).

Roasted chestnuts appear for sale in the winter, and they are one of the tastiest forms of any nut.

Although chestnuts are a true tree nut, their nutrition profile is unlike other types of nuts.

As mentioned, chestnuts contain carbohydrates, and they are also very low in fat.

Per ounce (28-gram) serving, roasted chestnuts offer (11):

  • Calories: 70 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 15.0 g
  • Fiber: 1.5 g
  • Sugars: 3.0 g
  • Fat: 0.6 g
  • Saturated: 0.1 g
  • Monounsaturated: 0.2 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 0.3 g
  • Omega-3: 0.03 g
  • Omega-6: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g

For more information, here is a full guide to the benefits of chestnuts.

6) Hazelnuts

Pile of Hazelnuts: With and Without Skin.

 

Turkey dominates worldwide production of hazelnuts, and the nation produces more than two-thirds of the global supply (12).

As one of the most popular types of nuts, hazelnuts are delicious and used in all sorts of food products. Among their many uses, hazelnuts are a favorite pairing with chocolate and coffee.

Hazelnuts are also one of the most nutritious nut varieties. Per ounce (28-gram) serving, they offer (13):

  • Calories: 178 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 4.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.8 g
  • Sugars: 1.2 g
  • Fat: 17.2 g
  • Saturated: 1.3 g
  • Monounsaturated: 12.9 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 2.3 g
  • Omega-3: 0.02 g
  • Omega-6: 2.2 g
  • Protein: 4.2 g

The nuts are a rich source of many vital nutrients, and they are particularly high in:

  • Manganese: 76% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 28% of the DV
  • Copper: 54% of the DV

See this overview of the benefits of hazelnuts for further information.

7) Macadamia

Picture of macadamia nuts.

Macadamia nuts originate in Australia, and a lot of commercial production happens there too.

However, the majority of global production takes place in South Africa, which produced 52,412 tons of macadamia nuts in 2018 (14).

Macadamia nuts are arguably the tastiest type of nut, and they have a delicious buttery taste. On the downside, they are reasonably expensive, and they are one of the least nutrient-dense nuts.

A typical ounce (28-gram) serving offers (15):

  • Calories: 204 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Sugars: 1.3 g
  • Fat: 21.5 g
  • Saturated: 3.4 g
  • Monounsaturated: 16.7 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 0.4 g
  • Omega-3: 0.06 g
  • Omega-6: 0.4 g
  • Protein: 2.2 g

Among the vitamins and minerals they provide, macadamias are most concentrated in manganese (51% DV) and thiamin (28% DV).

This full guide to the nutritional benefits of macadamia nuts provides more information.

8) Peanuts

Picture of peanuts.

Although they are technically a legume, peanuts are one of the most popular types of ‘nuts.’

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. China produces more than double the amount of any other country (16).

Despite being a legume botanically, peanuts share many of the same nutritional characteristics as true tree nuts, such as their high fat content.

Here are their basic nutritional values per ounce serving (17):

  • Calories: 161 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 4.6 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Sugars: 1.3 g
  • Fat: 14.0 g
  • Saturated: 1.8 g
  • Monounsaturated: 6.9 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 4.4 g
  • Omega-3: 0.01 g
  • Omega-6: 4.4 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g

See this in-depth guide to peanuts for more on their benefits and drawbacks.

9) Pecans

Pile of Pecan Nuts.

 

Pecans are one of the most popular types of nuts in baking and for 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 (18).

Pecans are also quite nutritious, and they offer the following nutrition profile per ounce (28-gram) serving (19):

  • Calories: 196 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Fiber: 2.7 g
  • Sugars: 1.1 g
  • Fat: 20.4 g
  • Saturated: 1.8 g
  • Monounsaturated: 11.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 6.1 g
  • Omega-3: 0.3 g
  • Omega-6: 5.9 g
  • Protein: 2.6 g

Pecans are also a rich source of manganese (56% DV) and copper (38% DV).

See here for a full guide to pecans and their benefits.

10) Pili Nuts

Pile of Shelled and Unshelled Pili Nuts.

Pili nuts primarily grow in Northern Australia and the Philippines, with the latter producing more than 80% of the world’s supply (20).

In recent years, pili nuts have grown in popularity and become more popular around the world.

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 (21):

  • Calories: 204 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 1.1 g
  • Fat: 22.6 g
  • Saturated: 0.8 g
  • Monounsaturated: 10.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g

Although pili nuts are not among the most nutrient-dense nut choices, they do offer moderate amounts of some essential vitamins and minerals:

  • Manganese: 33% DV
  • Magnesium: 21% DV
  • Thiamin: 17% DV
  • Phosphorus: 16% DV
  • Copper: 14% DV

For more information, see this full guide to the unique pili nut.

11) Pine Nuts

Picture of pine nuts.

Pine nuts are one of the least common varieties of nut, but they taste delicious, and they are one of the key ingredients in the condiment pesto.

Despite this, they have been increasing in popularity over recent years and offer an excellent nutrition profile.

An ounce (28-gram) serving of pine nuts offers the following basic nutritional values (22):

  • Calories: 191 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.1 g
  • Sugars: 1.0 g
  • Fat: 19.4 g
  • Saturated: 1.4 g
  • Monounsaturated: 5.3 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 9.7 g
  • Omega-3: 0.03 g
  • Omega-6: 9.4 g
  • Protein: 3.9 g

Pine nuts provide a great source of the following vitamins and minerals;

  • Manganese: 109% DV
  • Copper: 42% DV
  • Magnesium: 17% DV

For further information, see this complete guide to pine nuts.

12) Pistachio

A Pile of Pistachio Nuts With Slightly Open Shells.

Different from most other types of nuts, pistachios are usually sold still in their shell.

These nuts originate from the Middle East, but in the present day, the major producers of pistachios are Iran and the United States (23).

Pistachios have a mild and slightly sweet taste, and in combination with a little salt, they taste delicious.

Per standard ounce (28-gram) serving, they provide (24):

  • Calories: 159 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 7.7 g
  • Fiber: 3.0 g
  • Sugars: 2.2 g
  • Fat: 12.9 g
  • Saturated: 1.7 g
  • Monounsaturated: 6.6 g
  • Polyunsaturated: 4.1 g
  • Omega-3: 0.1 g
  • Omega-6: 4.0 g
  • Protein: 5.7 g

Pistachios are also a good source of the following essential nutrients:

  • Copper: 41% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 28% DV
  • Thiamin: 21% DV

See this full guide to the nutritional benefits of pistachio nuts for more information.

13) Sacha Inchi

Sacha Inchi (Inca Peanuts) In Their Shells and Unshelled Nuts.

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 largest global producers (25).

Per ounce (28-gram) serving, sacha inchi provide (26):

  • 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 is a surprisingly large source of protein.

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 (27, 28).

This complete guide to sacha inchi nuts provides more information.

14) Walnuts

Several Walnuts Next To Each Other.

Walnuts are among the most popular types of nuts, and approximately 50% of global production comes from China (29).

Not only are they used as a snack, but they are also a major ingredient in a wide range of recipes.

Per ounce (28-gram) serving, the basic nutritional values of walnuts are as below (30):

  • Calories: 183 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 3.8 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Sugars: 0.7 g
  • Fat: 18.3 g
  • Saturated: 1.7 g
  • Monounsaturated: 2.5 g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 13.2 g
  • Omega-3: 2.5 g
  • Omega-6: 10.7 g
  • Protein: 4.3 g

Some of the major nutrients in walnuts include:

  • Manganese: 42% DV
  • Copper: 49% DV
  • Magnesium: 11% DV

See this complete guide to walnuts for more information.

How Do Nuts Compare Nutritionally?

The table below compares the basic nutritional details for every nut at a glance.

Basic Nutrition Facts For All Types of Nuts
NutkcalCarbsProteinFatOmega 3Omega 6
Acorns11011.6 g1.7 g6.8 g0 g1.3 g
Almonds1626.0 g5.9 g14.0 g0.01 g3.5 g
 Brazil Nuts 1873.3 g4.1 g19.0 g0.01 g6.9 g
 Cashew Nuts157 8.6 g5.2 g12.4 g0.02 g2.2 g
 Chestnuts 7015.0 g 0.9 g 0.6 g0.03 g0.2 g
 Hazelnuts 1784.7 g4.2 g17.2 g0.02 g2.2 g
 Macadamia 2043.9 g2.2 g21.5 g0.06 g0.4 g
 Peanuts 1614.6 g 7.3 g 14.0 g0.01 g4.4 g
 Pecans1963.9 g2.6 g20.4 g0.3 g5.9 g
Pili Nuts2041.1 g3.1 g22.6
 Pine Nuts191 3.7 g3.9 g19.4 g0.03 g9.4 g
 Pistachio 1597.7 g5.7 g12.9 g0.1 g4.0 g
Sacha Inchi 1705.0 g9.0 g13.0 g
 Walnuts 183 3.8 g 4.3 g 18.3 g2.5 g10.7 g

Final Thoughts

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 also reasonably affordable and convenient.

On the negative side, nut allergies are quite common, and allergic reactions to nuts can sometimes be severe (31, 32).

For everyone else, though, nuts are a tasty and healthy food choice.

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