Cashews vs Macadamia Nuts: (Nutrition Data Comparison)


While cashews and macadamia nuts share certain common traits of nuts, they have some big nutritional differences.

This page is a short head-to-head comparison of cashews and macadamia nuts so that you can figure out if you want to include either one in your diet.

Note that all data on this page is per 100 gram serving size.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Cashews and Macadamia Nuts

Both nuts are high in fat as expected, but have some significant differences in their macros:

  Cashews Macadamia nuts
Energy (kcal) 573.7 717.9
Protein (g) 15.3 7.9
Total Lipid (g) 46.4 75.8
Carbohydrate (g) 32.7 13.8
Fiber (g) 3.1 8.7
Sugars (g) 5.0 4.6

It’s clear that:

  • Macadamia nuts are much higher in calories and fats
  • Cashews are higher in protein (almost double the amount), and also have more carbohydrates (almost 6 times the amount of net carbohydrates)

So if you’re looking to lose weight (i.e. minimize calories) or get protein to build muscle, cashews are better. However, on a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet, macadamia nuts may be the better choice.

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Cashews and Macadamia Nuts

Another health aspect of nuts to consider is the amount of omega 6 fats.

Most people get way too many omega 6 fats compared to omega 3s. Ideally you want a ratio of 4 to 1 or below (omega 6 to omega 3). See my summary of omega 3 and 6 fats in nuts for more details.

  Cashews Macadamia nuts
Omega 3 Fats 0.161 0.196
Omega 6 Fats 7.66 1.3
Omega 6:3 Ratio 47.58 6.63

Cashews have a poor omega fat ratio, while macadamia nuts have a good omega fat ratio among nuts.

In practical terms, you could eat a sizable amount of macadamia nuts without any significant health issues in most cases. But if you eat a lot of cashews on a regular basis, it will likely lead to inflammation that will have side effects.

Vitamins and Minerals of Cashews and Macadamia Nuts

One final area to look at are the micronutrients in these nuts.

Both have a really diverse profile of minerals and vitamins, but there are significant differences.

  RDA Cashews Macadamia nuts
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.8 4.1
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.2 1.2
Phosphorus (mg) 700 490.5 188.1
Magnesium (mg) 400 259.9 129.9
Zinc (mg) 11 5.6 1.3
Vitamin K (µg) 75 34.7 0.0
Iron (mg) 18 6.0 3.7
Potassium (mg) 2000 565.0 368.7
Selenium (µg) 55 11.7 3.6
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.3 0.3
Folate (µg) 400 68.6 10.4
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.2
Niacin (mg) 16 1.4 2.5
Choline (mg) 550 61.0 0.0
Calcium (mg) 1200 45.3 85.1
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.9 0.5

Macadamia nuts are absolutely loaded in manganese and thiamin, but those aren’t particularly hard to get for most people, so it’s not that important.

For most other nutrients, cashews contain significantly more. Overall, cashews have a stronger micronutrient profile.

Are Cashews and Macadamia Nuts Healthy?

Both cashews and macadamia nuts are healthy foods. They have a good amount of protein, are low in sugar, and have a ton of vitamins and minerals. 

However, they also are very calorie-dense, so they can be unhealthy if eaten in large quantities.

Cashews vs Macadamia Nuts: Which is Healthier?

In small doses, cashews are arguably the healthier nut. They have fewer calories, more protein, and a higher amount of most vitamins and minerals.

However, cashews have a poor omega fat ratio, while macadamia nuts have a good ratio. When eaten in large amounts on a regular basis, macadamia nuts are likely healthier.

Are Cashews or Macadamia Nuts Better for Weight Loss?

Cashews are better than macadamia nuts for weight loss because they have significantly fewer calories.

Note that macadamia nuts do have more fiber and fats, which may make them more filling for some people.

Are Cashews or Macadamia Nuts Better for Bodybuilding?

Cashews are clearly better than macadamia nuts for bodybuilding because they have nearly twice as much protein. In a 100 gram serving, cashews have about 15 grams of protein compared to 8 grams in macadamia nuts.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.