Cashews vs Walnuts: Calories, Protein, Nutrients


You can get cashews and walnuts for a similar price, so aside from taste preferences, which one is better for your diet?

I’ll try and help you find the answer to that question in this short data-based comparison.

We’ll look at nutritional information for both foods per 100 gram serving.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Cashews and Walnuts

Let’s start off with the macro profile of both of these nuts:

  Cashews Walnuts
Energy (kcal) 573.7 654.7
Protein (g) 15.3 15.2
Total Lipid (g) 46.4 65.2
Carbohydrate (g) 32.7 13.7
Fiber (g) 3.1 6.7
Sugars (g) 5.0 2.6

While the amount of protein is the same, there are a few significant differences:

  • Walnuts are higher in calories (about 14%) and fat
  • Cashews are higher in carbohydrates, but have less fiber and more sugars

For someone on a ketogenic diet, walnuts are clearly more suitable.

But for everyone else, these differences don’t matter that much.

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Cashews and Walnuts

The biggest difference between these 2 nuts is the omega fat ratio.

  Cashews Walnuts
Omega 3 Fats 0.161 8.49
Omega 6 Fats 7.66 35.7
Omega 6:3 Ratio 47.58 4.20

Walnuts have a great omega fat ratio, while cashews have a relatively poor ratio.

Ideally, you want an omega 6 to 3 ratio of about 4 or below, so walnuts just about squeak in below that threshold.

See my page on the omega 3 to 6 fats of nuts for more details and a summary of relevant research on the topic.

Vitamins and Minerals of Cashews and Walnuts

high fat nuts

The table below contains all the nutrients found in cashews and walnuts in significant amounts. I’ve highlighted the biggest differences in bold.

Note that the RDA was included as a general reference to sort the nutrients (from most to least). Your specific RDA may vary based on age and gender.

  RDA Cashews Walnuts
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.8 3.4
Phosphorus (mg) 700 490.5 345.3
Magnesium (mg) 400 259.9 157.3
Zinc (mg) 11 5.6 3.1
Vitamin K (µg) 75 34.7 2.7
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.3 0.5
Iron (mg) 18 6.0 2.9
Potassium (mg) 2000 565.0 441.0
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.2 0.3
Folate (µg) 400 68.6 97.4
Selenium (µg) 55 11.7 5.0
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.2
Choline (mg) 550 61.0 39.1
Niacin (mg) 16 1.4 1.1
Calcium (mg) 1200 45.3 97.4
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.9 0.7

Overall, cashews have a slightly more nutritious profile here.

They are richer in:

  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin K
  • Iron
  • Selenium

While walnuts are only significantly higher in manganese, folate, and calcium.

Cashews vs Walnuts: Which is Healthier?

Walnuts are healthier than cashews if you eat a lot of nuts. They have a great omega fat ratio, more fiber, and less sugars.

For occasional snacks, you could argue that cashews are healthier due to having a slightly more nutritious profile of vitamins and minerals.

Are Cashews or Walnuts Better for Weight Loss?

Cashews have significantly fewer calories than walnuts, which makes them better for weight loss. In a 100 gram serving, cashews have 570 calories while walnuts have about 650 calories.

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.