Walnuts vs Brazil Nuts: Which is Healthier?


Brazil nuts and walnuts both make a great snack, but does one have more nutritional value over the other?

That’s what we’ll find out here.

This post is a short head-to-head comparison of the nutrition that brazil nuts and walnuts provide. All data is per 100 grams of each nut.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Walnuts and Brazil Nuts

When it comes to the macronutrients of both nuts, they are basically identical, as shown below.

  Walnuts Brazil nut
Energy (kcal) 654.7 658.6
Protein (g) 15.2 14.3
Total Lipid (g) 65.2 67.1
Carbohydrate (g) 13.7 11.7
Fiber (g) 6.7 7.5
Sugars (g) 2.6 2.3

Calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fiber are all within a small amount of each other, so let’s not spend any more time here.

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Walnuts and Brazil Nuts

One concern over eating nuts is that most nuts have poor omega 3 to 6 fat ratios, which can lead to inflammation. 

Ideally, research suggests you want an omega 6 to 3 fat ratio of 4 or below. To see data for more nuts and a summary of the research, see my post on omega 3 and 6 fats in nuts.

  Walnuts Brazil Nuts
Omega 3 Fats 8.49 0.036
Omega 6 Fats 35.7 23.9
Omega 6:3 Ratio 4.20 663.89

Brazil nuts have a terrible ratio, while walnuts have the best omega fat ratio of all common nuts.

If you’re only eating a few nuts here and there, it’s not that big of a deal, but walnuts are still preferable in this regard.

Vitamins and Minerals of Walnuts and Brazil Nuts

high fat nuts

While walnuts have a better omega fat profile, brazil nuts have more of most vitamins and minerals.

  RDA Walnuts Brazil nut
Selenium (µg) 55 5.0 1917.0
Manganese (mg) 2.3 3.4 1.2
Phosphorus (mg) 700 345.3 724.8
Magnesium (mg) 400 157.3 375.9
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.3 0.6
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.5 0.1
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.7 5.7
Zinc (mg) 11 3.1 4.1
Potassium (mg) 2000 441.0 658.6
Folate (µg) 400 97.4 22.6
Iron (mg) 18 2.9 2.4
Calcium (mg) 1200 97.4 159.4
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.0
Niacin (mg) 16 1.1 0.3
Choline (mg) 550 39.1 28.9

And no, that is not a typo, brazil nuts have a ridiculous amount of selenium in them (more than any other food).

Because of that, it’s not good to eat too many brazil nuts on a regular basis, it can lead to selenium poisoning.

While both nuts have a good variety of vitamins and minerals, brazil nuts have more of many important minerals like magnesium, zinc, and potassium.

Walnuts vs Brazil Nuts: Which is Healthier?

Brazil nuts are arguably healthier than walnuts, but only in small amounts. They have a poor omega fat ratio, plus a very high amount of selenium, which means that they are unhealthy in large doses.

Walnuts have a great omega fat ratio, but fewer vitamins and minerals than brazil nuts (but still a decent amount). For a regular snack, walnuts are the healthier choice.

Are Walnuts or Brazil Nuts Better for Weight Loss?

Brazil nuts and walnuts have an almost identical macronutrient profile, so neither is better than the other for weight loss. The amount of calories, protein, and fiber are almost the same per serving.

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.