Walnuts vs Pistachios: Which is Healthier?


This is a short side-by-side comparison of walnuts and pistachios.

We’ll look at macrosomega fats, and vitamins and minerals in each.

All data on this page is per 100 grams of each nut.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Walnuts and Pistachios

Most nuts have a similar macro profile, but there are some differences between this specific pair of nuts.

  Walnuts Pistachio nuts
Energy (kcal) 654.7 559.3
Protein (g) 15.2 20.2
Total Lipid (g) 65.2 45.3
Carbohydrate (g) 13.7 27.2
Fiber (g) 6.7 10.6
Sugars (g) 2.6 7.7

The biggest differences are that:

  • Walnuts have more calories, mainly coming from fat
  • Pistachios have more protein and carbohydrates
  • Pistachios also contain more sugars, but these are natural (not refined) so not really a significant health concern

Omega 3 and 6 Fat Ratios of Walnuts and Pistachios

high fat nuts

Most nuts have a terrible omega 3 to 6 fat ratio – but walnuts are the exception.

Walnuts have a better omega 3 to 6 fat ratio than all other nuts, and it’s much better than the ratio of pistachios.

  Walnuts Pistachios
Omega 3 Fats 8.49 0.289
Omega 6 Fats 35.7 14.1
Omega 6:3 Ratio 4.20 48.79

It’s fine to have some nuts with a poor omega fat ratio, but it’s recommended to limit how much and frequently you have them.

With walnuts, that’s not really a concern.

Vitamins and Minerals of Walnuts and Pistachios

Neither of these nuts clearly has a better nutrient profile of vitamins and minerals.

The best choice for you will depend on if you’re looking for more of a specific nutrient.

  RDA Walnuts Pistachio nuts
Manganese (mg) 2.3 3.4 1.2
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.5 1.7
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.3 0.9
Phosphorus (mg) 700 345.3 489.4
Potassium (mg) 2000 441.0 1024.4
Magnesium (mg) 400 157.3 120.3
Zinc (mg) 11 3.1 2.2
Folate (µg) 400 97.4 50.4
Iron (mg) 18 2.9 3.9
Vitamin E (mg) 15 0.7 2.9
Selenium (µg) 55 5.0 7.0
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.2
Calcium (mg) 1200 97.4 105.7
Niacin (mg) 16 1.1 1.3
Choline (mg) 550 39.1 0.0

Both nuts have a significant amount of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. A few servings will contain close to the RDA of several nutrients. 

If you’re looking to get more of a certain nutrient in your diet, one nut may be better than the other:

  • Walnuts have significantly more manganese, magnesium, zinc, and folate
  • Pistachios have much more vitamin B-6, thiamin, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and vitamin E

Walnuts vs Pistachios: Which is Healthier?

In general, walnuts are healthier than pistachios because they have a much better omega fat ratio. However, pistachios do have fewer calories and more protein, which can be healthier for certain diets.

Are Walnuts or Pistachios Better for Weight Loss?

Pistachios are better than walnuts for weight loss due to having significantly fewer calories. In a 100 gram serving, walnuts have 655 calories, compared to just 560 calories for pistachio nuts.

Are Walnuts or Pistachios Better for Bodybuilding?

Pistachios are better than walnuts for bodybuilding since they have about 33% more protein per serving. Pistachios also have fewer calories, which help them fit target macros more easily.

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.