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Walnut vs. Peanut — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on July 02, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Walnut
vs
Peanut

Summary

Walnuts are higher in calories and fats, whereas peanuts are richer in fiber and provide a larger percentage of daily values of several vitamins, such as vitamins B1, B3, B9, and vitamin E.

Walnuts are richer in copper. On the other hand, peanuts contain a higher level of iron and potassium.

Introduction

In this article, we will discuss the differences between peanuts and walnuts. Both of these are well-known, important crops grown worldwide. These nuts are some of the most loved snacks, and today, we will dig a little deeper and find out which one is healthier than the other and what are their nutritional and health differences. 

Nutrition

The nutritional values below are presented for raw peanuts of all types and English walnuts.

Macronutrients and Calories

Walnuts and peanuts are both highly dense in nutrients.

Calories

One hundred grams of walnuts contain 654 calories, while peanuts have fewer calories, containing 567 in a 100g serving. So both of these nut types are very high in calories.

Protein and Fats

Peanuts have richer protein content, whereas walnuts are higher in fats.

Both walnuts and peanuts have high levels of all essential amino acids. Peanuts are richer in tryptophan, histidine, and threonine. Walnuts have less amount of lysine compared with peanuts.

Walnuts are richer in healthy fats, containing large amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The replacement of saturated fatty acids with polyunsaturated fatty acids has been associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk (1).

 On the other hand, peanuts contain larger amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. Both of them have the same low amount of saturated fatty acids.

Both walnuts and peanuts do not contain cholesterol since they are plant-based.

Carbohydrates

Walnuts and peanuts contain nearly the same amount of carbohydrates. Yet, peanuts are richer in dietary fiber.

The main component of the carbohydrates found in walnuts, other than fiber, is sucrose. Walnuts contain a very small amount of fructose and glucose.

Vitamins

Although walnuts are more diverse in vitamins, peanuts provide a larger percentage of daily values of several vitamins, including vitamins B1 thiamine, B3 niacin, B9 folate, and vitamin E. Peanuts contain vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K.

Walnuts, on the other hand, are richer in vitamin B2, riboflavin, and vitamin B6.

Both of these nuts are equal in vitamin B2.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Walnut
5
:
6
Peanut
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +54.3%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +1090%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +87.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +972.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +210%
Contains more Folate +144.9%
Contains more Choline +33.9%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.135
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 2% 14% 0% 5% 86% 35% 22% 35% 124% 74% 0% 22% 7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 0% 167% 0% 0% 160% 32% 227% 107% 81% 180% 0% 29% 0%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +11.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +54.3%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +1090%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +87.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +972.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +210%
Contains more Folate +144.9%
Contains more Choline +33.9%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.135

Minerals

They have nearly similar mineral profiles. Both nuts are equal in calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. 

Peanuts contain a higher level of iron and potassium, while walnuts are richer in copper.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Walnut
4
:
6
Peanut
Contains less Sodium -88.9%
Contains more Copper +38.6%
Contains more Manganese +76.5%
Contains more Iron +57.4%
Contains more Potassium +59.9%
Contains more Selenium +46.9%
Equal in Calcium - 92
Equal in Magnesium - 168
Equal in Phosphorus - 376
Equal in Zinc - 3.27
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 30% 110% 113% 149% 39% 1% 85% 529% 446% 27%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 28% 172% 120% 162% 63% 3% 90% 382% 253% 40%
Contains less Sodium -88.9%
Contains more Copper +38.6%
Contains more Manganese +76.5%
Contains more Iron +57.4%
Contains more Potassium +59.9%
Contains more Selenium +46.9%
Equal in Calcium - 92
Equal in Magnesium - 168
Equal in Phosphorus - 376
Equal in Zinc - 3.27

Glycemic Index

Peanut has a low glycemic index and glycemic load. On a 100-point scale, the glycemic index of peanuts is 14, and the glycemic load of peanuts is one (2).

Having said that, both walnut's glycemic index and glycemic load are zero (2).

Acidity

The pH value of walnuts is more acidic, equivalent to 5.42, whereas the acidity of peanuts, depending on their type, is close to neutral. Raw peanuts' pH value is 6.87, and roasted peanuts' pH equals 6.31 (3).

The acidic effect of foods can also be quantified by calculating the potential renal acid load (PRAL) of the diet, which is based on dietary intakes of protein and mineral ions (4).

In this case, the PRAL value of walnuts is 5.6, which is considered to be acid-forming. The PRAL value of peanuts is 6.2, making them slightly more acid-forming than walnuts.

Weight Loss and Diets

Although walnuts and peanuts are highly nutritious however, them being high in calories should be taken into consideration in weight loss. Because when it comes to weight loss high volume and low calorie foods are important to consider. 

Walnuts are more suitable for a low-carb and a low glycemic index diet.

In the research related to weight loss, diets incorporated with peanuts, peanut butter, and peanut oil have been shown to provide improved long-term weight maintenance (2).

Health Impact

Health benefits

Since the protein in peanuts and walnuts is plant-based, it carries with it additional unique bioactive components that have positive health benefits.

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Research has identified numerous compounds in peanuts and their skins that may have added health benefits beyond basic nutrition (2).

Peanuts have been touted as a functional food with numerous functional components like Coenzyme Q10, which protects the heart during a period of lack of oxygen, for example, high altitudes and clogged arteries, in short hypoxia (2).

Peanut products, such as raw butter and oil, are more beneficial to heart health when compared to low-fat diets (2).

The high monounsaturated fat peanut diet has been studied to lower total body cholesterol by 11% and "bad" low-density lipoprotein by 14%. In contrast, "good" high-density lipoprotein was maintained with a reduction in triglycerides (2).

There is strong evidence supporting an association between monounsaturated fat, as well as overall nut intake, and a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease (2).

Walnuts have been shown to decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure, two major risk factors for cardiovascular disease (6).

The effect of walnuts on multiple cardiovascular disease targets over relatively short periods of time supports recommendations for their inclusion in a heart-healthy diet (6).

Peanuts are important to be added to our diets, in moderation, for lower risks of cardiovascular diseases.

Walnuts are also as important and have numerous positive health impacts on the cardiovascular system. Consumption of walnuts is also linked with decreased risks of cardiovascular diseases (5).

Brain Health

Walnuts contain several components that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (11).

Animal and human studies suggest that supplementation with walnuts in the diet may improve cognition and reduce the risk and progression of mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease (7).

Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association ranks peanuts and other nuts as diabetes superfoods. Peanuts make this list because they contain magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy oils and do not overly affect your blood glucose (2).

Walnut consumers showed a lower risk for diabetes compared with non-nut consumers based on self-report, as well as fasting blood glucose levels (8).

Cancer

Unsaturated fats, certain vitamins and minerals, and bioactive components have been shown to have cancer-preventive effects, which are all packaged into a peanut kernel (2).

In particular, the phytosterols in peanuts that have been studied in regard to cancer have been reported to reduce prostate tumor growth by over 40% and cut the occurrences of cancer spreading to other parts of the body by almost 50% (2).

Researchers have identified biochemicals found in walnuts that have cancer-prevention properties. Walnuts are an example of foods that contain many components that have individually been found to be beneficial against cancer. Walnuts are an exceptional plant-based source of 18-carbon α-linolenic acid (10).

Downsides & Risks

Allergy

Tree nut allergy is common and often severe (9).

The exact cause of the allergy is unknown.

The cotyledons, which are parts of the embryo of the seeds, are probably the primary source of allergen for most individuals, as the skins and hearts are often removed during processing.

Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, urticaria, angioedema (swelling of the lips, face, throat, and skin), as well as asthma, and anaphylactic shock (2).

Classification

Peanut (Arachis hypogaea), or "groundnut," as it is known in some parts of the world, is the edible seed of a legume plant. Botanically speaking, peanuts are not considered to be true nuts but are used as such in the kitchen due to their similar nutritional properties. Although a legume, it is generally included amongst the oilseeds due to its high oil content.

The walnut, also known as Juglans regia, is an appreciated nut that belongs to the Juglandaceae family. The fruit includes four main parts: the kernel, the skin, the shell, and the green husk. It is widely cultivated due to its edible kernel.

Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: July 02, 2023
Medically reviewed by Jack Yacoubian

Infographic

Walnut vs Peanut infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Walnut
1
:
4
Peanut
Contains more Fats +32.4%
Contains more Protein +69.4%
Contains more Carbs +17.7%
Contains more Water +59.7%
Contains more Other +30.9%
15% 65% 14% 4% 2%
Protein: 15.23 g
Fats: 65.21 g
Carbs: 13.71 g
Water: 4.07 g
Other: 1.78 g
26% 49% 16% 7% 2%
Protein: 25.8 g
Fats: 49.24 g
Carbs: 16.13 g
Water: 6.5 g
Other: 2.33 g
Contains more Fats +32.4%
Contains more Protein +69.4%
Contains more Carbs +17.7%
Contains more Water +59.7%
Contains more Other +30.9%

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Walnut
2
:
1
Peanut
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +203.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +173.4%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 6.279
10% 14% 76%
Saturated Fat: 6.126 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 8.933 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 47.174 g
14% 53% 34%
Saturated Fat: 6.279 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 24.426 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 15.558 g
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +203.2%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +173.4%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 6.279

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Walnut Peanut
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Walnut Peanut Opinion
Net carbs 7.01g 7.63g Peanut
Protein 15.23g 25.8g Peanut
Fats 65.21g 49.24g Walnut
Carbs 13.71g 16.13g Peanut
Calories 654kcal 567kcal Walnut
Starch 0.06g Walnut
Fructose 0.09g Walnut
Sugar 2.61g 4.72g Walnut
Fiber 6.7g 8.5g Peanut
Calcium 98mg 92mg Walnut
Iron 2.91mg 4.58mg Peanut
Magnesium 158mg 168mg Peanut
Phosphorus 346mg 376mg Peanut
Potassium 441mg 705mg Peanut
Sodium 2mg 18mg Walnut
Zinc 3.09mg 3.27mg Peanut
Copper 1.586mg 1.144mg Walnut
Manganese 3.414mg 1.934mg Walnut
Selenium 4.9µg 7.2µg Peanut
Vitamin A 20IU 0IU Walnut
Vitamin A RAE 1µg 0µg Walnut
Vitamin E 0.7mg 8.33mg Peanut
Vitamin C 1.3mg 0mg Walnut
Vitamin B1 0.341mg 0.64mg Peanut
Vitamin B2 0.15mg 0.135mg Walnut
Vitamin B3 1.125mg 12.066mg Peanut
Vitamin B5 0.57mg 1.767mg Peanut
Vitamin B6 0.537mg 0.348mg Walnut
Folate 98µg 240µg Peanut
Choline 39.2mg 52.5mg Peanut
Vitamin K 2.7µg 0µg Walnut
Tryptophan 0.17mg 0.25mg Peanut
Threonine 0.596mg 0.883mg Peanut
Isoleucine 0.625mg 0.907mg Peanut
Leucine 1.17mg 1.672mg Peanut
Lysine 0.424mg 0.926mg Peanut
Methionine 0.236mg 0.317mg Peanut
Phenylalanine 0.711mg 1.377mg Peanut
Valine 0.753mg 1.082mg Peanut
Histidine 0.391mg 0.652mg Peanut
Saturated Fat 6.126g 6.279g Walnut
Monounsaturated Fat 8.933g 24.426g Peanut
Polyunsaturated fat 47.174g 15.558g Walnut

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Walnut Peanut
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
32%
Walnut
75%
Peanut
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
152%
Walnut
131%
Peanut

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.11g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Walnut
Walnut contains less Sodium (difference - 16mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.153g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in glycemic index (difference - 13)
Which food is cheaper?
Peanut
Peanut is cheaper (difference - $2.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Peanut
Peanut is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Walnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170187/nutrients
  2. Peanut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172430/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.