Whether you are making butter chicken, paneer makhani, dry food laddoos, or almond burfi, nuts are an integral part of the Indian kitchen.

Used for ages and known for their power-packed high nutritional value, nuts are widely used across our country.

Almonds, cashews, and walnuts are three of the most popular nuts. But which one is the best for your health? The competition is indeed a tough nut to crack. Read on to know who wins!


You may have come across the statement “walnut is very good for your brain”. Literally resembling the human brain in shape, these nuts rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants do improve brain health (1), (2).

But this is not all! They are a great addition to your diet to keep you heart-healthy (3).

Walnuts are high in vitamins and minerals that help maintain important biological functions. They are packed with minerals such as copper, phosphorus, manganese, and vitamins such as folic acid, and vitamin E (4).


Native to Brazil, cashews are grown in warm climates across the world. Over the years, they have become an integral part of the Indian cuisine: be it your makhani, or taking the kheer to a different level, whether it’s the deliciousness of Kaju Katri or just roasted cashews with your evening drink, they are found in the pantry of every Indian household.

Cashews are rich in unsaturated fats, low in sugar, a great source of fiber, and are at par with an equivalent quantity of cooked meat in its protein content. They help keep your brain healthy and boost your immune system (5), (6), (7).

They are high in polyphenols and carotenoids making them antioxidant powerhouses. Cashews can help you lose weight, help you fight Type-2 diabetes, and even protect you from digestive diseases (8).


Almonds are the most popular in the nut category. It has an abundance of healthy fats and is rich in nutrients (9), (10).

Almonds are extremely versatile. Be it raw or roasted almonds, almond flour for the sweet delicacies, almond milk, or paste also known as marzipan, almonds can be consumed in any form.

Almonds are packed with nutrients, loaded with antioxidants, have a high amount of vitamin E and magnesium, can help regulate your blood sugar levels, assist in reducing weight, and are shown to help lower blood pressure levels (11).

Almond vs Cashews vs Walnuts

Now that you know a bit about each type of nuts, let’s see how they compare against each other when it comes to their nutrient content.

hands full of dry nuts almonds cashews and walnuts

1. Calories

1 ounce of almonds which comprises 23-24 of them has a calorie of 170. A similar amount of walnuts and cashews have 185 calories and 157 calories. The calories in almonds mostly come from fibers and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which decrease the bad cholesterol in the body and increase the good one. 

Like most other nuts, the calories in walnuts also come from fats. Yet this energy-dense, the high-calorie nut contains heart-healthy polyunsaturated fats that make this nut super healthy.

Cashews are the lowest in calories and have a very low glycaemic load. This means it does not increase your sugar level in the blood when taken. The calorie in cashews is of fibers, starch, and good fats.

2. Protein

When the protein content of almonds, cashews, and walnuts are compared, the almond wins the round. While almonds and cashews contain 6 and 5.17 grams of protein per ounce, walnuts have 4.3 grams of protein.

3. Fats

Walnuts contain a high amount of fats which is a whopping 18.5 grams per ounce. But do not get worried about that! This fat is mostly omega-3-fatty acids, especially alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that are very good for your heart and brain. 

Next comes almonds with 15 grams of fat which is mainly monounsaturated fat. These fats help lower bad cholesterol that can clog your arteries. It also improves your blood cholesterol levels.

Unlike the myth, cashew contains the least fat and has zero cholesterol. The fat mostly is unsaturated and monounsaturated fat which is heart-healthy. 

4. Vitamins

As you have noted by now that walnuts and almonds have a similar nutrition profile. So even though their calorie, protein, and fat content are almost the same, their vitamin content differs quite a lot. 

Almonds have a very high amount of vitamin E which can provide you up to 45% of your daily requirement. They also are the richest source of riboflavin, amongst other nuts.

Walnut in comparison has high levels of a special form of vitamin E, also known as the gamma-tocopherol, which are particularly beneficial (12). They help protect you from heart problems. Cashew has none. However, vitamin K, vitamin B1, B5, and B6, are very high in cashews which are good for heart functions and nerve health (13).

Walnuts are an excellent source of folic acid and biotin while almonds are great sources of riboflavin and niacin when compared to all the other nuts. These vitamins as a proenzyme or enzyme precursors regulate the multiple metabolisms that are occurring in the body.

5. Minerals

Cashews are a good source of magnesium, a mineral that is very important in the metabolism and synthesis of protein and fat. Cashews are richer than almonds in iron, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. That is why cashews are considered a good source of iron.

Walnuts contain manganese and molybdenum. While manganese is involved in carbohydrate, glucose, and cholesterol metabolism, molybdenum helps in the proper functioning of many enzymes in the body (14), (15).

Walnuts and cashews are good sources of calcium and potassium which help maintain the salt balance in the body. When compared to walnut and cashews, almonds have come as the winners; they have higher calcium, manganese, magnesium, and potassium than the two.

6. Antioxidants

Amongst the three nuts we are talking about here, walnuts have the highest antioxidant activity. It’s high vitamin E, melatonin, and plant compounds called polyphenols that have significant antioxidant activities. 

Almonds too have a high concentration of vitamin E and flavonoids, which scavenges the free radicals which cause oxidative damage. Cashews, in contrast, have polyphenols and carotenoids, which are strong antioxidants. One such carotenoid in cashew is zeaxanthin, which helps protect your eyes.

However, when compared directly between the three, walnuts contain twice as many antioxidant polyphenols than any other nuts that we usually eat.

Walnut vs Cashews vs Almonds: The Winner

While we are comparing them in terms of nutrition, they all can hold their place on their own. To judge the best nut for weight loss, we compared walnuts and almonds. 

Almonds emerged as the winner because of its high fiber content, and protein that increased satiety thereby reducing food intake.

For brain health, walnut was our best pick because of its high ALA and antioxidant content, while for heart health all the three seem to be as good. 

Almonds won the crown when it came to helping manage blood sugar levels, although cashew was a close second.

The Final Note

three bowls of almonds cashews and walnuts

You can include all three nuts – cashews, almonds, and walnuts, in your diet to enjoy the maximum health benefits offered by these nuts. They all have healthy fats, high antioxidants, high-quality protein, and lots of vitamins and minerals.

If you want to start your day with soaked almonds in the morning, that’s great. Sprinkle some crushed walnuts over your salad or a dessert. It sure adds a great crunch.

With more or less similar benefits, it really does come down to what you like and what suits you the best.