Cashews vs. Peanuts – What’s the Difference?

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Nuts are considered among the healthiest snacks that offer you lots of goodness in terms of both health and taste. The most common nuts nowadays are cashews and peanuts. In a botanical sense, however, they are not nuts. Peanuts are legume crops and go by many names such as groundnut, pindar, earthnut goober, and monkey nut.

Cashews are a bit bigger than peanuts and banana-shaped, and have an inedible shell. Cashews are commonly recognized as tree nuts. They are high in carbohydrates and monounsaturated fatty acids and have numerous health benefits. So without further ado, let’s take a look at both of them, shall we?        

What are Peanuts?

The scientific name for peanuts is Arachis hypogaea, and they grow close to the ground from a ground plant found in South America. They are not nuts and are actually from the legume family (consisting of beans and seeds) and have an earthy, salty, creamy taste. Like most nuts, peanuts can be roasted, flavored, salted, and unsalted.

Peanuts come in many varieties, most popular: Virginia, Valencia, Spanish, and Runner. The most widely used variety in the United States is the Runner; Virginia peanuts are large and ordinarily sold as snacks, whereas the Spanish peanuts are comparatively smaller and are used in sweets.

Nutritional Information

According to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 1 ounce of raw peanuts consists of:

  • 161 calories
  • 3 g protein
  • 6 g carbohydrate
  • 4 g dietary fiber
  • 14 g total fat (1.8 g of which is saturated)
  • 9 g monounsaturated fat
  • 68 mcg folate
  • 200 mg potassium
  • 48 mg magnesium
  • 3 mg iron
  • 4 mg niacin
  • 93 mg zinc
  • 18 mg thiamin
  • 5 mg pantothenic acid
  • 04 mg riboflavin
  • cholesterol


Peanuts are packed with numerous macro and micronutrients that have multiple positive effects on health, some of which are described below:

  1. A considerable amount of iron is present in peanuts which helps in the formation of hemoglobin (which transports oxygen in the blood) and myoglobin (which transports oxygen in the muscle cells.)
  2. Thiamin, Riboflavin, and Niacin are important B complex vitamins that are naturally present in peanuts. All three vitamins are involved in releasing energy from food and act as coenzymes in energy production. A sustainable amount of these is beneficial for regulating essential processes in the body.
  3. Pantothenic acid is essential for making glucose and fatty acids from other metabolites in the body and is involved in manufacturing steroid hormones and brain chemicals. Peanuts provide a balanced amount of this vitamin to avoid deficiency problems.
  4. Potassium and Magnesium are essential for regulating fluid/electrolyte balance, muscle contraction, regulating blood pressure, and helping prevent bone and joint problems as well as kidney stones.
  5. Since peanuts are rich in protein and dietary fiber, they help promote a feeling of fullness. Therefore, one consumes lesser calories and stays energetic because of the full nutritional profile.
  6. They contain large amounts of antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals and protect cells from damage.
  7. Peanuts are good for skin as well as cardiovascular health.
  8. Traces of folate are also present in peanuts which contribute to good health by taking part in cell division, protein and DNA manufacture, and red blood cell production in the bone marrow.
  9. Peanuts have a low glycemic index (a measure at which your body converts food into glucose), so they are good for diabetic individuals.
  10. They have less sugar and do not promote weight gain provided they are eaten in moderation.

What are Cashews?

Cashews come from a tropical tree called the Anacardium occidentale, and most of these trees grow in Brazil, Africa, Vietnam, India, and Southeast Asia. Since they grow from trees, they are normally known as tree nuts. Cashews come in eight, well-known varieties namely Kerala, Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, West Bengal, Maharastra, Andhra, and Orissa.

Nutritional Benefits

According to USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, 1 ounce of raw cashews consists of:

  • 157 calories
  • 17 g protein
  • 56 g carbohydrate
  • 9 g dietary fiber
  • 43 g total fat
  • 10 mg calcium
  • 89 mg iron
  • 83 mg magnesium
  • 187 mg potassium
  • cholesterol


  1. Cashews also contain important vitamins such as vitamin E, vitamin B6, and vitamin B2 (Riboflavin). Vitamin E has cyto-protective (protection against gastric mucosal injury) qualities and is a powerful antioxidant that prevents the oxidation of fatty acids and protects cells from damage. Vitamin B6 is involved in protein and amino acid metabolism and helps make new proteins and red blood cells. Vitamin B2 is involved in energy production from food. It acts as a coenzyme in order to release energy.
  2. Cashews contain vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting.
  3. They are a good source of calcium as well. Calcium, as we know, is essential for bone and tooth health, muscle growth, nerve transmission, and muscle contraction.
  4. Cashews are rich in Vitamin C, an essential antioxidant that helps protect against free radical damage. It also promotes iron absorption by creating an acidic environment in the small intestine for efficient iron absorption. In addition, vitamin C is required for the formation of connective tissues and certain hormones (e.g., adrenaline.)
  5. They are rich in zinc and selenium, which are essential for the body.
  6. They have less sugar and do not promote weight gain provided they are eaten in moderation.

What’s the Difference Between Cashews and Peanuts?

To summarize everything we’ve covered so far, here are some key differences between cashews and peanuts:

  • Cashews have more carbohydrates than peanuts.
  • Peanuts have more dietary fiber than cashews.
  • Cashews have more minerals than peanuts.
  • Cashews contain vitamin K, but peanuts have shown little to no vitamin k.
  • Peanuts contain more protein than cashews.
  • Cashews have more vitamin C than peanuts.
  • Peanuts have more calcium than cashews.
  • Cashews have more iron than peanuts.
  • Peanuts have comparatively more water content.