The nuts you buy may sport a health claim approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration which notes that eating 1.5 ounces of nuts daily may reduce your risk of heart disease. The statement holds true for peanuts and almonds, but beyond their cardiovascular benefits, they each provide different amounts of vitamins and minerals. Peanuts have more B vitamins, but almonds are a better choice for vitamin E and minerals.
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Level the Playing Field
When it comes to macronutrients, it doesn’t matter whether you eat almonds or peanuts because they’re almost equal. A 1-ounce serving of dry-roasted almonds has 170 calories, 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. The same portion of peanuts contains 166 calories, about 7 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. The number of nuts in a 1-ounce serving depends on the size of the nuts. It's usually described as one handful, but the USDA Nutrient Database notes that a 1-ounce serving is 22 whole almonds and 32 peanuts.
Healthy Fat for the Win
The difference in fat content is minimal. Almonds have 15 grams, and peanuts contain 14 grams of total fat in a 1-ounce serving. A large percentage of the fat -- 80 percent in peanuts and 88 percent in almonds -- consists of unsaturated fats, These healthy fats lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing levels of cholesterol in your blood and fighting inflammation. About 20 percent to 35 percent of your daily calories should come from fats, with as much as possible coming from unsaturated fat, according to the Institute of Medicine.
Almonds and peanuts contain the same vitamins but in different amounts. Almonds are the nut to choose if you need to boost your intake of antioxidant vitamin E. They have 45 percent of your recommended daily allowance, or RDA, in a 1-ounce serving, which is three times more than you’ll get from peanuts. On the other hand, peanuts are better sources of the B vitamins, especially folate and niacin. A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 10 percent of your RDA of folate and about 24 percent of the RDA of niacin. Almonds only have half the folate and one-fourth the niacin of peanuts.
Almonds Edge Ahead
Both types of nuts are good sources of magnesium. A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 12 percent of the RDA, while almonds supply 19 percent of your daily magnesium. When foods are described as a good source of a nutrient, it means they contain 10 percent to 19 percent of the RDA, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You’ll get less than 10 percent of the RDA of calcium, potassium and zinc from 1 ounce of almonds and peanuts. Almonds, however, have two times more iron and five times more calcium than peanuts.
Clear the Hurdles
You might be surprised to learn that when they're oil-roasted, peanuts and almonds only have 1 more gram of total fat than dry-roasted varieties. Peanuts don’t absorb much of the oil used during roasting, notes Linda Minges, a registered dietitian with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Nuts are naturally low in sodium, but if you buy them salted, the sodium goes up to 186 and 189 milligrams per 1-ounce serving in almond and peanuts, respectively.
- University of Michigan Health System: Healthy Nuts, Go Nuts
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Appendix B: Additional Requirements for Nutrient Content Claims
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Nuts, Almonds, Dry-Roasted, Without Salt Added
- USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Peanuts, All Types, Dry-Roasted, Without Salt
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Vitamin E
- Harvard Health Publications: Listing of Vitamins
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Peanuts
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes
- Harvard Health Publications: Fats Resource Center