Although most nuts share some general nutritional characteristics -- they tend to be calorie-dense and high in fat -- different types of nuts have differences, some of which can be significant. While peanuts and pistachios have nutritional profiles that are similar in some ways, the differences between the two nuts may make one more appropriate for your diet than the other.
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Peanuts and pistachios provide nearly the same amount of calories, with 1 ounce of peanuts containing 161 calories and 1 ounce of pistachios providing 159. These amounts comprise about 8 percent of the daily suggested intake of 2,000 calories. This amount of calories can be burned off by exercise relatively easily; 43 minutes of ballroom dancing or 19 minutes of swimming laps would burn off the calories in 1 ounce of pistachios or peanuts.
Peanuts and pistachios are both high in fat, but they have slightly different amounts. A 1-ounce serving of pistachios contains about 13 grams of fat, while a 1-ounce serving of peanuts has 14 grams of fat. Both contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat per serving. Although eating too much saturated fat may increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases, unsaturated fat is required for optimal health, even if you are dieting. A study in the July 2008 issue of the "The New England Journal of Medicine" found that dieters who restricted fat intake were not as successful as those who restricted carbohydrate intake instead.
Protein is a vital nutrient that your body uses to produce and repair tissues, including muscle, so it's important to consume adequate levels for optimal health. Peanuts provide more protein than pistachios, as 1 ounce of peanuts contains 7.3 grams of protein, while 1 ounce of pistachios has 5.8 grams. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, consuming 20 to 25 percent of your calories from protein can be beneficial for weight management and cardiovascular health.
While peanuts and pistachios are both low in carbohydrates, peanuts are significantly lower. A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 4.6 grams of carbohydrates, compared to 7.8 grams in a 1-ounce serving of pistachios. Pistachios are also higher in dietary fiber, with 2.9 grams per serving, compared to 2.4 grams in peanuts. Dietary fiber can help you manage your cholesterol levels and promote stable blood-sugar levels.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Neither peanuts nor pistachios are particularly rich in vitamins, but both provide some vitamin content. Pistachios are particularly high in vitamin B-6, with 0.5 milligrams in a 1-ounce serving, which is nearly 30 percent of the recommended daily intake of 1.5 to 1.7 milligrams for adults. Vitamin B-6 is involved in brain development and immune function, and it also helps protect your body from heart disease, cancer and age-related brain decline. Peanuts are a good source of magnesium, phosphorous and copper, but its greatest contribution to your diet is manganese. A 1-ounce serving of peanuts contains 0.5 milligrams of manganese, which is nearly 25 percent of the 2.3 milligrams recommended for men and the 2.0 milligrams recommended for women. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that manganese forms connective tissue and aids in metabolism. It also helps treat osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, epilepsy and premenstrual syndrome.