Written by Ryan Raman, MS, RD on November 20, 2019 — medically reviewed through Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice)

Nuts are one of the most famous snack foods. Castle not just tasty but also an excellent for you, particularly when it concerns heart health.

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However, you may wonder i beg your pardon food team nuts belong come — fruits or vegetables?

This short article digs right into the details.

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To recognize whether nuts room vegetables or fruits, it’s important to understand the differences between these two food groups.

Fruits and also vegetables are split into botanical and culinary classifications.

Botanical group is based upon the structure and also functions the plants. While fruits flourish from the flowers of plants and also have seeds for reproduction, vegetables room all other parts of the plant, including the roots, stems, and leaves (1).

On the other hand, culinary group depends on taste. In this case, fruits tend to it is in sweet or tart and work best in desserts, snacks, smoothies, pastries, or juices. Vice versa, vegetables space mild, savory, or bitter and also work better in sides, stews, soups, salads, and also casseroles.


Botanically, fruits grow from the flower of plants and contain seeds, if vegetables room the plant’s other parts. Yet, native a cooking perspective, fruits space sweet or tart, when vegetables are mild, savory, or bitter.

Are nuts fruit or vegetables?

Botanically, nuts space classified together a fruit that has a single edible seed v a hard, inedible outer shell. They’re thought about indehiscent, which means that their shell doesn’t open as soon as ripe (2).

However, a lot of of foods items that people consider nuts space really the seeds of drupes — fruits whose flesh surrounds a solitary shell v a seed inside (3).

For example, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, pistachios, pine tree nuts, and most various other nuts space botanically the seed of drupes.

Meanwhile, true nuts include chestnuts, acorns, and also hazelnuts.

Interestingly, peanuts — one of the most popular nuts in the human being — space technically a legume and also thus botanically a vegetable. However, peanuts’ nutrient profile and also characteristics space closer to the of various other nuts.

Nutritionally, most nuts’ nutrient composition each other legumes rather than fruit because of their high protein content.

From a cook perspective, the term “nuts” is much more relaxed and in line with what most world think space nuts — large, oily kernels uncovered within a shell.


Botanically, most nuts room the seeds of a fruit, while true nuts — such together chestnuts, acorns, and hazelnuts — space fruits in and also of themselves. Peanuts are the exception, as they’re legumes — and also thus technically vegetables.

Although most nuts space botanically considered seeds, they’re still really healthy.

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Nuts are great source the plant-based protein, fat, fiber, antioxidants, and crucial vitamins and minerals, consisting of vitamin E, magnesium, copper, and also selenium (4).

In addition, they have actually been attached to many health benefits, such as decreased inflammation and improved love health, blood street control, and digestion (5, 6, 7, 8).

Current dietary guidelines in the United says treat nuts together a protein resource rather than fruits or vegetables due to their high protein contents (9).

However, as nuts are also high in calories, 0.5 ounces (14 grams) that nuts or seed is taken into consideration equivalent come 1 oz (28 grams) of other protein sources, such as meat, poultry, eggs, or seafood.

As such, you must eat nuts in little portions and in ar of various other protein-rich foods items (9).

Nuts room versatile and can be delighted in whole, chopped, or together nut butters. They’re widely easily accessible and deserve to be to buy roasted, raw, salted, unsalted, and also flavored.

That said, some packaged varieties harbor additives, including salt, sugar, and also preservatives. Thus, it’s ideal to check the ingredient list and choose life or dry-roasted choices when possible.


Nuts space a scrumptious food loaded through protein, healthy and balanced fat, fiber, and also several vitamins and also minerals. They’re finest consumed in moderation because of their high calorie count.