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Almond vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on November 29, 2020
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Almond
vs
Cashew

Summary

Almonds and cashews are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds are rich in vitamin B2, E, calcium, and manganese. Cashews are rich in vitamin K, B1, B6, B5, iron, copper, zinc, phosphorus. Overall they are among the healthiest nuts to consume.

Introduction

Almonds and cashews are classified as nuts that are highly rich in minerals and different vitamins. They are very versatile in the ways that they can be consumed and used in the culinary world.

Almonds originated in western Asia and minor Asian regions. The almond tree was domesticated since the early bronze age (3000 BC) in that region. They can be used to make flour, milk, spread, and even consumed raw or roasted.

Cashews are native to the tropics region, Central America, and the Caribbean islands. They are widely used in Asian cuisines, mainly in India and China, and are consumed roasted.

Both Almond and Cashew milk are now widely used as an alternative to dairy milk, especially within the vegan community and lactose intolerant individuals.

In this article, we will be comparing the nutritional content of each, the health impact, accessibility and storage, and their downsides.

Nutritional content comparison

Almonds and cashews are similar in their content of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Both are considered to have a high content of proteins and fats. However, relatively, almonds have higher macronutrients per 100 grams. That difference is negligible on the scale of comparison.

Almonds are relatively richer in their dietary fiber content at 12.5g compared to cashews at 3.3g.

The most remarkable aspect of macronutrient composition in both nuts is their amount of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are considered to be among the healthy fats which are essential to the normal functioning of the body.

Almonds and cashews have 31.5g and 23.8g of monounsaturated fats, respectively, and the recommended daily intake is at <33g.

In addition to that, almonds and cashews have 12.3g and 7.8g of polyunsaturated fat content, respectively, and the daily requirement is at <22g.

From this data, we can conclude that almonds and cashews are good sources of healthy fats, rich in protein, dietary fibers, and carbohydrates. Almonds are slightly richer in protein, fats, and dietary fibers, while cashews are richer in carbohydrates.

Vitamins comparison

Almonds and cashews are rich in their vitamin compositions. However, they don't have similar content when it comes to vitamins.

Almonds are considered one of the nuts that have the highest content of vitamin B2 (riboflavin). The daily requirement of vitamin B2 is 1.3mg a day for males and 1.1mg a day for females. Almonds contain 1.14mg of vitamin B2 per 100g.

Almond is also rich in vitamin E, having 25.6mg, with the daily requirement being 15mg a day.

On the other hand, cashews are considered to be rich in vitamin K at 34.1μg and vitamin B complex, specifically, B1, B6, and B5.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Almond
5
:
5
Cashew
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2747.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +1862.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +240.7%
Contains more Folate +76%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +106.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +83.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +204.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 513% 0% 0% 52% 263% 68% 29% 32% 33% 0% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 19% 0% 2% 106% 14% 20% 52% 97% 19% 0% 86%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2747.8%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +1862.1%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +240.7%
Contains more Folate +76%
Contains more Vitamin C +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +106.3%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +83.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +204.4%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%

Minerals comparison

Almonds and cashews are considered to be food sources that contain a high amount of minerals.

They have similar content of potassium and magnesium with slight differences.

Almonds are rich in calcium and manganese, while cashews are richer in iron, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. Cashews are considered to be a good source of iron.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Almond
3
:
5
Cashew
Contains more Calcium +627%
Contains more Potassium +11.1%
Contains less Sodium -91.7%
Contains more Iron +80.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.3%
Contains more Zinc +85.3%
Contains more Copper +112.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 292
Equal in Potassium - 660
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 81% 140% 193% 207% 65% 1% 86% 344%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 251% 209% 255% 59% 2% 158% 732%
Contains more Calcium +627%
Contains more Potassium +11.1%
Contains less Sodium -91.7%
Contains more Iron +80.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +23.3%
Contains more Zinc +85.3%
Contains more Copper +112.9%
Equal in Magnesium - 292
Equal in Potassium - 660

Health impact

People always believed that almonds and cashews, or nuts in general, contribute to weight gain. However, with research around this subject, Science has concluded that this is a false statement. Given that they are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, they are high in calories. In addition to healthy fats, they are rich in vitamins and minerals, which have a bioactive role in healthy digestion and metabolism. (1)

Almonds and cashews have a positive impact on lowering blood cholesterol levels, which lowers the risks of coronary heart diseases (CHD) by 20%. If left untreated and unmonitored, this will cause a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. Another impact is on the vessels of the body. Consumption of almonds and cashews at least five times a week decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). These diseases are related to the heart and blood vessels that increase the risk of blood clots and plaque formation around arteries. (2)

Almonds being rich in calcium, help maintain healthy bones. They are considered a good source of calcium in vegan diets, as one serving of almonds is equivalent to ¼ cup of dairy milk. (3)

The vitamin E content of almonds acts as an antioxidant, protecting the brain tissues from being covered with amyloid plaques, which is the reason for developing Alzheimer's disease. Vitamin E contributes to lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Also, almonds have promising results in showing restorative measures after diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease. (4)

Cashews, on the other hand, contain zeaxanthin. Zeaxanthins are yellow-pigmented antioxidants that have a role in protecting the eyes. The zeaxanthins present in cashews, after ingestion, get absorbed by the retina and protects the retina from ultra-violet light. Zeaxanthins contribute to the prevention of the disease called, Age-related Macular Degeneration AMD. AMD causes blurring of vision, usually while driving or reading, and is common after the age of 60. (5)

Daily consumption of cashew in diabetic patients resulted in lowering their total levels of insulin, thus helping to control Diabetes Mellitus. (6)

Accessibility and Storage

The best way to store nuts is to put them in a dark environment. This is because of the photooxidative effect. The healthy fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, can break down and lose their properties if exposed to light for long durations. (7)

Almonds, when roasted or processed, lose some of their nutritional value. Therefore, the most effective and optimal way to consume these nuts is in their raw state. However, when it comes to cashews, they should be consumed roasted or steamed because they contain urushiol, which is a toxic compound found in poison ivy. So the processing of cashews makes them free of urushiol. In addition to that, almonds and cashews are being used as alternatives to unhealthy snacks. When it comes to the vegan community and individuals who are lactose intolerant, almond and cashew milk are an excellent alternative to dairy milk, most specifically almond milk due to their rich calcium content.

Downsides

In some cultures, almonds and cashews are consumed with kernels and other nuts, often roasted and salted. One must be careful when consuming them in their salted processing, as the sodium content of both nuts will be elevated.

Almonds and cashews might cause allergic reactions. These reactions can range from low severity, a simple itching of the lips, for example. Or can have high severity that will lead to shortness of breath (anaphylaxis) and require medical intervention.

In some people, consuming high amounts of sweet almonds while taking diabetes medications might cause severe hypoglycemia, which means a severe decrease in blood sugar levels.

Almonds and cashews have moderate amounts of oxalate. When high amounts of these nuts are consumed over the long term, the risks of kidney stone formation increases. These stones are calcium oxalate stones, which lead to Oxalate Nephropathy (commonly known as kidney stones). (8)

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748761/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762129/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20947104/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2937319/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6770730/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408729/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400731/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359106/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: November 29, 2020

Infographic

Almond vs Cashew infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Almond Cashew
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Almond Cashew Opinion
Net carbs 9.05g 26.89g Cashew
Protein 21.15g 18.22g Almond
Fats 49.93g 43.85g Almond
Carbs 21.55g 30.19g Cashew
Calories 579kcal 553kcal Almond
Starch 0.72g 23.49g Cashew
Fructose 0.11g 0.05g Almond
Sugar 4.35g 5.91g Almond
Fiber 12.5g 3.3g Almond
Calcium 269mg 37mg Almond
Iron 3.71mg 6.68mg Cashew
Magnesium 270mg 292mg Cashew
Phosphorus 481mg 593mg Cashew
Potassium 733mg 660mg Almond
Sodium 1mg 12mg Almond
Zinc 3.12mg 5.78mg Cashew
Copper 1.031mg 2.195mg Cashew
Vitamin A 2IU 0IU Almond
Vitamin E 25.63mg 0.9mg Almond
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 0mg 0.5mg Cashew
Vitamin B1 0.205mg 0.423mg Cashew
Vitamin B2 1.138mg 0.058mg Almond
Vitamin B3 3.618mg 1.062mg Almond
Vitamin B5 0.471mg 0.864mg Cashew
Vitamin B6 0.137mg 0.417mg Cashew
Folate 44µg 25µg Almond
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 0µg 34.1µg Cashew
Tryptophan 0.211mg 0.287mg Cashew
Threonine 0.601mg 0.688mg Cashew
Isoleucine 0.751mg 0.789mg Cashew
Leucine 1.473mg 1.472mg Almond
Lysine 0.568mg 0.928mg Cashew
Methionine 0.157mg 0.362mg Cashew
Phenylalanine 1.132mg 0.951mg Almond
Valine 0.855mg 1.094mg Cashew
Histidine 0.539mg 0.456mg Almond
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0.015g g Cashew
Saturated Fat 3.802g 7.783g Almond
Monounsaturated Fat 31.551g 23.797g Almond
Polyunsaturated fat 12.329g 7.845g Almond

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Almond Cashew
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
82
Almond
34
Cashew
Mineral Summary Score
139
Almond
209
Cashew

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
127%
Almond
109%
Cashew
Carbohydrates
22%
Almond
30%
Cashew
Fats
230%
Almond
202%
Cashew

Comparison summary

Which food is richer in minerals?
Cashew
Cashew is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Almond
Almond is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.56g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Almond
Almond contains less Sodium (difference - 11mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Almond
Almond is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 3.981g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Almond
Almond is lower in glycemic index (difference - 25)
Which food is cheaper?
Almond
Almond is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Almond - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170567/nutrients
  2. Cashew - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.