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Cashew vs Pistachio - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on February 22, 2022
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Cashew
vs
Pistachio

Summary

Cashews are richer in copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and vitamins B and K. On the other hand, pistachio is a cheaper nut that is richer in fiber, calcium, potassium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, A, and E. It is important to consume them unsalted.

Introduction

Cashews are nuts that have originated in the tropical regions of Central America and Caribbean islands. Nowadays they are used all over the world. The countries with the highest cultivators of cashew are Ivory Coast and India.

On the other hand, we have pistachio, which belongs to the family of cashew nuts, botanically, is again a seed nut. Pistachio is native to Central Asian countries. It has been part of the culinary culture of Asian countries for a very long time. Nowadays, pistachio is spread all over the world—most pistachio cultivation in the USA and Iran.

In this article, we will discuss the difference between cashew and pistachio, taking into consideration their general differences, nutritional content, and health impacts.

What are their general differences?

Their general differences are according to their price, availability, culinary world usage.

Price

Pistachio is cheaper than cashew nuts, as standard prices worldwide are nearly 4x cheaper than cashew. However, this price difference might change in some countries due to availability and local cultivation.

Availability

Both these nuts are nearly always available globally. However, we can consider that pistachios are slightly more available worldwide since they are cheaper. However, both nuts can be found everywhere throughout all seasons.

Culinary world usage

Cashews are highly used in the culinary world and they have a high versatility specifically since vegan cheese and milk can be made out of cashews. They can be used in cooking, they can be used as a side to alcoholic drinks. Even in some middle eastern sweets cashews can be used as filling.

Compared to cashews, pistachios have wide use in the Mediterranean region and specifically in Arab countries as many baklavas and sweets are made with pistachios. They are also used as toppings for cooking. Pistachio milk is also available as an alternative to non-dairy milk. Similar to cashews, salted pistachios can also be used as a side with alcoholic drinks.

Nutritional content comparison

In this section, we will take into comparison 100g of cashew and pistachio to compare.

Calories

Cashews and pistachios have nearly the same amount of calories which is equal to 560 calories per 100g. The amount of calories is enough to take the amount of these nuts into consideration while eating.

Glycemic index

Cashew and pistachio are both categorized as low glycemic index foods. Their glycemic index is nearly the same however, pistachio has a slightly higher GI which is 28, compared to cashew which is 25.

Carbs

Cashew contains more carbs than pistachio. Their carb content is 30g and 27g respectively.

Fiber

Pistachio contains 3.2 times more fibers than cashew. 100g of pistachio can satisfy 30-50% of the RDV of fibers, the range is according to the difference of fiber intake in females and males.

Protein

Cashew and pistachio are rich in proteins. Even pistachio milk is considered one of the highest protein-containing non-dairy milk, but far less than dairy milk itself in the amounts of protein per glass. Pistachio contains higher amounts of proteins compared to cashew. Still, their numbers are pretty similar, 18g for cashew and 20g for pistachio.

Fats

Fats are the highest constituent in the macros of both these nuts. Pistachio has slightly higher amounts of fats than cashew but their amounts are quite similar.

Vitamins

Pistachios have a richer vitamin profile than cashews.

Cashew is richer in vitamin B5 and vitamin K whereas pistachio is richer in B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, A, and E.

Below we can see the diagram that visualizes the vitamin distributions.

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
Cashew
2
:
Contains more Vitamin B5 +66.2%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +217.8%
Contains more Vitamin C +1020%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +105.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +175.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +22.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +307.7%
Contains more Folate +104%
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%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 31% 58% 0% 19% 218% 37% 25% 32% 393% 39% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +66.2%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +217.8%
Contains more Vitamin C +1020%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +105.7%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +175.9%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +22.4%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +307.7%
Contains more Folate +104%

Minerals

These foods are packed with minerals and are a great source of various minerals.

Cashew is richer in copper, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. On the other hand, pistachio is richer in potassium and calcium.

However, these amounts are all high in both nuts. Most of them even satisfy the RDV in both nuts.

In the below chart, we see the difference between their distributions.

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
Contains more Iron +70.4%
Contains more Magnesium +141.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +21%
Contains more Zinc +162.7%
Contains more Copper +68.8%
Contains more Calcium +183.8%
Contains more Potassium +55.3%
Contains less Sodium -91.7%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 251% 209% 255% 59% 2% 158% 732%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 32% 147% 87% 210% 91% 1% 60% 434%
Contains more Iron +70.4%
Contains more Magnesium +141.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +21%
Contains more Zinc +162.7%
Contains more Copper +68.8%
Contains more Calcium +183.8%
Contains more Potassium +55.3%
Contains less Sodium -91.7%

Health impacts

Cardiovascular health

Consumption of cashew nuts in proper serving sizes and unsalted forms positively affects overall cardiovascular health. It reduces blood pressure and has protective properties against hypertension. In addition to that, cashew nuts increase HDL levels in diabetic patients which have cardioprotective characteristics. (1) (2)

Pistachio consumption is linked with decreased risks of cardiovascular diseases. (3)

Diabetes

Cashew nuts and extracts have hypoglycemic properties in type 2 diabetic patients and it regulates blood insulin levels and blood glucose levels. Overall, decreasing risks of complications in type 2 diabetes. (4) (5)

Pistachio consumption has been linked with a significant decrease and regulation of fasting blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients and people who suffer from metabolic syndrome. (6)

In addition, pistachio consumption is linked with decreased inflammation markers related to high glucose levels in diabetic patients. (7)

Cancer

Cashew flavonoids have apoptotic effects on cancer cell lines, specifically T cell leukemia. These are explicitly targeting malignant immortal T cells that have become carcinogenic. (8)

On the other hand, pistachio extracts have chemoprotective properties targeted towards colon cancer cell lines. (9)

Inflammation

Cashew consumption is linked with decreased inflammatory processes of inflammations in the digestive system, specifically colitis. This is due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics of cashews. (10)
In addition, cashews have direct inhibitory functions of pro-inflammatory enzymes and cytokines. (11)

Polyphenols present in pistachios have anti-inflammatory properties that have a systemic effect. Overall, reducing inflammation in the whole body has many benefits. (12)

Weight loss impacts

Overall, consumption of both these nuts and most specifically in unsalted forms has beneficial effects on overall health; swapping them for snacks that contain high sugars and high salts amounts is key to improving health and prevention of diseases like hypertension and diabetes.

Reference

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32444052/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29378038/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18779280/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16093233/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30881468/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32947760/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25396407/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21106357/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748818/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146548/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7465066/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579708/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: February 22, 2022

Infographic

Cashew vs Pistachio 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.
Cashew Pistachio
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cashew Pistachio Opinion
Net carbs 26.89g 16.57g Cashew
Protein 18.22g 20.16g Pistachio
Fats 43.85g 45.32g Pistachio
Carbs 30.19g 27.17g Cashew
Calories 553kcal 560kcal Pistachio
Starch 23.49g 1.67g Cashew
Fructose 0.05g 0.24g Pistachio
Sugar 5.91g 7.66g Cashew
Fiber 3.3g 10.6g Pistachio
Calcium 37mg 105mg Pistachio
Iron 6.68mg 3.92mg Cashew
Magnesium 292mg 121mg Cashew
Phosphorus 593mg 490mg Cashew
Potassium 660mg 1025mg Pistachio
Sodium 12mg 1mg Pistachio
Zinc 5.78mg 2.2mg Cashew
Copper 2.195mg 1.3mg Cashew
Vitamin A 0IU 516IU Pistachio
Vitamin E 0.9mg 2.86mg Pistachio
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 0.5mg 5.6mg Pistachio
Vitamin B1 0.423mg 0.87mg Pistachio
Vitamin B2 0.058mg 0.16mg Pistachio
Vitamin B3 1.062mg 1.3mg Pistachio
Vitamin B5 0.864mg 0.52mg Cashew
Vitamin B6 0.417mg 1.7mg Pistachio
Folate 25µg 51µg Pistachio
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 34.1µg µg Cashew
Tryptophan 0.287mg 0.251mg Cashew
Threonine 0.688mg 0.684mg Cashew
Isoleucine 0.789mg 0.917mg Pistachio
Leucine 1.472mg 1.604mg Pistachio
Lysine 0.928mg 1.138mg Pistachio
Methionine 0.362mg 0.36mg Cashew
Phenylalanine 0.951mg 1.092mg Pistachio
Valine 1.094mg 1.249mg Pistachio
Histidine 0.456mg 0.512mg Pistachio
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat g 0g Cashew
Saturated Fat 7.783g 5.907g Pistachio
Monounsaturated Fat 23.797g 23.257g Cashew
Polyunsaturated fat 7.845g 14.38g Pistachio

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cashew Pistachio
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
34
Cashew
71
Pistachio
Mineral Summary Score
209
Cashew
132
Pistachio

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
109%
Cashew
121%
Pistachio
Carbohydrates
30%
Cashew
27%
Pistachio
Fats
202%
Cashew
209%
Pistachio

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Pistachio
Pistachio contains less Sodium (difference - 11mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pistachio
Pistachio is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.876g)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Pistachio
Pistachio is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cashew
Cashew is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.75g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cashew
Cashew is lower in glycemic index (difference - 3)
Which food is cheaper?
Cashew
Cashew is cheaper (difference - $0.1)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Cashew
Cashew is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

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. Cashew - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170162/nutrients
  2. Pistachio - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170184/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.