Pistachio vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.
Table of contents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cashew contains more carbs than pistachio. Their carb content is 30g and 27g respectively.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|