Pecan vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
In comparison, pecan is lower in sugar, has less saturated fats and GI, contains more Vitamin B1 and magnesium. On the other hand, cashew contains more fiber and minerals and is cheaper than pecan.
Table of contents
Agree, it's just amazing you can eat your favorite snacks, which are also very healthy for you. Yes, I'm talking about nuts. According to the research, eating nuts is good for your heart, brain, and overall health.
Here comes the question: which nut suits your needs, diet, and taste.
Today, we will discuss two delicious nuts: pecan and cashew, focusing on their nutritional value and health impact. Both nuts are irreplaceably used in culinary, particularly in baking and dishes.
What's The Actual Difference?
The tropics, Central America, and the Caribbean islands are home to cashews. They are commonly used in Asian cuisines, particularly in India and China, and are eaten roasted. The most popular cashew varieties are W - 180, also known as the "King of Cashews" - they are more extensive and expensive. W - 210 nuts are commonly referred to as "jumbo" nuts.
The pecan tree is indigenous to South America and Mexico. Pecans have oval or elongated dark brown shells. There are over 500 different varieties of pecans, each with slightly different characteristics such as flavor, texture, size, color, shape, etc. Cape Fear, Desirable, Moreland, Stuart, and Natives are the most common types.
Taste and Culinary
The flavor of pecans is both dry and sweet. They are popular as raw ingredients in pastries, candies, salads, cookies, pasta, and other dishes. Furthermore, the nutshells are used to smoke meats, ground and used in beauty products, and even make delectable ice cream.
Cashew milk is now widely used as an alternative to dairy milk, particularly among vegans and lactose-intolerant people. The flavor of cashews is rich and nutty. They are widely used to prepare salads, fresh yogurt, cookies, bread, and other foods worldwide.
Nutritional infographics at the bottom of this page visually show the differences between pecan and cashew.
The food varieties used in this article are pecan nuts and raw cashew.
The number of calories in pecan is higher than in cashew. It has 691 kcal calories per 100g, while cashew has 553 kcal per 100g.
Cashew and pecans have no cholesterol.
Cashew has two times more carbs than pecan. It contains 30.19g carbs in 100g, while pecan has 13.86g. Of that 30.19g, 26.89g are net carbs.
The overall fat content is higher in pecan than in cashew. Pecan has more trans, polyunsaturated, saturated, and monounsaturated fats accordingly.
Pecan contains a significantly higher amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, and Vitamin B2 than peanuts.
On the other hand, cashew has eight times higher Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, and folate.
Both nuts have no Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D.
Compared to pecan, cashew has a relatively higher amount of minerals.
It provides more iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and copper than pecan.
On the other hand, pecan contains more calcium and lower sodium.
Both cashew and pecan are considered low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of pecan is lower than that of cashew.
The GI of pecan is equal to 10, while the estimated glycemic index of cashew is 25.
Peanuts have a neutral acidity that varies depending on the type. The pH of the pecan is 6.87, which is close to neutral. Cashew has a pH equal to 22.
Despite the famous belief that nuts, in general, contribute to weight gain, pecan and cashew are high in calories, so it is better to avoid them in the case of low-calorie diets. Moreover, cashew is rich in fats, making it unsuitable for a low-fat diet.
In the case of pecans, they are the better choice if you are on a low carbs diet, such as the Keto diet. Besides, it has a low glycemic index, which is good in the case of Low GI or Medium GI diets.
This section of the article will discover the health impact of pecan and cashew.
According to studies, nuts are high in antioxidants and anti-cancer properties.
The study shows that pecan contains powerful anti-cancer properties such as 4-hydroxybenzoic, chlorogenic, vanillic, caffeic, and ellagic acid, which are effective against tumor cell growth and may be used as an alternative to cancer treatment .
Another study found that colon cancer survivors who regularly eat nuts have a significantly lower risk for cancer recurrence. People who ate two or more servings of tree nuts per week, such as pecans, cashews, and hazelnuts, were 46 percent less likely to have cancer return and had a 57 percent lower mortality rate .
Cashews, according to research, have a beneficial effect on lowering blood cholesterol levels, which reduces the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) by 20%. If left untreated and unmonitored, this will result in a myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack. Another effect is on the body's vessels. Cashews should be consumed at least five times per week to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). These conditions affect the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of blood clots and plaque formation in the arteries .
According to one study, monounsaturated fatty acids found in pecans help lower blood total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), and triglyceride levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially coronary heart disease .
According to research, nuts like pecans and cashews can help lower blood sugar levels.
Cashew's daily consumption resulted in lower total insulin levels in diabetic patients, assisting in the management of Diabetes Mellitus .
Pecans have a low glycemic index, so they do not cause blood sugar spikes, even in people with diabetes. When consumed as part of a meal, pecans can even counteract the effects of foods with a higher glycemic index .
Improve Brain Function
Firstly, pecans are high in the Vitamin B family, directly linked to proper neurological development and function.
According to the study, the monounsaturated fatty acids found in pecan may aid in the prevention of mental decline and inflammation. Furthermore, pecans are high in potassium, which increases blood flow to the brain and promotes nervous system health.
Moreover, Vitamin E helps to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Pecan’s vitamin E content acts as an antioxidant, protecting brain tissues from being covered with pecan plaques, which is the cause of Alzheimer's disease  .
Other Health Benefits
Pecans are known to be acne-fighting nutrients. These nuts are high in selenium, which, when combined with Vitamin E, acts as an antioxidant, leaving skin hydrated and reducing inflammation. Zinc promotes immune function and cell growth, renewing and replenishing infected or damaged acne zones .
Downsides and Risks
Although pecans and cashews may have health benefits, they also have some drawbacks to consider.
Patients who are allergic to tree nuts are often allergic to pecans. Symptoms include itching, swelling, and burning in the mouth and throat.
You may have pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS), also known as oral allergy syndrome. Symptoms include itchy mouth or ears, a scratchy throat, hives on the mouth, or swelling of the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat after eating cashews .
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||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|