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Pecan vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on March 04, 2022
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Pecan
vs
Cashew

Summary

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.

Introduction

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?

Varieties

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.

Nutrition

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.

Calories

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.

Cholesterol

Cashew and pecans have no cholesterol.

Carbs

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.

Fats

The overall fat content is higher in pecan than in cashew. Pecan has more trans, polyunsaturated, saturated, and monounsaturated fats accordingly.

Vitamins

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.

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
Pecan
6
:
4
Cashew
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +55.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +120%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +56%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +124.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +98.6%
Contains more Folate +13.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +874.3%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.062
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.864
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 4% 28% 0% 4% 166% 30% 22% 52% 49% 17% 0% 9%
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 +55.6%
Contains more Vitamin C +120%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +56%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +124.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +98.6%
Contains more Folate +13.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +874.3%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.062
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.864

Minerals

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.

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
Pecan
2
:
6
Cashew
Contains more Calcium +89.2%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Iron +164%
Contains more Magnesium +141.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +114.1%
Contains more Potassium +61%
Contains more Zinc +27.6%
Contains more Copper +82.9%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 22% 95% 87% 119% 37% 0% 124% 400%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 251% 209% 255% 59% 2% 158% 732%
Contains more Calcium +89.2%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Contains more Iron +164%
Contains more Magnesium +141.3%
Contains more Phosphorus +114.1%
Contains more Potassium +61%
Contains more Zinc +27.6%
Contains more Copper +82.9%

Glycemic Index

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.

Acidity

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.

Weight Loss

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.

Health Benefits

This section of the article will discover the health impact of pecan and cashew.

Cancer

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 [1].

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 [2].

Cardiovascular Health

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 [3].

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 [4].

Diabetes

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 [5].

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 [6].

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 [7] [8].

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 [9].

Downsides and Risks

Allergy

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 [10].

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28807853/
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMoa1307352
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5762129/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24398275/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408729/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26561616/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098039/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5751107/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18494484/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7811165/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: March 04, 2022

Infographic

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

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Pecan Cashew Opinion
Net carbs 4.26g 26.89g Cashew
Protein 9.17g 18.22g Cashew
Fats 71.97g 43.85g Pecan
Carbs 13.86g 30.19g Cashew
Calories 691kcal 553kcal Pecan
Starch 0.46g 23.49g Cashew
Fructose 0.04g 0.05g Cashew
Sugar 3.97g 5.91g Pecan
Fiber 9.6g 3.3g Pecan
Calcium 70mg 37mg Pecan
Iron 2.53mg 6.68mg Cashew
Magnesium 121mg 292mg Cashew
Phosphorus 277mg 593mg Cashew
Potassium 410mg 660mg Cashew
Sodium 0mg 12mg Pecan
Zinc 4.53mg 5.78mg Cashew
Copper 1.2mg 2.195mg Cashew
Vitamin A 56IU 0IU Pecan
Vitamin E 1.4mg 0.9mg Pecan
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 1.1mg 0.5mg Pecan
Vitamin B1 0.66mg 0.423mg Pecan
Vitamin B2 0.13mg 0.058mg Pecan
Vitamin B3 1.167mg 1.062mg Pecan
Vitamin B5 0.863mg 0.864mg Cashew
Vitamin B6 0.21mg 0.417mg Cashew
Folate 22µg 25µg Cashew
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 3.5µg 34.1µg Cashew
Tryptophan 0.093mg 0.287mg Cashew
Threonine 0.306mg 0.688mg Cashew
Isoleucine 0.336mg 0.789mg Cashew
Leucine 0.598mg 1.472mg Cashew
Lysine 0.287mg 0.928mg Cashew
Methionine 0.183mg 0.362mg Cashew
Phenylalanine 0.426mg 0.951mg Cashew
Valine 0.411mg 1.094mg Cashew
Histidine 0.262mg 0.456mg Cashew
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat g g
Saturated Fat 6.18g 7.783g Pecan
Monounsaturated Fat 40.801g 23.797g Pecan
Polyunsaturated fat 21.614g 7.845g Pecan

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Pecan 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
31
Pecan
34
Cashew
Mineral Summary Score
110
Pecan
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
55%
Pecan
109%
Cashew
Carbohydrates
14%
Pecan
30%
Cashew
Fats
332%
Pecan
202%
Cashew

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Pecan
Pecan is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.94g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Pecan
Pecan contains less Sodium (difference - 12mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Pecan
Pecan is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.603g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Pecan
Pecan is lower in glycemic index (difference - 15)
Which food is cheaper?
Cashew
Cashew is cheaper (difference - $0.5)
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)
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. Pecan - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170182/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.