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Walnut vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan by Razmik Sargsyan | Last updated on September 09, 2021
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Walnut
vs
Cashew

Summary

Walnuts are richer in calories, vitamin C, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. Cashew may not contain as many calories as walnut, but it is rich in the contents of minerals like potassium, magnesium, and iron.

Walnut has a stronger positive impact on the cardiovascular system.

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Introduction

Even though walnut and cashew share the same clade, e.g., Angiosperms, they may not seem so similar. Below, we will discuss the differences and similarities of these nuts, concentrating on nutrition and its impact on health.

Both nuts have been widely used for ages in traditional medicine. Unlike cashew, walnut is distributed almost all around the world; hence, it is more prevalent in traditional medical practices.

Classification

Walnut and cashew share the same clade: Angiosperms, but their families are different. Walnut belongs to the family Juglandaceae, genus Juglans, while cashew belongs to the Anacardiaceae family, genus Ancaridium.

Appearance

When it comes to appearance, it is quite easy to distinguish one from another. Walnut is found within shells, whereas cashews usually grow on so-called cashew fruits or cashew apples.

Outside of the shell, walnuts look like the human brain, hence the opinion that walnuts positively impact the brain, specifically memory.

Unlike walnuts, cashew nuts look more like yellowish beans. Before the cashews are ripe, they are discovered on cashew fruits, which may look like pears.

Taste and Use

Walnuts and cashews may be consumed raw or mixed with salads and soups.

Cashews have a creamy mild taste, whereas walnuts have a bitter flavor if consumed with skin. However, the walnut itself tastes earthy and tart.

Growing conditions

Cashews and walnuts grow in entirely different conditions.

Cashews originated from Northern Brazil, whereas the origin of walnuts is considered Southern Europe, Near China, the Himalayas. Nowadays, walnuts are disturbed worldwide, making them one of the most accessible nuts in the world. The leading exporter of walnuts is China.

Nutrition

In this article, we are going to discuss the nutritional aspects of Persian walnut and cashew.

It is quite apparent that both nuts contain a small percentage of water; 4.07% for walnuts and 5.2% for cashews. Unlike cashew, walnut is covered with skin, which contains relatively high amounts of iodine.

Calories

Walnut and cashew contain almost the same number of calories per 100g; 654kcal for walnut and 553 for cashew.

Proteins and Fats

Both cashew and walnut are remarkably rich in proteins, and both of them contain about the same amount, with cashews being a little richer. Per 100g, walnuts and cashews contain 15.2g and 18.2g of protein, respectively.

In the case of total fats, walnut is slightly richer, with 65.2g per 100g, compared to cashew, which contains 43.8g of total fat.

When discussing polyunsaturated fats, the ultimate winner is the walnut, with 47,2mg per 100g, about 10 times more than cashew.

Carbohydrates

Cashew contains double the amount of carbohydrates that walnut does, with 30.2g per 100g. But the walnut contains slightly more total dietary fiber, 6.7g per 100g, whereas cashew contains only 3.3g.

Vitamins

Both cashew and walnut are not rich in B group vitamins, both lacking B12 vitamin.

Walnuts contain double the amount of vitamin C compared to cashew, about 1.3mg per 100g.

In the case of vitamin K, cashew contains almost 15 times more than walnut, about 34.1µg per 100g.

The amount of vitamins in cashew and walnut per 100 g is below, along with their suggested daily intake values.

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
Walnut
6
:
4
Cashew
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin C +160%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +158.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +28.8%
Contains more Folate +292%
Contains more Vitamin E +28.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +24%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +51.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +1163%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.062
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 2% 14% 0% 5% 86% 35% 22% 35% 124% 74% 0% 7%
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 C +160%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +158.6%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +28.8%
Contains more Folate +292%
Contains more Vitamin E +28.6%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +24%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +51.6%
Contains more Vitamin K +1163%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 1.062

Minerals

Cashew and walnut are rich in minerals; however, a deeper look reveals that walnut contains more calcium, 98mg per 100g, whereas cashew is richer in potassium (660mg), magnesium (292mg), copper (2.195mg), zinc (5.79mg) and phosphorus (593mg).

They may differ by the amounts of minerals, but both can be considered good sources for the daily required minimum consumption of minerals.

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
Walnut
2
:
6
Cashew
Contains more Calcium +164.9%
Contains less Sodium -83.3%
Contains more Iron +129.6%
Contains more Magnesium +84.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +71.4%
Contains more Potassium +49.7%
Contains more Zinc +87.1%
Contains more Copper +38.4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 30% 110% 113% 149% 39% 1% 85% 529%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 12% 251% 209% 255% 59% 2% 158% 732%
Contains more Calcium +164.9%
Contains less Sodium -83.3%
Contains more Iron +129.6%
Contains more Magnesium +84.8%
Contains more Phosphorus +71.4%
Contains more Potassium +49.7%
Contains more Zinc +87.1%
Contains more Copper +38.4%

Glycemic Index

In general, nuts usually have low glycemic index values. The glycemic index for cashew has been calculated to be 25, while walnuts have a very low glycemic index of 7.

Weight Loss & Diets

Despite cashews and walnuts being high-calorie foods, a study performed in 2005 showed that daily walnut or cashew consumption does not significantly affect weight gain (1, 2). Scientists connect this interesting fact with the low metabolic properties of these nuts.

Cashew and walnut can be used during low-carb diets but only in moderation. Moreover, small serving sizes of both can be used in keto diets due to the healthy fat and low content of carbohydrates.

Health Impact

Cashew and walnut are rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, and calories, which don't significantly affect weight gain. A study performed in 2018 showed that a daily intake of 43g of walnuts for eight weeks positively impacts gut microbiota, enhancing probiotics.

Cardiovascular Health

A daily intake of walnuts positively affects many cardiovascular disease factors. Long-term consumption of walnuts (43 – 85g per day) has been demonstrated to decrease the total and LDL-cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) concentration, decrease blood pressure, boost endothelial function, lower both oxidative stress and inflammatory functions (3).

Cashew nuts improve systolic and diastolic blood pressure without critical effects on other cardiometabolic factors (4).

Diabetes

A study performed in 2018 evaluated the impact of walnut intake both in a healthy group and a group diagnosed with diabetes. Results show no evidence of impact on diabetes blood makers (5).

Another group of scientists studied the impact of cashew nuts on patients with type 2 diabetes, and demonstrated that substituting 10% of daily total calorie intake with cashews, decreases the serum insulin level, as well as LDL-C/HDL-C ratio with no negative impact on patients (6).

Cancer

Walnuts have been studied not to have significant effects on cancer development risk. Moreover, the meta-analysis shows that walnuts can decrease the risk of cancer (7).

However, no statistically substantial studies prove the positive impact of cashew nuts on cancer development. However, cashew nuts contain antioxidants, which can have a positive impact on reducing cancer risk (8).

Downsides and Risks

When talking about the positive impacts of cashew and walnut, it is also important to mention that some people develop food allergies to both of these nuts. There are no significant studies regarding cashew allergy rates, but even small amounts consumed may cause severe allergic reactions (9).

Walnut allergies are studied more extensively. The studies estimate that about 3 to 34% of the population in the USA and Spain have an allergy to walnuts, making it one of the most prevalent allergens (10). It is crucial to learn about identifying the first allergy symptoms in both cases, not to delay the necessary help.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16277792/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5748761/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24500935/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6573847/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29927053/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408729/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4560032/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932493/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24734868/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5875412/
Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: September 09, 2021

Infographic

Walnut 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.
Walnut 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 Walnut Cashew Opinion
Net carbs 7.01g 26.89g Cashew
Protein 15.23g 18.22g Cashew
Fats 65.21g 43.85g Walnut
Carbs 13.71g 30.19g Cashew
Calories 654kcal 553kcal Walnut
Starch 0.06g 23.49g Cashew
Fructose 0.09g 0.05g Walnut
Sugar 2.61g 5.91g Walnut
Fiber 6.7g 3.3g Walnut
Calcium 98mg 37mg Walnut
Iron 2.91mg 6.68mg Cashew
Magnesium 158mg 292mg Cashew
Phosphorus 346mg 593mg Cashew
Potassium 441mg 660mg Cashew
Sodium 2mg 12mg Walnut
Zinc 3.09mg 5.78mg Cashew
Copper 1.586mg 2.195mg Cashew
Vitamin A 20IU 0IU Walnut
Vitamin E 0.7mg 0.9mg Cashew
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 1.3mg 0.5mg Walnut
Vitamin B1 0.341mg 0.423mg Cashew
Vitamin B2 0.15mg 0.058mg Walnut
Vitamin B3 1.125mg 1.062mg Walnut
Vitamin B5 0.57mg 0.864mg Cashew
Vitamin B6 0.537mg 0.417mg Walnut
Folate 98µg 25µg Walnut
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 2.7µg 34.1µg Cashew
Tryptophan 0.17mg 0.287mg Cashew
Threonine 0.596mg 0.688mg Cashew
Isoleucine 0.625mg 0.789mg Cashew
Leucine 1.17mg 1.472mg Cashew
Lysine 0.424mg 0.928mg Cashew
Methionine 0.236mg 0.362mg Cashew
Phenylalanine 0.711mg 0.951mg Cashew
Valine 0.753mg 1.094mg Cashew
Histidine 0.391mg 0.456mg Cashew
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat g g
Saturated Fat 6.126g 7.783g Walnut
Monounsaturated Fat 8.933g 23.797g Cashew
Polyunsaturated fat 47.174g 7.845g Walnut

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Walnut 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
33
Walnut
34
Cashew
Mineral Summary Score
131
Walnut
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
91%
Walnut
109%
Cashew
Carbohydrates
14%
Walnut
30%
Cashew
Fats
301%
Walnut
202%
Cashew

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.3g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Walnut
Walnut contains less Sodium (difference - 10mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.657g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Walnut
Walnut is lower in glycemic index (difference - 25)
Which food is cheaper?
Cashew
Cashew is cheaper (difference - $2.5)
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. Walnut - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170187/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.