Walnut vs Cashew - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
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.tableOfContents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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|