Cashews and almonds are two of the most popular nuts. They both provide many nutrients causing many people to wonder if one is better. Let’s answer, which is better, cashews or almonds?
Almonds are better than cashews due to their greater percentage of vitamins, fiber and protein. Almonds contain fewer carbohydrates, sodium and sugar. Almonds have a better glycemic index than cashews which results in smaller blood sugar increases. This combined with more fiber results in better digestion than cashews.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, I’ll compare their tastes, prices, glycemic index, satiety index and health benefits.
Nutritional Analysis of Cashews and Almonds
To determine whether cashews or almonds are healthier, we’ll first look at each one nutritional composition. The below table compares the macronutrient, vitamin and mineral content of cashews and almonds:
|Nutrient||Almonds (per 100g)||Cashews (per 100g)|
|Fiber||12.5 g||3.3 g|
|Total Fat||49.9||43.8 g|
|Sugar||4.4 g||5.91 g|
|Carbohydrates||21.6 g||30.2 g|
|Sodium||5.95 mg||12 mg|
|Protein||21.2 g||18.2 g|
|Vitamin A||2 IU||0 IU|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.20 mg||0.42 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||1.14 mg||0.05 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||3.62 mg||1.06 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.47 mg||0.86 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.13 mg||0.41 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||44 mcg||25 mcg|
|Vitamin E||25.6 mg||0.9 mg|
|Calcium||269 mg||37 mg|
|Magnesium||270 mg||292 mg|
|Iron||3.7 mg||6.7 mg|
|Phosphorous||481 mg||593 mg|
|Copper||1.03 mg||2.20 mg|
|Potassium||733 mg||660 mg|
|Zinc||3.08 mg||5.78 mg|
|GI (Glycemic Index)||0||22|
After checking the nutrients above it’s difficult to determine which is healthier. Let’s take a closer look and answer the question, which is healthier, cashews or almonds?
Almonds are healthier than cashews due to its higher percentage of fiber, protein and vitamins. Almonds have fewer carbohydrates, sugar, sodium and a better glycemic index. Almonds provide more vitamin A, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, folate, calcium and potassium than cashews.
Cashews are healthy also and provide a higher percentage of thiamin, B5, B6, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper and zinc than almonds.
Overall both nuts contain a good percentage of nutrients and the differences between them may depend on your goals discussed in the next section.
Cashews vs Almonds: Which One to Choose?
Both nuts are considered healthy and its difficult to argue against either one. Some people alternate between the two or choose just one. The best option may be to eat them both in a mixed nut jar.
The mixed nut option is my favorite. I purchase a large jar of mixed nuts containing cashews, almonds, pistachios and pecans. I also purchase the less expensive peanuts and add them to the mixed nut mixture.
Adding the peanuts makes them more nutritious and more affordable. Some people have different goals and may want to choose a nut based on those goals. Let’s take a look at some of them.
The most popular goal may be weight loss. If you want to shed some extra pounds, you may ask, which is better for weight loss almonds or cashews?
Almonds are better for weight loss than cashews due to its fewer carbohydrates, sugar, more fiber and lower glycemic index. Almonds have a glycemic index of zero and cashews 22. This combined with more fiber makes almonds take longer to digest, causes less sugar spikes and makes you feel full longer.
Almonds have 164 calories per 1 ounce serving and cashews 157. The seven calorie difference between the two isn’t large enough to make a difference when looking to lose weight.
Of course, almonds or cashews should be consumed in moderation. Including almonds as part of a well-balanced nutrition plan will help gain the maximum weight loss benefits. The calories in any nut add up pretty fast by eating too many.
If your goal is a low-carb diet then carbohydrates are your number one concern. If you’re on a Keto diet, you may ask which has more carbohydrates, cashews or almonds?
Almonds are better than cashews for a keto or low-carb diet due to its less carbohydrates. Cashews contain 8.56 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving. Almonds contain 6.12 grams of carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving.
Another consideration for low-carb diets is the amount of fat. Almonds provide 14.1 grams of fat per 1 ounce serving and cashews 12.4 grams.
Cashews and almonds are naturally gluten free. In addition, both nuts can be made into flour and used as a substitute for regular flour in gluten free recipes.
My Vitamix blender I use at home can make almond, cashew or any nut flour in seconds. Check out my blender review here, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review.
If your goal is to gain lean muscle mass there’s a good chance you’re lifting weights at home or in the gym. Which is better for bodybuilding, cashews or almonds?
Cashews and almonds offer similar benefits for bodybuilding due to their similar number of protein, calories and carbohydrates per serving.
Protein per 1 ounce serving:
- Cashews: 5.16 grams
- Almonds: 6.01 grams
Calories per 1 ounce serving:
- Cashews: 157
- Almonds: 164
Carbohydrates per 1 ounce serving:
- Cashews: 8.56 grams
- Almonds: 6.12 grams
Supplements for bodybuilding are expensive, and the costs add up pretty fast. Cashews cost a little more than almonds, $0.07 more per ounce. The more protein per ounce and cheaper price may sway some people’s decision to almonds.
The Taste of Cashews and Almonds
If both nuts offer equal health benefits for you and the price is similar, you may need something extra to swing the balance. In this case, taste may be the deciding factor. Therefore, what nuts has the better taste, cashews or almonds?
Cashews taste more buttery and rich than the earthy, smokey almonds. They are both crunchy but cashews are a little softer and not as dry as almonds.
Do cashews taste good?
Cashews taste good due to their buttery, rich and slightly sweet overtones. Cashews, although crunchy, are softer than some other nuts.
Almonds have an earthy, smokey and slightly woody toasted flavor. Like cashews, they are crunchy but can feel dry in your mouth once chewed.
Both nuts make a great butter. Almond or cashew butter are easy to make at home in a Vitamix blender. The Vitamix I use at home only takes one minute to make nut butter. Check out my review here, Vitamix Venturist V1220 Review.
Substituting Almonds for Cashews
There may be times a recipe requires cashews but you only have almonds at home. In this situation, can you substitute almonds for cashews?
Almonds can substitute for cashews although the taste will differ. It’s better to use unsalted or unflavored almonds. When substituting almonds, if the recipe calls for chopped cashews then use chopped almonds. It’s better to use the same type like sliced for sliced, chopped for chopped or slivered for slivered.
The almonds may result in a crunchier texture.
Cashews vs Almonds: How Much Do They Cost?
It seems every trip to the supermarket lately results in a higher price at checkout. Not only that but it seems I have less groceries in my shopping cart.
If you’re looking to save money, the cost of food certainly matters to most people. The price may sway your decision about which nut to buy as a snack option. Therefore, which costs more, cashews or almonds?
Cashews cost more than almonds per serving. The average price for whole almonds is $0.49 per 1 ounce serving. The average price for whole cashews is $0.56 per 1 ounce serving.
I decided to conduct a search of the following two supermarkets to compare the price of both.
I checked the Shoprite supermarket for the prices of cashews and almonds:
- Whole cashews (store brand)
- $6.99 per 12 oz container (12 servings) equaling $0.58 per 1 ounce serving
- Whole almonds (store brand)
- $3.69 per 6 oz container (6 servings) equaling $0.62 per 1 ounce serving
I then checked Walmart for the prices of cashews and almonds:
- Whole cashews (store brand)
- $8.58 per 16 oz container (16 servings) equaling $0.54 per 1 ounce serving.
- Whole natural almonds (store brand)
- $5.98 per 16 oz bag (16 servings) equaling $0.37 per 1 ounce serving
Cashews vs Almonds: Glycemic Index
The glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food. This is true for diabetics or anyone worrying about their health.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 3. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 4.
Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:
- Low-GI foods: 55 or under
- Medium-GI foods: 56-69
- High-GI foods: 70 or over
How blood sugars levels are affected:
- Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
- Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.
Having more knowledge of the glycemic index of food and how it raises blood sugar, many people ask, does cashews or almonds have a higher glycemic index?
Almonds have a lower glycemic index than cashews although both are considered low glycemic foods. Almonds fall into the low glycemic index with a GI of zero. Cashews have a GI of 22.
Find out how almonds compared to pistachios in my article, Pistachios vs Almonds: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
The Satiety Index of Cashews and Almonds
Satiety is a term used to explain the loss of appetite and the feeling of being full after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating certain foods.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study. The researchers tested 38 foods which were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling and foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling 5.
The table below shows the satiety scores of snack foods noted in the study.
|Snack||Satiety Index Score|
|Mars candy bar||70%|
Unfortunately, they didn’t test cashews or almonds but they did test peanuts. Peanuts finished 5th out of the six snack foods listed in the table above. Even though other studies have determined cashews and almonds are good snacks for satiety.
In one study 42 people were given either almonds or crackers as a mid-morning snack two hours after eating breakfast. The serving sizes were equal between the two foods. The researchers found the people exhibited lower hunger and the desire to eat after eating the almonds 6.
A study released recently found tree nuts, like cashews, does not stimulate weight gain even though they contain a good amount of calories. The researchers noted the ingestion of nuts can help in the control of satiety 7.
High satiety food is likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in protein.
- High in fiber.
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight).
Check out how peanuts compared to almonds in my article, Peanuts vs Almonds: Which is Healthier? Let’s Compare.
The Health Benefits of Cashews and Almonds
The have pretty similar nutrients therefore offer the same type of benefits. The following describes how each nutrient may benefit health.
Cashews have a higher percentage of minerals than almonds. Let’s take a closer look at some of these minerals and how they benefit health.
- Cashews contain 292 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
- Almonds contain 270 mg of magnesium per 100 grams.
Cashews provide 8% more magnesium than almonds.
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 8.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Blood sugar
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 9.
One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.
- Cashews contain 593 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
- Almonds contain 481 mg of phosphorus per 100 grams.
Cashews provide 23% more phosphorus than almonds.
Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:
- Promote healthy nerve conduction.
- Promote bone and teeth strength.
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle recovery.
- Help the kidneys remove waste.
- Help the body manage and store energy.
Check out how cashew butter compared to peanut butter in my article, Cashew Butter vs Peanut Butter: Which is Better? We Compare.
- Almonds contain 733 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
- Cashews contain 660 mg of potassium per 100 grams.
Almonds provide 11% more potassium than cashews.
Some medical experts recommend the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 10.
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 11.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 12. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.
- Cashews contain 6.7 mg of iron per 100 grams.
- Almonds contain 3.7 mg of iron per 100 grams.
Cashews provide 81% more iron than almonds.
Iron is essential in the creation of red blood cells and is a necessary part of any healthy diet. Iron is also vital for growth and development, as some hormones need iron to be appropriately balanced 13.
- Almonds contain 269 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
- Cashews contain 37 mg of calcium per 100 grams.
Almonds provide 620% more calcium than cashews.
Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 14.
Calcium also helps the following:
- Helps nerve function.
- Maintain and build strong bones.
- Help the muscles to function properly.
How about the milks? Find out how almond milk compared to cashew milk in my article, Cashew Milk vs Almond Milk: Which is Better? Let’s Compare.
Almonds provide more vitamin A and E than cashews. Cashews and almonds provide about an equal number of B vitamins.
Almonds provide a higher percentage of three of the six B vitamins listed below. The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin) (Cashews)
- B2 (riboflavin) (Almonds)
- B3 (niacin) (Almonds)
- B5 (Cashews)
- B6 (Cashews)
- B9 (folate) (Almonds)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Brain function.
- Red blood cells.
- Nerve function.
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation.
In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 15.
Macros & Fiber
- Almonds provide 21.2 grams of protein per 100 grams.
- Cashews provide 18.2 grams of protein per 100 grams.
Almonds provide 16% more protein than cashews.
Both nuts are a good source of protein. Protein may help benefit the following:
- Reduce appetite
- Build and repair muscle
- Boost metabolism
- Weight loss
- Almonds contain 12.5 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
- Cashews contain 3.3 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Almonds provide 280% more fiber than cashews.
Soluble fiber is helpful for many reasons 16. What makes fiber soluble is it dissolves in water.
Soluble fiber is known for the following:
- Manage the blood glucose levels which helps decrease the risk of diabetes.
- Helps avoid constipation and have a more regular stool.
- Help overall digestive health.
- Aids greatly in weight management because it allows you to feel full faster and eat less.
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- USDA: Nuts, almonds
- USDA: Nuts, cashew nuts, raw
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review
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