Cashews vs Almonds: Which Nut is Better? Let’s Compare
As a Certified Health Coach informing clients about nuts is part of my job. Since cashews and almonds provide many nutrients many of my clients wonder if one is better. Let’s answer, which is better, cashews or almonds?
Both contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats but almonds are better than cashews due to their greater percentage of vitamins, fiber and protein. 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.
I’ve researched both nuts for my health coaching job and personal use. I’ve purchased, researched and consumed both prior to, during and after writing this article. They are part of my own nutritional plan.
Nutritional Analysis of Cashews and Almonds
To determine which one is healthier, we’ll first look at each one’s nutritional composition. The below table compares the macronutrient, vitamin and mineral content per 100 grams:
|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?
Almonds would be considered healthier than cashews due to its higher percentage of fiber, protein and vitamins. Although they both contain heart healthy unsaturated fats, almonds provide more vitamin A, vitamin E, riboflavin, niacin, folate, calcium and potassium.
Cashews provide a higher percentage of thiamin, B5, B6, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper and zinc.
Overall both of them contain a good percentage of nutrients and the differences between them may depend on your goals discussed in the next section.
I consume both nuts almost everyday as a snack. Both of them is included in the mixed nuts I buy at the supermarket. This way I receive both of their benefits and the varied taste helps avoid boredom.
Almond or Cashew: 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 both plus pistachios and pecans. I also purchase the less expensive peanuts and add them to the mixed nut mixture.
From time to time, I’ll purchase other mixed varieties containing macadamia nuts and Brazil nuts.
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.
In the the following video a Doctor explains how almonds compare to cashews.
Weight Loss and Calories
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 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.
The seven calorie difference between the two isn’t large enough to make a difference when looking to lose weight.
Of course, both of them should be consumed in moderation. Including them 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?
Almonds are better than cashews for a keto or low-carb diet due to its less carbohydrates. 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.
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 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 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
Supplements for bodybuilding are expensive, and the costs add up pretty fast. Cashews cost a little more. Therefore, the more protein per ounce and cheaper price may sway some people’s decision to almonds. Check out the costs section of this article down further.
The video below shows you how to make cashew butter using a blender.
Almonds vs Cashews: Taste and Texture
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 one has the better taste?
Cashews taste more buttery and rich than the earthy, smokey almonds. They are both crunchy but cashews are softer and more delicate than almonds which are drier.
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. Nut butter is 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.
To conduct some original research and get the opinions of real people like you, I decided to poll my clients, readers and people in food groups I belong to. I asked them, which taste do you prefer?
- 45% said they preferred the taste of almonds.
- 47% said they preferred the taste of cashews.
- 8% said they had no preference.
To conduct more research I thought it would be fun to setup and participate in my own taste test at home. Half of us, although a small sample, picked one of each.
In the battle of taste, it was almost breakeven in my own test and in the poll.
The following video explains how to make almond butter at home easily.
There may be times a recipe requires one but you only have the other at home. In this situation, you may wonder if one can substitute for the other.
Almonds can substitute for cashews although the taste will differ. It’s better to use unsalted or unflavored almonds. When substituting, if the recipe calls for chopped then use chopped for the other. 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.
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 one to buy as a snack option. Therefore, which one costs more?
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.
The prices for both foods vary depending on the store, location and sales offered. Therefore, to conduct original research, I searched various different stores to compare the price of both.
I first visited the Shoprite supermarket for the prices of both:
- 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:
- 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
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, which one has 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 pistachios compared in my article and if they were better.
Satiety Index of Nuts Almonds and Cashews
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 either one 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 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 in my article and if they were better.
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 the minerals magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Almonds had more potassium and calcium. Let’s take a closer look at some of these minerals and how they benefit health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. They both provide about an equal number of B vitamins.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
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
Both nuts are a good source of protein. Protein may help benefit the following:
- Reduce appetite
- Build and repair muscle
- Boost metabolism
- Weight loss
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.
Cashews and almonds have a high dose of healthy fats. The presence of saturated fat doesn’t make a food automatically unhealthy. It’s the whole package of nutrients making a difference.
Even though, the amount of saturated fat per 2 tablespoons is a small percentage of unsaturated fat. This makes saturated account for only about 20% of total fat.
Slightly, almonds have a better fat profile. Saturated fat is not a negative concern with natural, healthy nuts.
If you have any questions about this article don’t hesitate to email us. You can find an email on our contact page.
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Ground Flaxseed vs Flaxseed Meal: The DifferencesArticle Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
- USDA: Nuts, almonds[↩]
- USDA: Nuts, cashew nuts, raw[↩]
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[↩]
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evaluation of the Influence of Raw Almonds on Appetite Control: Satiation, Satiety, Hedonics and Consumer Perceptions[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[↩]
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[↩]
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[↩]
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[↩]
- National Institutes of Health: Iron[↩]
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial[↩]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[↩]