Cashews vs Almonds: Which is Better? Let’s Compare


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.

Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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)
Calories 579 553
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

Nutrient Sources 1 2

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.

Weight Loss

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.

Low-carb Diet

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.

Gluten Free

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

Bodybuilding

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

Check out Amazon for cashews or almonds. Their prices are often more affordable with free shipping.

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%
Peanuts 84%
Crisps 91%
Ice Cream 96%
Jellybeans 118%
Popcorn 154%

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:

  1. High in protein.
  2. High in fiber.
  3. High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air).
  4. 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.

Minerals

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.

Magnesium

  • 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
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle
  • 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

  • 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.

Potassium

  • 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.

Iron

  • 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. 

Calcium

  • 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.

cashew with vegetables
Cashews with vegetables

Vitamins

Almonds provide more vitamin A and E than cashews. Cashews and almonds provide about an equal number of B vitamins.

B Vitamins

Almonds provide a higher percentage of three of the six B vitamins listed below. The B vitamins provided include the following:

  1. B1 (thiamin) (Cashews)
  2. B2 (riboflavin) (Almonds)
  3. B3 (niacin) (Almonds)
  4. B5 (Cashews)
  5. B6 (Cashews)
  6. B9 (folate) (Almonds)

B vitamins help support the following:

  • Brain function.
  • Red blood cells.
  • Digestion.
  • 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

Protein

  • 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

Fiber

  • 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. 

Additional Article Resources 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31

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Wheat Germ vs Wheat Bran: What’s The Difference?

Ground Flaxseed vs Flaxseed Meal: The Differences

 

Article 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.
  1. USDA: Nuts, almonds[]
  2. USDA: Nuts, cashew nuts, raw[]
  3. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[]
  4. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evaluation of the Influence of Raw Almonds on Appetite Control: Satiation, Satiety, Hedonics and Consumer Perceptions[]
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nuts and Human Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  9. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[]
  11. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  12. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[]
  13. National Institutes of Health: Iron[]
  14. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  15. 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[]
  16. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[]
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  18. Wikipedia: Cashew[]
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  20. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effects of Daily Consumption of Cashews on Oxidative Stress and Atherogenic Indices in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Controlled-Feeding Trial[]
  21. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutritional composition of raw fresh cashew (Anacardium occidentale L.) kernels from different origin[]
  22. Harvard T.H. Chan: Nuts for the Heart[]
  23. Cleveland Clinic: How Almonds Can Improve Your Heart Health[]
  24. Wikipedia: Almond[]
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  29. National Center for Biotechnology Information: A Comprehensive Review of Almond Clinical Trials on Weight Measures, Metabolic Health Biomarkers and Outcomes, and the Gut Microbiota[]
  30. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effects of daily intake timing of almond on the body composition and blood lipid profile of healthy adults[]
  31. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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