The cashew nut has a mild, nutty flavor and crunchy texture similar to macadamia nuts. Add them to many dishes such as salads and sauces or eat them on their own as a snack. The nut is also used in some sweet recipes such as cookies and cakes.
Cashews are one of the most popular nuts around, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re delicious and can add them to so many different recipes!
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Health Benefits of Cashews
Cashews have a high content of monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, making them good for your heart and brain function and providing other benefits for your overall health.
1. Rich in nutrients
Cashews are grown on large farms in tropical climates, such as Brazil, Vietnam, and Nigeria. They are a rich source of nutrients, including minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants (1).
Cashews are a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc (2). The mineral content varies depending on the variety of cashew nuts you choose. Raw cashew nuts contain three times more calcium than roasted cashews because roasting can remove some minerals from the nut’s shell.
Cashews are an excellent source of vitamin K and folate — two essential nutrients you need to keep your bones healthy (3). They also provide small amounts of other B vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid — all essential for metabolism and energy production (4).
The antioxidants vitamin E and selenium help protect your cells from damage by free radicals that can cause cell mutations or cancer over time (5). Selenium also plays a role in immune function, thyroid hormone production, and DNA synthesis. One ounce of cashews provides about 6 percent of the daily value for fiber, about 14 percent for protein, and about 20 percent for calcium.
Summary:Cashews contain tons of nutrients, some of which include iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. They also contain vitamin K, folate, B vitamins, and vitamin E.
2. Helps prevent the formation of gallstones
Cashews are high in copper, which is important for the production of the bile salts in bile, a fluid that helps break down fats (6). Cashews also contain magnesium, which helps to keep the cholesterol in your bile from hardening into gallstones (7).
In one study, 35 patients with gallstones were given 10 grams of cashew nuts a day for three months. It resulted that 100 percent of them experiencing complete gallstone clearance. The researchers conclude that cashew nuts may be useful in preventing gallstone formation.
If you have a history of kidney stones or gallstones, then you should speak to your doctor before consuming large amounts of cashews.
Summary:Cashews are a food that may prevent gallstones, due to their copper and magnesium content.
3. Contains beneficial plant compounds
Cashews are a rich source of plant compounds that may help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, according to research by scientists in the United States and China.
The study found that cashews contain several beneficial plant compounds, lignans, that are thought to have anti-inflammatory properties (8).
The findings could have significant implications for public health because cashews are one of the most popular nuts in the United States. In 2016, Americans consumed more than 1.5 billion pounds of cashews, which also account for nearly 40 percent of all global nut consumption, according to researchers.
Cashews are a rich source of plant compounds called phytosterols, which have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels in humans (9). They also contain resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in red wine, grapes, and peanuts (10).
Phytosterols are plant sterols that can play an important role in lowering blood cholesterol levels. While there are many types of phytosterols, the primary ones found in cashew nuts are sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol.
Summary:Cashews are full of beneficial compounds like lignans, phytosterols, and resveratrol, all of which have antioxidant properties.
4. May be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes
More than 37 million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes, and this number expects to rise dramatically over the next 20 years (11).
The condition involves high blood sugar levels, which can damage many organs within the body. It is caused by either an inability to produce enough insulin or an inability to respond properly to it.
Diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease and stroke (12). It also increases the risk of developing kidney disease and nerve damage in the feet.
Cashew nuts contain monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, both of which are beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels (13). They are also rich sources of magnesium, manganese, and copper – nutrients that can help protect against diabetes complications.
They also contain the amino acid arginine, which has been shown to improve blood flow to the male genitalia area by increasing nitric oxide production in blood vessels (14). This is important because men who have diabetic erectile dysfunction may be more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than men without it.
Summary:Cashews are high in healthy fats that aid in controlling blood sugar levels and can be helpful for people with type 2 diabetes.
5. May improve heart health
The magnesium in cashews helps relax blood vessels and prevent high blood pressure (15). Cashews also contain tryptophan, an amino acid that may help reduce stress and improve sleep.
One study found that eating cashews with a meal may improve heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides.
Cashews are known for their high oil content, making them a good source of fat. But the nut’s fat is mostly monounsaturated, which is called HDL, or “good” fat because it lowers bad cholesterol levels which can improve heart health (16).
Research from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating cashews can lower levels of plasma homocysteine by up to 18%. Plasma homocysteine is a marker for cardiovascular disease.
The study involved 100 participants who were given one of three different diets for two weeks each. They would either eat low-fat, low-carb, or high-fat diet with moderate protein content. Each participant consumed about 650 calories per day in the form of cashew nuts or cashew butter.
The researchers found that homocysteine levels were lower after consuming cashew nut butter compared with when the participants ate a low-fat diet or a high-fat diet. The effects were greatest when participants ate a low-carbohydrate diet.
Summary:Several components in cashews like magnesium, tryptophan, and monounsaturated fat may help lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health.
6. Improves bone health
Cashews are an excellent source of phosphorus to build strong bones and teeth (17). A cup of cashews contains over 350 milligrams of phosphorus, which is almost half the daily recommendation.
This mineral is necessary for the development and maintenance of bone tissue, as well as for the proper absorption of calcium. A phosphorus deficiency can lead to osteoporosis or brittle bones.
Cashews are also a good source of copper, which is an essential nutrient for bone health. Copper is a cofactor for enzymes involved in bone formation and collagen production (18). Manganese in cashews also helps make collagen, the protein that makes up bones and connective tissues.
Magnesium regulates calcium levels within the body and helps prevent osteoporosis (19). Iron is another component of cashews that transports oxygen from your lungs to your tissues throughout your body, including your bones.
Summary:The minerals in cashews like phosphorus, calcium, and copper are all an important part of maintaining bone health and prevent issues like osteoporosis.
7. Easy to add to your diet
You can snack on them right out of the bag or toss them into salads, soups, and stir-fries for extra crunch. If you want something sweet, try grinding up cashews with some cocoa powder for homemade chocolate chip cookies or muffins.
You can also use cashews in place of regular dairy products when cooking sauces or making dressings. They’ll add thickness without adding much fat or calories to your recipes.
Another way to incorporate cashews into your meals is by using them instead of meat in dishes where you’d usually use ground beef or chicken such as tacos or wraps.
Summary:Cashews can be easily added to foods like salads, soups, and baked goods or eaten alone as a snack.
Cashews are one of the most popular nuts around, and it’s not hard to see why. But what if you decided to eat cashews every day? What would happen?
Unfortunately though, eating too many cashews can cause some problems. Firstly, because they contain so much fat, eating more than a few cashews a day can lead to weight gain or obesity (20).
They also contain several allergens, several of which are the same as peanuts and soybeans. This can trigger an allergic reaction in some people who aren’t aware they have an allergy to these foods until after eating them.
Eating raw cashews can also be dangerous. According to the FDA, raw cashews can be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes which can cause serious or fatal infections in young children, the elderly, and others with weakened immune systems.
Summary:There are some risks to eating cashews, like weight gain if they are eaten in excess, allergic reactions, and contaminations when eaten raw.
Although most people don’t have any problems with cashews, it’s important to read food labels carefully before eating them.
Hopefully, this article has been informative and interesting. You’ve learned a lot about the humble cashew nut and its place in the world of nutrition. Enjoy them as an additive to many of your favorite recipes or simply as a snack for when you want a little something extra to eat!