Veggies and Fruit

The Benefits of Cashew Nuts

raw cashew nuts

The tropical, evergreen cashew tree produces the cashew fruit and the cashew nut. We have covered the cashew fruit here.  The cashew tree is native to Brazil and was exported by the Europeans to Southeast Asia, where it is widely cultivated today. The cashew nuts are incredibly nutritious nuts that are also a great source of protein and carbohydrates. The delicious nuts are edible raw, can be roasted, powdered and added to smoothies and shakes and are used to make curries in Southeast Asian food.

The kidney-shaped cashew nut has a sweet taste and creamy texture. Cashew nuts are sold salted, unsalted, raw and roasted. The nuts yield cashew oil in the manufacturing process and are also used to produce cashew milk, a great vegan alternative to traditional sources of milk.

yellowish-red cashew fruits with nuts growing out of them

Interesting Facts

  • Most nuts grow inside the fruit, but cashew nut grows outside of its fruit.
  • The cashew nut is enclosed in a shell which is used to make lubricants, paints etc.
  • The cashew nut is surrounded by a toxic resin that is removed while processing them and making them available for consumers.
  • Cashew nuts may not be stored at room temperature or left in the kitchen. They need to be placed in an airtight jar and refrigerated. This way, they are usable for months on end.

Nutritional Facts

1 oz of cashews (about 18 cashews) contains:

  • Calories: 157
  • Sugar: 1.68 grams (g)
  • Carbohydrates: 8.56 g
  • Fat: 12.43 g
  • Protein: 5.17 g
  • Fiber: 0.9 g
  • Calcium: 10 milligrams (mg)
  • Potassium: 187 mg
  • Magnesium: 83 mg
  • Iron: 1.89 mg
  • Zinc: 1.64 mg
  • Phosphorus: 168 mg
  • Sodium: 3 mg

closeup of cashew nuts

Benefits of Cashew Nuts

  1. Cardiovascular Health

Significant research has shown that incorporating nuts into diet leads to better heart health and reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular problems. This is because nut consumption lowers cholesterol levels in the body. FDA recommends a 1.5 oz serving of nuts a day and establishes its link with lowered risk of heart disease. The high amounts of magnesium present in the cashew nuts also contribute towards heart health. Magnesium aids absorption of calcium in the bones and prevention of deposition of calcium in the arteries, which means it lowers the risk of high blood pressure and the resultant strain on the heart.

  1. Weight Loss

People aiming to lose weight should include nuts in their diet, as nuts are nutritious and keep you full for a longer time. Also, studies show that nuts do not contribute to weight gain and people who eat nuts generally have a lower BMI than those who do not eat nuts. Omega 3 fatty acids in cashew nuts promote fat loss by accelerating the body’s fat burning mechanism. Thus, we can say with conviction that eating moderate amounts of nuts does not lead to weight gain and may even help in weight loss. Read here about other vegetables that help in weight loss.

  1. Eye Health

Cashew nuts contain antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein in high amounts. With age, people sometimes start losing their vision as their eyes become clouded. Regular consumption of cashews prevents cataracts from developing in your eyes. Apart from this, cashews contain Zeaxanthin which is an antioxidant that protects the eyes by forming a protective layer over the retina and not allowing harmful UV rays or harmful substances in the air to pass through, thus keeping our eyes healthy. For other natural fruits that promote eye health, look at this article.

  1. Bone Health

Cashew nuts can play a role in maintaining bone health as they are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. Cashews also contain vitamin K. Together these nutrients promote bone health by decreasing the probability of demineralization and protecting bones from osteoporosis. Cashews also contain high amounts of copper. Copper helps in repair of connective tissue around the bones and prevents joint problems. For more natural foods that help promote bone health, read this.

  1. Protein Source

Proteins are one of the major macronutrients that our body needs daily. It helps in building and repairing muscles and it keeps you feeling full during the day, which is desirable for health weight loss. Cashews are a great source of protein and this is one of the major reasons behind their popularity in the West. As they are not just protein-rich but also packed with minerals, they make a great healthy snack.

Cashews sprinkled with rosemary

  1. Gallbladder Protection

Studies have showed that consumption of cashew nuts decreases your risk of developing gallstones, or of needing surgery to remove the gallbladder.

  1. Skin & Hair Benefits

The fatty acids in cashew nuts give your hair a silky and smooth appearance and keep your skin hydrated and wrinkle-free. Copper aids the body in producing melanin, which is a skin and hair pigment. Thus, both cashew nuts and cashew nut oil make your skin and hair healthier than before.

  1. Cashew Milk

Cashew milk is a vegan alternative to dairy milk and quite simple to make. You only need to soak the cashews overnight and then wash them the next day before blending them with water on high power in a blender. This milt does not even require any straining and that means that all the nutrients and fibers from cashew nuts are retained in the delicious cashew milk. You can store it up to 3 or 4 days in the fridge, but it tastes best on day 1 and 2. So make sure to make only as much milk as you need.

Cashew Nut Products

Product
Visual
Where to Buy

NOW Foods, Certified Organic Cashews, Whole, Raw and Unsalted, Rich Buttery Flavor, Source of Fiber, Protein and Iron, Certified Non-GMO, 10-Ounce

Wellsley Farms Milk Chocolate Covered Cashews, 44 Oz

Nature Valley Cashew Sweet & Salty Nut Granola Bars 12 Piece Box, 14.8 Ounce

LARABAR, Fruit & Nut Bar, Cashew Cookie, Gluten Free, Vegan, 1.7 oz Bars (16 Count)

FISHER Snack Oven Roasted Never Fried Whole Cashews, 8.75 oz, Made with Sea Salt

Nature's Path Organic Gluten Free Granola Cereal, Coconut & Cashew Butter, 11 Ounce Bag

PLANTERS Deluxe Lightly Salted Whole Cashews, 18.25 oz. Resealable Canister | Lightly Salted Cashews & Lightly Salted Nuts | Nutrient Dense Snacks for Adults & Kids | Vegan Snacks, Kosher

 

1. NOW Foods Whole, Raw Cashews

If you are looking for unsalted, raw cashew nuts, then this product is your answer. It is verified by the USDA to be organic and it is also free from GMOs. These whole cashew nuts are an excellent source of fiber, iron and protein and have a delicious, rich flavor. They will be a great addition to your appetizers and desserts and can be used as coating for your baked and fried chicken and seafood.

2. Wellsley Milk Chocolate Covered Cashews

If you want to fulfil your chocolate cravings yet keep it healthy and nutritious, then these chocolate-covered cashews will be a perfect fit for you. You can also get your children to be excited about eating nuts by introducing them to this treat. These whole cashews are roasted first and then covered with a delicious milk chocolate. The great thing about them is that they are gluten-free.

3. Nature Valley Cashew Nut Granola Bars

These granola bars are made from whole grain oats, cashew butter and roasted cashews. They contain additional nuts and dark chocolate to provide you with granola bars that are healthy, tasty and wholesome. They are completely free from all kinds of artificial flavors, sweeteners and colors. These sweet and salty granola bars make a perfect snack and easy breakfast and are nutritious and healthy.

4. Larabar Cashew Cookie

This cookie is made from just two ingredients cashews and dates. The mix of fruit and nut gives a simple treat that is delicious and filling. This vegan product is gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free and soy free. The simple blend of dates and cashews gives a healthy, natural snack that is full of minerals and fiber.

5. Fisher Whole Cashews

These whole cashews by Fisher have been roasted in the oven and sprinkled with sea salt. No oil has been used in roasting them and this makes them a delicious but healthy option. Further, they are verified non-GMO and are free from all artificial preservatives and flavors and colors. So, if you want to gain the health benefits of the cashews, then these over roasted cashews are a great option.

6. Nature’s Path Coconut and Cashew Butter

This is a healthy breakfast made of whole grains oats with cashew butter. It contains chunks of coconut and cashew nuts that make it a filling and nutritious meat, as well as delicious. This granola cereal can be eaten with milk, or with yogurt and some fresh fruit. If you want, you can snack right out of the bag. This product is free from artificial flavors, preservatives and colors and does not contain any GMOs. It is also gluten-free. The cashews in it provide its high nutrient content and the coconut makes it a good source of fiber.

7. Planters Lightly Salted Cashews

These cashews are roasted in peanut oil and then salted, but the salt content is minimum. So, if you want salty cashews yet want to limit your sodium intake, they are a good option. These make for a delicious snack that you can use as appetizers or take wit you out on a trip. Cashews are high in protein and minerals and that makes this product a nutritious, healthy choice.

Side Effects

Some people have nut allergies and consuming cashews, or cashew products can be dangerous for them. Also, moderation is the key in consuming nuts. Otherwise their high caloric content can be dangerous.

Conclusion

To conclude, cashew nuts are a powerhouse containing proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates. They also contain high amounts of beneficial nutrients and mineral, making them an ideal snack. They promote heart health, bone health, eye health and help maintain weight.

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