Health Benefits Of Cashews With Nutritional Facts, Cashew Recipes With Videos
About Cashews And The Cashew Tree
Latin Name : Anacardium occidentale.
Cashew is called "Kaju" in India.
The cashew tree grows in tropical climates, is an evergreen tree and grows to about 30 -35 feet tall. It is native to Brazil. Today cashew is cultivated in India, Vietnam and some African countries apart from Brazil.
The fruit that appears as a yellow or reddish yellow pear shaped structure is in fact a false fruit as it develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the flower. This structure is the cashew apple and is edible and sweet in taste and smell.
The kidney shaped drupe that is attached to the cashew apple is the true fruit and within this drupe is the seed, the cashew nut or cashew as we call it. The cashew is the first to develop and later the pedicel swells to become the cashew apple. The skin of the cashew apple is very fragile and the pulp very juicy which makes it difficult for it to be transported over distances.
The cashew nut is covered enclosed in a 2 layered shell. The layers contain anacardic acid which is a skin irritant, allerginic and a toxin. Hence, cashews are always sold shelled. Roasting cashews well deactivates this toxin.
Cashews have a delicate flavor, a buttery taste and are a popular snack food. They are eaten as they are, after roasting, salted or even coated with chocolate.
In India, cashew paste is used in sauces and curries and to make certain sweets.
Cashews - Nutrient Facts
Cashews are high in fat with 100 grams providing almost 150% of the daily requirement and very high in calories too with the same quantity providing over 550 calories of it. Cashews are however, free of cholesterol completely.
The fats in cashews are the healthy monounsaturated fats like oleic acid and palmitoleic acid which are considered heart healthy fats.
Cashews are also an extremely concentrated source of essential minerals like phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese, selenium and zinc.
They contain good amounts of protein as well, supplying about 32% of the daily requirement in 100 grams.
Cashews are also very rich in many vitamins like pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, thiamine, vitamin E with some folates, niacin, riboflavin and vitamin K also being present.
Cashews are high in potassium while being low in sodium at the same time, unless of course they are consumed salted.
They also contain some amounts of the flavonoid zeaxanthin, which is beneficial to the eyes since it offers protection against age related macular degeneration, faced by the elderly.
The entire list of nutritional values are given in the table below
Cashews Nutritional Values
Cashew nut (Anacardium occidentale)
Nutrition value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
25 micro gm
4.1 micro gm
19.9 micro gm
0 micro gm
0 micro mg
22 micro gm
Health Benefits Of Cashews
- Providing Healthy Fats
Though cashews are very rich in fats a major portion of them about 54% are the heart friendly mono unsaturated fats - the oleic and palmitoleic acids. These fatty acids lower the harmful LDL cholesterol and increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol. They also make for a healthy blood lipid levels since they lower the triglycerides. Cashews thus aid in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.
In fact, along with the 18% poly unsaturated fats that they have, they contain almost 75% unsaturated fatty acids, the fats the heart benefits from.
To avail these benefits consume a handful of cashews about 4 times a week.
Results from the Iowa Women's health study, the Adventist health study, Nurses health study and the Physicians health study which were reported in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that :
~~ Cashews and other nuts' high antioxidant levels were responsible for reducing death rates from cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases, AND,
~~ Cashews and nuts reduced the risk of coronary heart disease in those who consumed them as against a control group who never or hardly ate nuts of any type.
- Controlling Weight Gain
A study published in the journal Obesity show that cashews or other nuts do not promote weight gain. On the contrary, those who eat nuts at least 2 times a week are less likely to gain weight than those who rarely consume them.
A study done in Spain over a period of 28 months shows that those who ate nuts regularly had reduced their chances of gaining weight.
Eating an ounce of cashews or other nuts 4 times a week will not only protect against heart disease but prevent weight gain as well.
- Preventing Gall Stones
Data collected over a period of 20 years through a survey on 80,000 women, in the Nurses Health Study, showed that women who consumed 1 ounce of cashews or nuts of any other type had a 25% lower risk of developing gall stones.
- Benefits Of Excellent Copper Levels
With 1 ounce of cashews providing almost 75% of the daily requirement of copper, the benefits of cashews to our overall well being and health cannot be denied.
Copper plays a role in many enzyme processes since it is a component of these enzymes. It also helps in iron utilization and preventing anemia, makes bones and connective tissues healthy, helps in the production of melanin pigment, destroys free radicals, keeps joint problems at bay, reduces cholesterol levels, normalizes heart beat and reduces risk of colon cancer.
Consume 1/4 cup of cashews everyday. This will supply 40% of the daily copper requirement.
- Benefits of Excellent Magnesium Levels
Apart from calcium, magnesium also plays a vital role in keeping and making bones healthy. It is estimated that 2/3rd of the magnesium in our body is contained in our bones; so one can well imagine the importance of magnesium for our bone health.
Some of the magnesium is used to develop the bone structure while the rest is available over the surface of the bone from where it can be made available for the body's requirement.
Magnesium also relaxes the nerves and muscles. If magnesium levels are low, calcium over activates the nerve cells making them contract leading to muscle and nerve spasms which may increase incidence of :
- High blood pressure and heart attacks
- Muscle cramps & fatigue
- Tension and sleep problems
Consuming 1/4 cup of cashews daily will provide 25% of the daily requirement of magnesium.
Some other health benefits of cashews include :
- Providing the body good amounts of protein; 5 grams/ounce which helps in building muscles, hair and skin.
- Low sodium content, which protects against high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Good folates content which prevents birth defects in the developing fetus, allergies, kidney disease, arthritis and obesity.
Calories In Cashews
Dry Roasted Without Salt
Oil Roasted Without Salt
1 ounce - 28 grams
Cashews are a safe food to eat. Some people may however exhibit some allergic reactions when they consume cashews or nuts. Hence, this cautionary note.
- Cashews contain measurable amounts of oxalates. Excess oxalates are known to crystallize leading to health issues. Therefore, those with kidney or gall bladder issues would do well to consult their doctor before eating cashews.
- Some people may show allergic reaction to the anacardic acid in cashew nuts, cashew apples or cashew shells. Reactions from simple itching to severe ones like vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea or difficulty in breathing may manifest.
The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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