Cashews are extremely popular throughout the world, thanks to its buttery and mild salty sweet flavor, which makes it a food worth savoring. Scientifically known as Anacardium occidentale, cashews are actually not “nuts” but rather seeds, as they grow attached to fruit.
Originally found growing in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, they soon started to be exported, and now grow many places with a subtropical climate. They are widely consumed and offer great flexibility for inclusion into numerous dishes, being able to be made into cashew butter as well; an excellent peanut butter alternative.
Nutrition Info (per 100g serving)
Cashews are extremely calorie dense, supplying well over 500 calories in just a 100g serving. Nevertheless, they are extremely nutritious, delicious and possess multiple health benefits we can take advantage of.
Total Carbohydrate-33g 11% RDA
Dietary Fiber-3.5g 13% RDA
Total Fat-44g 67% RDA
Protein-18.5g 36% RDA
Vitamin E 1mg 4% RDA
Vitamin K-34mcg 43% RDA
Thiamin-0.4mg 28% RDA
Riboflavin-0.1mg 3% RDA
Niacin-1mg 5% RDA
Vitamin B6-0.4mg 21% RDA
Folate-25mcg 6% RDA
Pantothenic Acid-0.9mg 9% RDA
Calcium-37mg 4% RDA
Iron-6.5mg 37% RDA
Magnesium-292mg 73% RDA
Phosphorus-595mg 59% RDA
Potassium-660mg 19% RDA
Zinc-5.8mg 39% RDA
Copper-2.5mg 110% RDA
Manganese-1.5mg 83% RDA
Selenium-20mcg 28% RDA
13 Surprising Benefits of Cashews
1. Cashews Help Build Blood
Cashews are abundant in the amount of copper and iron they possess, which are important pre-requisites in the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, the protein to which oxygen binds and enables supply to cells throughout the body. Regular consumption of cashews will benefit your blood count, and will lead to bolstered energy levels in the process.
2. Cashews Are Heart Healthy
Even though cashews can be considered high fat, they are not rich in the kind that is generally bad for you. Instead, they contains lots of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are the kind that is beneficial to the health of your heart, as they assist in cholesterol lowering, can keep blood vessels healthy and more. Studies have consistently shown that Mediterranean style diets, high is beneficial monounsaturated fats are superior for heart health, and help prevent heart related illnesses.
3. Can Help Prevent Cancer
Cashews contain compounds known as proanthocyanins, which are a class of flavonols that suppresses cancer cell replication. This is an important function, as once cancer cell replication starts, it quickly becomes difficult to get a hold of, and explains why a shotgun approach is often employed when treating cancer- hurting good cells in the process. Plus, cashews are rich in copper, a mineral which reduces a cells propensity to mutate, and shows particular promise in managing and preventing colon cancer.
4. Help Improve Blood Pressure
Cashews contain two important minerals involved in blood pressure regulation- potassium and magnesium, which help promote blood vessel relaxation and counteract the effects of excessive sodium. Excessive sodium levels promote retention of water, which raises blood volume and blood pressure. Potassium is also involved in heart muscle contractility via nerve conduction.
5. Can Help You Fight Migraines
In recent years, magnesium’s potential for treating migraines has skyrocketed, simply because it is very effective ion reducing symptoms and frequency of attacks. Though it is not sure why, magnesium appears to have a role in relieving spasm of the blood vessels under the scalp, and making the nerves less sensitive to painful stimuli.
6. Help Prevent Formation Of Gallstones
For years experts have believed that gallstones are caused when serum cholesterol levels are high, but this is not part true. Gallstones can in fact be caused by low cholesterol levels, but more often as a result of high circulating triglycerides. The rich monounsaturated fat content contained in cashews can significantly reduce gallstone formation or risk, as well as reducing your poor cholesterol profile- helping eliminate them as a trigger point.
7. Cashews Can Help You Lose Weight
Yes, even though cashews are by nature very calorie heavy foods, in moderation they can actually help you lose weight. This is in large part to due to its generous servings of monounsaturated fats, which help to mobilize stored fats into free fatty acids where they can be burned, and to the presence of copper, a trace mineral with important effects on your metabolism. Deficiency of copper can negatively affect thyroid function, along with metabolism of the macronutrients fats, carbohydrates and fats. Copper is also an important element involved in the synthesis of numerous co-enzymes and factors, many of which are involved in the body’s essential biochemical processes.
8. Important For Increasing Bone Mass Density
While we know well that calcium is an essential and important component of health bones, there are a slew of micronutrients whose functions go unmentioned. Among these are copper, which can actually help increase the mineralization of bone- thereby making it more structurally dense and less prone to fractures or osteoporosis. There are cases when copper deficiency is the limiting factor to healthy bones, as calcium and other mineral requirements have been met, but bones are still weak.
9. Maintain The Health Of Skin
While Vitamin C is known to increase collagen synthesis in the body, copper is a mineral that is involved in the maintenance of collagen and elastin. This is important, as deficiency of this mineral results in increased turnover of these tissue types, and can lead to premature skin sagging. Be sure to consume foods high in Vitamin C along with cashews for extra insurance and youthful looking skin.
10. May Help Boost Testosterone Levels
There are many minerals that play a beneficial role on testosterone levels, but selenium is not often discussed. However, that should not be the case, as selenium has been proven in studies to be able to boost testosterone levels. Selenium also reduces risk of prostate and testicular cancer and is especially beneficial to men’s sexual wellness.
11. Can Help Preserve Vision
While cashews do not have any Vitamin A to boast of, it contains small amounts of the anti-oxidant zeaxanthin, which prevent damage to the macula within the eyes. This anti-oxidant also has a UV filtering effect, which helps to reflect these rays from causing damage within the eyes.
12. Can Provide Liver Support
The liver is responsible for the processing and breakdown of waste products every single day of our lives, and while it generally does this very well, it can become “stressed” from time to time. During such cases, it is important to offer liver support, by helping enhance its natural anti-oxidant potential. Cashews contain copper, which assist in production of liver enzymes and superoxide dismutase, powerful molecules that reduce the damage potential of free radicals.
13. Can Help Improve Fertility
Occasionally, fertility can be improved easily, by simply improving your diet and the nutritional density of it. In such cases, trace minerals like zinc and selenium can be of excellent support, increasing sperm count, boosting testosterone and also improving the quality of sperm.
Do you need more excuses to consume cashews now? We didn’t think so. Cashews are already extremely delicious, but you now also know that they are highly nutritious. Regardless of your goals, cashews can be squeezed into your diet, given that you control portion size a bit. Consume yours unsalted, and experience all they can do for you. They are available year round, so purchasing shouldn’t be an issue. Consume as they are, chop and sprinkle on treats or other food, or consume buttered- it’s your choice. Just don’t miss out on enjoying this delicious nut.