Health: Cashew Nuts Are Good for Us

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“Cashews are low in sugar and rich in fiber, heart-healthy fats, and plant protein, a good source of copper, magnesium, and manganese, the nutrients important for energy production, brain health, immunity, and bone health“–Paul Ebeling

The cashew tree grows in tropical climates, is an evergreen tree and grows to about 35 ft tall. It is native to Brazil. Today cashew is cultivated in India, Vietnam and some African countries along with 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.

Cashews have a delicate flavor, a buttery taste and are popular as a snack food. They are eaten as they are, after roasting, salted or coated with chocolate.

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 totally free of cholesterol.

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 lutein and zeaxanthin, 2 important nutrients for eye health that could reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.

Zeaxanthin is an antioxidant pigment absorbed directly by the retina, which forms a layer that protects the retina against harmful UV rays.

Though cashews are very rich in fats a major portion of them about 54% are the heart-friendly monounsaturated fats; the oleic and palmitoleic acids. These fatty acids lower the harmful LDL cholesterol and increase the beneficial HDL cholesterol. They also make for healthy blood lipid levels since they lower the triglycerides. Cashews thus aid in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.

A study published in the journal Obesity shows that cashews or other nuts do not promote weight gain. On the contrary, those who eat nuts at least 2X a wk are less likely to gain weight than those who rarely consume them.

Eat healthy, Be healthy, Live lively