Nutrition & Diet

What Cashews Add to Your Body’s Health

Cashews are super nuts belonging to the family of Anacardiaceae where mangoes and pistachios belong. Cashews are originally native to the coastal areas of North-Eastern Brazil. They are have kidney shaped seeds and are widely cultivated in places that have tropical climates.

Cashews are widely grown in countries like India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania. The nuts stick to the bottom of the fruit know as cashew apple and have diverse uses particularly in Brazil, Asia and Africa. Cashews are one of the lowest fibre nuts but they are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These include vitamin E, K and B6 along with minerals like copper, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium, iron, and selenium all of which are important for maintaining healthy body functions.

Cashews have a buttery, sweet and salty taste and an unmistakable shape and they grow on cashew nut trees. Raw, unsalted cashews are often used in vegan recipes as well as in Indian cooking. Many people eat cashew nuts after they have been roasted and salted which turns them into a delicious snack.

Nutritional Facts on Cashew 

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Cashews are very nutritious and a powerhouse of proteins and other essential minerals like like copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Sodium is also present in very small quantities.

Cashews are a rich vitamin source like vitamin c, vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (folate), vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) and vitamin K (phylloguinone).

They are also a source of oleic acid and provide a good quantity of monosaturated fats and low amounts of polysaturated fats with no harmful cholesterol if consumed appropriately.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS OF CASHEWS

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Health benefits of cashews are incredible and mentioned below are the reasons why you need to add cashew to your diet.

Prevent Heart Diseases

Cashews are a good source of healthy dietary fats (monosaturated fats and polysaturated fats)  which are essential for our bodies to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and produce fatty acids that are vital for the development of the brain and blood clotting system. These healthy fats are good for the heart and help reduce bad cholesterol (LDL cholesterol).

Healthy Muscles and Nerves 

Cashews are a good source of magnesium which is vital for the healthy development of bones, muscles, tissues and organs of the body. Magnesium helps maintain blood pressure, boost the immune system, maintain the nerve function and keep the bones strong. A deficiency of magnesium alters the metabolism of calcium and the hormones responsible for its regulation.

Reduce Risk of Diabetes 

The presence of very low amounts of sugar and no harmful cholesterol in cashews make them safe for diabetic patients. This also helps in lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Promote Formation of Red Blood Cells 

Cashews are rich in copper which helps in the metabolism of iron that aids the formation of red blood cells. It also helps in keeping the bones and immune system healthy. Copper is vital for the nervous and skeletal system of the body and a deficiency in copper may result in osteoporosis, irregular heartbeat and anaemia.

Reduce Risk of Anaemia 

Iron is richly available in cashews. It is vital in the production of haemoglobin in red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Iron also aids in the functioning of enzymes and the immune system. A deficiency of iron in the diet can lead to fatigue, anaemia and an increased susceptibility to infections.

Boosts Immune System 

Cashews contain zinc which plays a vital role in the strengthening of the immune system against microbial infections. It is also useful in protein synthesis and healing of wounds. Zinc is important during pregnancy for fetal growth and also in the developmental years in childhood to maintain a healthy body.

 

HEALTH CAUTION OF CASHEWS 

Cashews contains palate salts which interfere with the absorption of calcium in the body. The accumulated calcium can result in the formation of kidney stones. Research conducted on this topic recommends that people who are prone to develop kidney stones should consider eating only small to moderate amounts of cashews.

The consumption of cashews can also cause health hazards to those who are allergic to tree nuts. Allergic reactions caused by tree nuts such as cashew, walnuts and pistachios can be mild or severe. It is advisable to consult your doctor if one develops any allergies after consuming cashews.

 

 

Sources

http://www.ncbi.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

http://medlineplus.gov/ency/articles/002424.htm

http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/nutsand-seeds

http://physiology.elte.hu/gyakor/at/cikkek/food%20allergies%20and%20intolerances.pdf

 

 

 

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