Cashew nut is a very delicious nut that contains large quantities of energy, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The cashew tree bears plenty of cashew apples with the nut firmly attached to the bottom of the fruit like a clapper in the bell.
Cashews are native to northeastern Brazil but available in plenty all over the world. Cashew nuts are largely used as a snack and in culinary purposes. They add a great flavor to food and also provide many necessary compounds to our body.
Nutrition Facts about Cashew nut
As per the USDA National Nutrient data base, one cup (40gms) of raw cashew can provide 221 calories, copper, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium and Zinc.
It is a common belief that cashew nuts make you gain lot of fat. That is a myth. Cashew nuts are cholesterol free. Too much consumption of Cashew might increase your calorie count but not the cholesterol.
Health benefits of cashew nuts
Good source of energy
Cashew nuts are rich in calories and also contain soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and many other ingredients that are necessary for our health. When you decide to consume cashew nuts every day, you can be sure of being more energetic and active in everything you do.
Improves heart health
Cashews are rich in mono saturated acids like palmitoleic acid and oleic acid. These acids lower the harmful cholesterol (LDL) in the blood and increase the beneficial cholesterol (HDL). The mono saturated acids help to prevent coronary artery diseases and strokes as they make the lipid profile of the blood healthier.
Packed with Minerals and Vitamins
The essential minerals abundantly found in the cashew nuts are iron, magnesium, zinc, copper, potassium, manganese and selenium. These prevent and fight many deficiencies. Selenium acts as a cofactor for antioxidants and copper as a cofactor for many important enzymes like cytochrome, c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase. Zinc acts as cofactor for many enzymes that regulates growth and development, digestion and DNA synthesis.
Cashew nuts also contain essential vitamins like vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) vitamin B1 (thiamin and riboflavin). 100 grams of cashew nuts provide 32% of the daily recommended level of vitamin B6 that reduces the risk of homocustinuric and sideroblastic anemia. In addition, the vitamins in cashew nuts are essential for absorption of proteins and carbohydrates at the cellular level.
Lowers Blood pressure
The presence of magnesium in nuts reduces the risk of blood pressure going high or down. It regulates pressure in the arteries and aids smooth blood flow to body parts.
The anti-oxidants present in cashew fights free radicals very effectively. The flavonoid proanthocyanidins inhibits the growth of cancer cells and reduces the chances of tumor in the body. The copper content in cashew helps to fight cancer causing cells that affect the colon.
Prevents macular degeneration
Cashew contains a rare pigment flavonoid anti-oxidant called Zea-xanthin. This anti-oxidant is very important for good and healthy retina. It prevents age related macular degeneration and protects the eyes from UV rays.
Good for pregnant women
The high level of iron in cashew nuts is helpful to pregnant women who are susceptible to anemia. The high iron content in cashews, helps to increase hemoglobin levels. Since they are rich in calories, it is good to consume 5 to 6 cashew every day during pregnancy. Potassium content in the nuts reduces fetal bleeding risks at the time of delivery.
Aids weight management
People who are involved in body building, can eat 10 to 15 cashews every day. They provide enough calories and energy for you to work out. For people who are trying to reduce weight, you can consume 3 to 4 cashews every day. This can help you cut down on junk food and keep your tummy full for a longer time.
‘Cashewnut shell liquid’ also provides various benefits. This liquid is a byproduct obtained while processing cashew nuts. Besides many industrial usages like in preparation of drugs, insecticides, resins, paints and in anti-termite treatment for timber, the liquid has medicinal properties. This oil has antibiotic effects and is hence used in treatment of sore tooth, ringworms and elephantiasis diseases.
As a word of caution, the oxalate salts in cashew nuts interferes with the absorption of calcium in the body. This may result in inducing formation of kidney stones. Therefore people vulnerable to kidney stones should avoid consuming cashew nuts in large quantities. People who are obese, should not consume more than 2 cashew nuts per day. As they are high in calories, if not burnt by working out, they tend to increase your weight.