Cashews are an extremely diverse form of nuts that provide a host of benefits. As they have a lot of nutrients filled in them, their benefits range from preventing heart disease, improving muscle and nerve health, reducing the risk of diabetes (especially type 2 diabetes), working as a cancer chemopreventive agent, promoting the development of important red blood cells (RBCs) which help transport oxygen to all parts of the body, reducing the risk of anemia, boosting bone and oral health, preventing the occurrence of gallstones, and boosting the immune system. While many people chose to eat cashew nuts raw, they can be roasted with salt or crushed and added to any dish for extra texture and taste. They are readily available all over the world in most supermarkets and are, therefore, not hard to procure.
Cashews are nuts that are found at the bottom of cashew apples and in the shape of kidneys. They are widely popular throughout the world, especially in Asian and African countries. They are known as super nuts as they have so many nutritional benefits. They contain high quantities of proteins and various essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium. They also contain a host of vitamins such as vitamin C, B1, B2, B3, B6, E and K.
Nutritional Value of Cashews
In 100 grams of cashews, there is a total of 553 calories present. The total fat is 44g with 8g of saturated fat, 8g of polyunsaturated fat, and 24g of monounsaturated fat. It has 0 mg of cholesterol. It has 12mg of Sodium and 660mg of Potassium. It has a total carbohydrate of 30g out of which there area 3.3g of dietary fiber and 6g of sugar. It has 18g of protein and 3% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 37% of iron, 20% of vitamin B-6, 73% of magnesium, and 0% of vitamin A, C, D, and B-12.
Prevents heart disease
Cashews are an excellent source of dietary fats. These fats are required by the body to absorb nutrients such as fat soluble vitamin A, D, E, and K, along with essential fatty acids that help with brain development and prevent blood clotting. Some of the vital healthy fats are polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) monounsaturated fats (MUFA), which help with reducing LDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is extremely harmful as it can lead to various cardiovascular diseases and lowering its quantities in the blood helps significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Cashews also increase the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in the body, reduce blood pressure, and reduce triglycerides, all of which contribute to a healthier cardiovascular system.
Reduces the risk of diabetes
Cashews are a delight for diabetics as they control the blood sugar levels and regulate insulin. They even help lower the risks of developing type 2 diabetes.
Works as a Cancer Chemopreventive Agent
Cashews have a variety of antioxidants such as anacardic acids, cardols, and cardinols, which is why they are quite effective for people who are undergoing treatment for cancer or tumors. Many cancer patients are advised to consume ground cashews as they are a rich source of protein that can be absorbed by the body quite easily.
Promotes the development of Red Blood Cells (RBCs)
Red blood cells (RBCs) are one of the most important types of cells present in the blood as they help transport oxygen from the lungs to the brain and other organs. Cashews are rich in copper, which helps with the metabolism of iron, formation of RBCs, and keeping the immune system healthy and functional at all times. Having an optimal level of RBCs in the body leads to better organ functions, reduced risk of tissue damage, and just more energy as a whole. Without RBCs, the organs start to deteriorate. Moreover, copper is an important nutrient for the body as without it, one can be at risk for anemia, osteoporosis, and irregular heartbeat.
Reduces the risk of anemia
Cashews have dietary iron in them. This nutrient helps with transporting oxygen all over the body to various organs, and also helps with the way the enzymes in the body function. Making cashews a regular part of the diet can help prevent fatigue, anemia, and even decrease the body’s susceptibility to random infections. Having just a few nuts on a daily basis can really go a long way for the health of your body as a whole.
Boosts bone and oral health
Cashews are rich in phosphorus, which is needed for the development healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also needed to properly synthesize proteins, absorb carbohydrates from food, and fats in the maintenance of cellular health.
Gallstones are mainly deposits that consist of cholesterol that form into a stone like structure inside the gallbladder. They can impair the functioning of the gallbladder and are also quite painful. Including cashews in your daily diet can help you prevent the occurrence of gallstones.
Boosts the immune system
Cashews contain high amounts of zinc, which are extremely essential when it comes to boosting the immune system. It helps strengthen the system against microbial infections, helps with the healing of wounds, and protein synthesis. Pregnant women are often encouraged to eat cashews as they help with the development of the baby.
Uses of Cashews
Cashews are quite popular and are used while baking food, as well as while cooking savoury meals. They can be crushed and added to a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes, or can just be eaten raw, roasted, and/or with salt.
Cashew Nut Shell Liquid: The cashew nut shell liquid (which is a byproduct of procuring cashews) is used to prepare paints, insecticides, drugs, resins, anti-termite treatments for timber, and plastics. It also has antibiotic effects and is used medicinally to treat a sore tooth, ringworm, scurvy, leprosy, warts, and elephantiasis.
Cashew barks and leaves: The cashew bark and leaf can be used to treat diarrhea as well as colic. The leaf extract also helps with reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure. The bark has astringent properties and an infusion of the bark can be used to treat oral ulcers, sore throat, and even influenza. By boiling the leaves of the tree in water, one is left with an anti-pyretic that can be utilized to treat ache and pains all over the body.
Cashew Apple: The cashew fruit, also known as the cashew apple, has anti-bacterial uses and can treat ulcers in the stomach and gastritis. Since its juice has high contents of vitamin C, it can be used to prevent scurvy. A tea made with the juice can also treat dysentery. It can also be used to cure thrush in infants.
Cashew apples are widely used in South America to create sauces, curries, and jams, and is also often fermented into vinegar and liquor. This can only be had after steaming or boiling as its skin can often induce an allergic reaction.
Cashew Oil: Oil extracted from cashew seeds also has its share of uses. It treats cracked heels. When cashew seeds are powdered, they can be used to cure snake bites as they have a antivenom effects.
Cultivation of Cashews
Cashews are most commonly grown in areas that have a tropical climate. They are found in many countries such as India, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, and Kenya. They are also a widely used ingredient in Brazilian cooking.
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