1 – Cashews and Depression
Cashews are a good source of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan, which is needed to produce serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has been shown to affect mood. Research has also shown that tryptophan depletion can result in depression.
2 – Cashews and Diabetes
The results of a lab rat study have suggested that cashews could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. The study showed that cashew nut extract is beneficial for controlling blood sugar, which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. Anacardic acid, the active component in cashew nuts, stimulates glucose transport, resulting in elevated glucose uptake, thus reducing the amount of sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Cashews also may enhance glycolysis (metabolism of sugar into energy) which also contributes to increased glucose uptake.
Other epidemiologic studies have associated nut consumption with a reduced risk of diabetes.
3 – Are Cashews Fattening?
Despite the high fat content of cashews and other nuts, clinical trials and epidemiologic studies indicate that frequent nut consumption is not likely to lead to obesity and could even help with weight loss.
4 – Cashews for Heart Health
Epidemiologic research has linked nut intake with a decreased risk of coronary heart disease. Interventional studies have consistently shown that nut consumption reduces cholesterol, and there’s growing evidence of the benefits on inflammation, oxidative stress, as well as vascular reactivity, a vital component of blood vessel function. Stomach fat, the metabolic syndrome and blood pressure also seem to be positively influenced by the consumption of nuts. It is thus clear that nuts have a beneficial impact on a number of cardiovascular risk factors.
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, and although they have a total fat content of 46%, the fatty acid composition is beneficial because the saturated fatty acid content is low (4-16%) and nearly 66% of the unsaturated fat is oleic acid, a heart healthy MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acid).
5 – Cashews for Healthy Bones
Cashews are a great source of copper, magnesium and zinc, 3 minerals that play a part in bone health.
Zinc is an essential mineral necessary for mineralization of bone and normal synthesis of collagen, which is the main component of connective tissue and is found abundantly in bones. Dietary copper deficiency has been shown to cause bone defects and osteoporosis. Magnesium is mitogenic (causes cell division) in osteoblasts (the major cellular component of bone) and magnesium depletion inhibits cellular growth.
6 – Cashews for the Immune System
The zinc in cashews plays a vital role in the strengthening of the immune system against microbial infections. Zinc deficiency is associated with elevated inflammation and zinc supplementation has been shown to shorten the duration and reduce the severity of the common cold.
7 – Cashews for Blood Pressure
The magnesium in cashews can help with blood pressure regulation. Magnesium reduces risk of hypertension, and may also reduce blood pressure in individuals having high blood pressure.
8 – Cashews for Cholesterol
Cashew nuts are cholesterol-free, and they contain sizeable amounts of phytosterols. Phytosterols interfere with cholesterol absorption and thus help lower blood cholesterol when present in sufficient amounts in the intestinal lumen. In all probability the phytosterol content of nuts contributes to their cholesterol-lowering effect.
9 – Cashews for Healthy Eyes
Cashews contain lutein and zeaxanthin, 2 important nutrients for eye health that could reduce risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
10 – Cashews for Gallstones
In a large prospective study of 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study who had no history of gallstone disease, it was revealed that frequent nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing gallstones.
Nutrients in Cashews
Cashew nuts are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. They’re also a fantastic source of numerous minerals, such as copper, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Cashews are also a great source of biotin and protein. The juice of the cashew apple has 200-220 mg of Vitamin C per 100 ml, and various other valuable micro-nutrients.
Nutritional value of cashews per 100g:
- How many calories in cashews – 553
- How much protein in cashews – 18g
- How many carbs in cashews – 30g
- What is the fat content of cashews – 44g
Where do Cashews Come From?
The cashew tree originated in Brazil. Portuguese explorers introduced cashew into other tropical regions In the sixteenth century. The cashew nut actually a seed from the cashew apple fruit. The juice of the cashew apple (suco de caju) is one of the most popular juices all over Brazil. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashew nuts are Brazil, India, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania.