Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits of Cashew Nuts

Cashewnut or ‘Kaju’ like other nuts is a sweet, buttery, crunchy and a rich source of antioxidants and the good fats, is actually a seed.

In India kaju as we generally call it, cashew nut is widely used as a whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries because of  its high starch content as a thickening and flavoring agent, or for making sweets (e.g., kaju barfi).Cashewnuts_variations-LondonbridgeIt is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. It is also a popular snack and is widely eaten either fried or roasted either as a companion to drinks or in social parties.The crust or the shell of the cashewnut is toxic and is thus discarded before the nuts are sold to customers. Originally native to Brazil, cashews are now widely grown in many tropical regions. In India we find the best varieties in Goa and parts of Andhra Pradesh.

Cashews are rich in the good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, are a good source of antioxidants like Alkyl phenol and are also a source of dietary trace minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus. Due to all these qualities they have many known health benefits which are in common knowledge of people like:

1)    They are rich in good fats and have zero cholesterol which helps lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, and triglyceride making one’s heart healthy.
2)    The minerals in the cashew make our body stronger and provide a healthier immune system.
3)    Studies have shown that cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk. Their high copper content also endows the seed with the power to eliminate free radicals and they are also good sources of antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.
4)    Consumption of cashews helps in prevention of gallstones in the human body. So, make sure to have a handful of cashew nut every day as a snack or toss in some of them on your salad or over your oatmeal.
5)    It is a known fact that the two minerals, calcium and magnesium are very essential for healthy bones in humans. Cashews are a rich source of both these minerals.
6)    As cashews are a very good source of vitamin K, they help to prevent blood coagulation (clots) and the conditions associated with it.
7)    Though they are very tasty and it is hard to stop eating them once started, the ideal quantity to be consumed is 5-8 pcs in a day, as excess consumption can lead to weight gain.
8)    Even though they are a healthy alternative to all the junk food surrounding us, we should consume them with limitation as they are high in calories. Nearly 580 calories in a hundred grams to be precise. One should also limit intake in summers as they cause heat in the body.

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients for raw Cashew nuts:
Nutrition value per 100 g or 1 oz
Cashewnuts_nutrients data USDA(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Image sources 1, 2

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